Major League Pickleball (MLP) and DUPR partner with Life Time in Strategic Alliance to Elevate Fast

Kevin Brown
January 8, 2024

Life Time to host multiple MLP tour events during 2023 season and adopt DUPR as official rating system





Chanhassen, Minn., (Nov. 7, 2022) — Nearly five million people are now playing pickleball according to the latest data from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association and today, Major League Pickleball (MLP) and DUPR (Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating) announced a strategic alliance with Life Time (NYSE: LTH) to continue elevating the sport through hosting tournaments and events at iconic Life Time locations, adopting the DUPR official rating system across all Life Time clubs, partnering on improved technology and offering shared marketing support.


“This is an exciting time for all of us involved in making pickleball a sport that everyone chooses to play – whether competitively, for fun, for physical and mental health, to be a part of a welcoming community or all the above. I’ve never seen a sport so unifying,” said Life Time Founder, Chairman and CEO Bahram Akradi. “Through this strategic alliance among our organizations, we will take pickleball to the next level through elevated events, experiences, ratings and execution with one standard in mind – being the best. We are thrilled to be working with MLP and DUPR.”


As a part of the partnership, Life Time will adopt the DUPR rating system and technology across all of its pickleball programming, making the sport even more accessible by creating even playing fields and providing best-in-class technology to run events. MLP will also be bringing at least two of its marquee team-based events to Life Time locations in 2023.


MLP has made news in recent months with its roster of new team owners including iconic professional athletes, serial entrepreneurs, best-selling authors and speakers, billionaire investors and more. As the 2023 season gets underway, the league will grow to 16 teams, double its events from three to six and surpass the $2M mark in player prize money and payouts.  


“We could not be more excited to create this strategic alliance with Life Time,” said MLP and DUPR Founder Steve Kuhn. “Life Time owns and operates the most pickleball courts of any company in the U.S., located within the most beautiful athletic country clubs in prime locations creating the perfect environment to host MLP events. Additionally, aligning with DUPR to provide the most accurate global rating system will provide immense benefit to players, regardless of which Life Time club they’re playing at across the country. Together we’ll see the sport continue to explode in growth as we aim to hit our goal of 40 million players by 2030.”


Further details of the deal were not disclosed. For more information visit: MLP, Life Time and DUPR.


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About Major League Pickleball

Major League Pickleball (MLP) is the first of its kind professional team league and the standard-bearer for the fastest-growing sport in the United States. Led by Founder & CEO Steve Kuhn, MLP is committed to perpetuating the sport's larger role in society and permeating every facet of pickleball's business, marketing, and community relations. With iconic team owners, a co-ed team format, an innovative draft, easy to understand scoring, groundbreaking broadcast quality, and the highest prize money events in pro pickleball, MLP's goal is to elevate and grow the sport in everything it does. For more information on Major League Pickleball, visit MajorLeaguePickleball.net and follow Major League Pickleball on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.


About DUPR

DUPR (Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating) is the most accurate and only global pickleball rating system trusted by the world’s premier Pickleball clubs, tours, and professionals. All players, regardless of their age, gender, location, or skill, are rated on the same scale between 2.00-8.00 based on their match results. DUPR is free and anyone can have a rating.


About Life Time®

Life Time (NYSE: LTH) empowers people to live healthy, happy lives through its portfolio of nearly 160 athletic country clubs across the United States and Canada. The company’s healthy way of life communities and ecosystem address all aspects of healthy living, healthy aging, and healthy entertainment for people 90 days to 90+ years old. Supported by a team of more than 30,000 dedicated professionals, Life Time is committed to providing the best programs and experiences through its clubs, iconic athletic events, and comprehensive digital platform.

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Reading, Writing, and Pickleball

For most kids, gym class is the highlight of the school week. It’s a much-needed break from serious class work and a chance to run around, play with friends, and expend energy playing basketball, soccer, volleyball, and floor hockey. Today, an increasing number of schools are adding pickleball to the menu as a way to provide students with a fun, easy way to increase physical activity and combat childhood obesity while addressing their ever-shrinking budgets.

 

Tailor-Made For Schools

Many aspects that have made pickleball so popular with adults – it’s easy to learn, it’s a fun workout, games are quick, and it allows people of various abilities and fitness levels to play together – also make it a great fit for school gym classes. Students can progress very quickly, which builds up their self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment and can lead to improvements in their overall academic achievement.

Pickleball is also ideal for schools because it solves the problem of how to provide students with a fun physical activity while adhering to tight budgets. According to The Society of Health and Physical Educators, (SHAPE America), the average elementary school spends only $462 per year on physical education. That’s not per child —that’s for the entire school. Given these constraints, pickleball provides a cost-effective activity that many students can play while meeting government mandates for physical education.

 

DUPR Fuels the Growth of Pickleball Among Younger Players 

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) estimates that 8.9 million people played pickleball in 2023. As the average age of pickleball participants continues to trend downward – it’s currently at 35 – DUPR is working with organizations across the country to expand the sport further among younger players. For example, the most recent National Junior Pickleball Championships powered by DUPR was held in October in Las Vegas and featured 113 boys and girls ranging in age from 9-18 competing in singles, doubles, and team tournaments. 

Bringing Pickleball to Schools

In addition to DUPR’s efforts, the nonprofit organization PHIT America is making it easy for schools to add pickleball to their physical education curriculum. PHIT America’s Play Pickleball initiative donates everything a school needs – paddles, nets, balls, training aids -- to introduce pickleball to students. Launched in Spring 2023 with the ambitious goal of delivering more than 100 kits to elementary schools throughout the US, PHIT America is partnering with pickleball pro KaSandra Gerke to spread the word about the fun and health benefits kids can enjoy from playing pickleball.

 

Pickleball is all about teamwork and good sportsmanship and therefore fits nicely with the values schools teach every day. The sport’s explosive growth over the past few years is poised to continue, and anyone who has watched an MLP or PPA match is witnessing the success younger players are having on tour. Seventeen-year-old Anna Leigh Waters continues to dominate and teen phenoms Hayden Patriquin and Quang Duong consistently compete at the highest levels. You never know, somewhere in America a student could be picking up a paddle in gym class for the first time, get hooked on the sport and soon play in a few pickleball tournaments, get their DUPR rating, and maybe become tomorrow’s next great pickleball champion.

Community
February 7, 2024

Q&A with DUPR Athlete Tyson McGuffin

Tyson McGuffin is one of the most well-known names in pickleball. As one of the top players in the sport, he has made a significant impact with his skills and dedication to the game. In this Q&A session, we get to know Tyson, who is a DUPR athlete and active member of our community, a little bit better. We discuss his favorite hobbies, goals, and his thoughts on the DUPR Rating System.

What is your favorite hobby (jokingly outside of pickleball of course)?

“ I just picked up golf and am really loving that. Also cooking. I love my wife, but I do all the cooking.”

What is your favorite destination that you have played pickleball in?

“I love Palm Springs. Weather is nice, golf is great, and the vibes are good.”

What are some goals you have set for yourself in 2024 - whether personally or professionally in pickleball?

“I am determined to keep working on my craft, always stay grounded and be the people's champ. No matter what category - husband, father, player, coach, content creator - I want to shoot for 100%.”

How do you think the DUPR Rating System has enhanced the overall pickleball experience? Do you often or ever compare your DUPR to other players that you are playing, is it a factor going into a match that you play?

“Having an accurate rating system helps the level of play. It creates consistency and sustainability in the sport. It ensures equal play in a competitive setting. The algorithm helps determine how to organize play when you have a range of ratings. Knowing everyone’s DUPR helps keep matches competitive when levels are all over the place. 

What inspired you to go pro?

“I was done playing tennis, but still wanted to compete. I was turned on to this silly sport by a member at the club where I was teaching. I have zero moderation in most things in life so dove fully into going pro quickly.”

We are proud to call Tyson McGuffin a DUPR Athlete. His dedication and love for the sport is obvious. With his goals set for continual growth and providing an inclusive playing environment through DUPR, Tyson is making his mark on the pickleball world and inspiring others to do the same.

Make sure to stay updated on Tyson McGuffin's ongoing journey as a DUPR athlete in 2024. Follow him on Instagram and tune into his podcast to catch all of Tyson's upcoming appearances.

Follow Tyson and all your favorite DUPR Athlete's on the DUPR app - Download now!

Community
January 25, 2024

DUPR Algo Updates 1/30: What You Need to Know

After months of research and gathering feedback from users, we are excited to announce that on January 30th, we will release key updates and improvements to the DUPR algorithm. We are confident these updates will create even more accuracy within our rating and a better experience for pickleball players everywhere.


Tomorrow, we're releasing a new blog post that provides a behind-the-scenes look at DUPR's research process and how it contributes to the continual advancement of the algorithm.


As of January 30th, DUPR takes into account:


  1. Points Matter. Was this a tight match or a blowout? DUPR now evaluates the closeness of the match, so a score of 11-0 will have a bigger impact on your rating than a close match of 11-9 against that same opponent
  2. Recency Matters. A match you played today will impact your rating more than a match you played six months ago.
  3. Total Match Count Matters. If you've played in a lot of matches, your rating will fluctuate less compared to a player with a lower match count.
  4. Every Match Matters (even against unrated players). Every match counts towards your rating, even if you are playing against someone who is unrated or new to DUPR.


FAQs


So what does the updated rating mean for you? We’ve tried to answer the most common questions from our community below.


Do these changes start now or will they be applied to all my past matches?

These updates will be applied across all your match results in our platform on January 30th, as well as to all future results you submit. Want to ensure your rating is accurate and up to date? Hit the court and share your results.


Why is DUPR updating the algorithm again? Is this going to happen frequently?

Our team of data scientists is dedicated to ensuring DUPR is the world’s best and most accurate global pickleball rating. As we get more players and results onto the platform, and have more data at our disposal, we are able to make improvements and updates to the system to ensure that DUPR is providing the most accurate assessment of level. We’re confident that each of these updates will improve the foundational accuracy of the rating. On 1/26/2024, we're releasing a blog post that provides a behind-the-scenes look at DUPR's research process and how it contributes to the continual advancement  of the algorithm. Will be linked here.


When do matches start to matter less? Is there a certain number of matches that count more (ie my most recent 5 matches)? When do matches start losing their value?

The weight of each match decays with each day that passes by. That means that any match played on the same day will have the same weight before considering the number of sets in the match. The match weight decays smoothly, so there is no cutoff for when a match is no longer counting.


What if all the players involved are not rated?

If all players are unrated, we do not know the level of the match, so we take a guess that the level is 3.5. The outcome of the match will push one team above 3.5 and the other below to properly reflect the levels displayed by the scores of the match. With each player’s next few matches, they will be able to move quickly toward their appropriate level, especially once they are playing rated players around their skill level.


Can my rating go down if I win?

No! You will be awarded a rating increase for each win, but the amount depends on many factors including your win probability, all players’ reliability, the score, the result type, and more.


Will my rating change if I haven’t logged in matches for a long period of time? I have 200 games entered but haven’t played in a year. How does that affect my rating?

A pause in playing will not directly affect your rating, but rather your reliability. In order to keep a reliable rating, we recommend that you continue to participate in DUPR logged or reported matches on a regular basis. If you jump back in after a break, you can expect some fluctuations in your rating in your first few matches back since your rating reached a low level of reliability. Once you record more matches, your rating will start to stabilize again and more accurately represent your current skill level.


Still have questions? Our support team is here to help. Fill out our new form: HERE

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