Players on the Rise - Pre MLP Dallas

Kevin Brown
January 8, 2024

We can't wait to watch those players continue to rise this weekend at MLP Dallas.

Challenger Level

Megan Fudge

Six upset wins since MLP Atlanta and 81% of wins across all doubles matches. Includes two quality upset wins against the high-ranked pairing of Simone Jardim (14th) and Parris Todd (4th) during the APP Sun Atlanta Open.

Recent APP Place Finished

ATL - Women's 1st

DAL - Women's 1st & Mixed 3rd

HOU - Women's 1st & Mixed 3rd

Collin Shick

He has been climbing for several months and continues doing so. Since the beginning of the year, Collin has a winning percentage of 60% despite being an underdog 60% of the time.

Premier Level

Vivian Glozman

She has won 54% of her APP doubles matches and is averaging 56% of points scored in APP matches since MLP Atlanta.

Recent APP Place Finished

ATL - Women's 3rd & Mixed 3rd

DAL - Women's 3rd

HOU - Women's 2nd

Andrei Daescu

He has won 87% of his APP matches and averaged 65% of points scored in matches since MLP Atlanta. Recent APP Place FinishedATL - Men's 1st & Mixed 2ndDAL - Men's 1st & Mixed 2ndHOU - Men's 1st & Mixed 2st

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April 10, 2024

The Power of Sibling Partnerships in Pickleball

On April 3rd, at the Major League Pickleball Premier Level Draft, the New York Hustlers selected Jackie Kawamoto with the 16th pick of the 2024 draft.

Shortly after, the Los Angeles Mad Dogs used the 26th pick to select Jackie’s twin sister, Jade Kawamoto.

The final rosters for the MLP Premier teams are comprised of the 48 most in-demand players in professional pickleball. Six of those coveted spots went to three pairs of siblings: the Kawamoto sisters, Ben and Collin Johns, and Jorja and JW Johnson.

Whether as practice partners, doubles teammates, or competitors, sibling teams have a unique chemistry that is difficult to replicate. Their shared history, communication skills, trust, competitive edge, and motivation all contribute to their success on the court.

For Jackie and Jade, the sibling advantage has helped them rise rapidly through the ranks of professional pickleball.

“Just having that person to always practice with was definitely an advantage for us,” says Jackie. “I'm a righty and Jade is a lefty, and we move together very well. I think that's our biggest strength. I know where I need to be when she gets pulled wide, and vice versa. I know all of her shots. We just know each other's game so well.”

“We've practiced with each other our whole lives, so it comes naturally,” adds Jade.

Like many professional pickleball players, the Kawamoto sisters have a background in competitive tennis, playing throughout their childhood and into college. 

Their journey with pickleball began in 2019.

“At first it was just fun, something to do with the family,” says Jade. 

“It didn't take long for all of us to get hooked and pretty much play nonstop,” adds Jackie.

They started competing in 2021, and in less than 3 years, they’ve become top rated pros. The Dink recently rated Jackie and Jade the number five women’s doubles team in the world for 2024, and their 5.9+ DUPR ratings demonstrate how far they’ve progressed in their short time since finding the sport.

“Chemistry is such an important part of this game because of the nature of the game and how quickly it goes,” Jackie explains.

Jade adds that the emotional support is just as important as the training.

“When you grow up with each other, and you're the same age and have gone through similar experiences… I know it's a cliche or whatever, but it does help you on the court to have someone that knows your emotions and knows how to bring you up when you're down,” she says.

This season, that bond faces a new challenge. Where the Kawamoto sisters played together for the ATX Pickleballers in 2023, this year they’ll meet as rivals.

It’s fitting, perhaps, that their new teams represent the sister-cities of New York and Los Angeles, two American metropolises that share similarities and a healthy rivalry.

For Jade and Jackie, meeting head-to-head is an opportunity to keep improving their game.

“We were pretty competitive with each other when we were younger,” Jackie recalls. “It always pushed us to be a little bit better.”

“We still like to be competitive with each other,” Jade says, “but mostly in a fun-spirited way, not like ‘I have to be better than you at this’. It helps us get better if we're trying to have that competitive mindset, but also keeps it fun.”

March 21, 2024

How the AI Boom Is Making Pickleball a Success

AI’s Pickleball Potential

Sports aren’t typically the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution. However, AI in sports is now synonymous with big business. Estimates value the sports AI market at more than $2 billion, and research suggests that it may reach more than $7 billion by 2027. Currently, AI is being used for everything from training NFL players to shaving time off their 40-yard dash to predicting and preventing injuries on the basketball court. And it’s poised to have a significant impact on the sport of pickleball.

Harnessing the Power of AI for Pickleball

AI systems use mathematical algorithms that generate highly accurate analysis in real time. For pickleball, data can be collected via wearable sensors and high-definition motion capture cameras to record players' footwork, paddle angles, and shot choices. This data can be transformed into a format processed by an algorithm and can be used to train the AI model, allowing it to learn patterns and relationships. The model is then integrated into an application or program and is the basis for making predictions on new data that is collected. The more data it acquires, the more the algorithm adapts and the better its ability to simulate human intelligent processes. Coaches can then reference the data and immediately adjust a player’s mechanics and techniques, repeat the drill or session, and compare results.

But AI isn’t just for pickleball pros. Recreational players are already enjoying the benefits of AI. Training tools like SwingVision and PB Vision bring the power of AI to local courts without the need for high-end equipment or professional-grade video. By uploading footage shot on a smartphone, these systems can analyze player movements, pinpoint problems in swing speed and follow through, and provide suggestions for improvement. In addition, AI is becoming an integral part of emerging pickleball virtual reality (VR) simulations that produce engaging immersive, customized training programs.

In addition, the recent partnership between leading global pickleball rating system DUPR and sport and AI analytics technology pioneers Playsight has opened up new possibilities. PlaySight’s AI automated highlights also allow players to relive their best moments in a match instantly. The collaboration promises to redefine how players experience and interact with the sport.

Preventing Injury and Speeding Recovery

Off the court, AI is showing great benefits in improving player health and conditioning. Systems can evaluate heart rate and joint stress and alert players to potential injury. Next-generation pulse oximeters incorporate AI into handheld devices that measure respiratory rate, temperature, and blood saturation levels. 

AI can also help accelerate recovery times from injuries. Trainers and physical therapists are increasingly relying on AI-generated results to create personalized rehab programs to get players back on the court faster and prevent re-injury.

In addition, manufacturers of pickleball equipment, especially paddle companies, are using AI-powered systems to determine material specifications and performance metrics for the design of their newest products. Because of its ability to perform analysis on a microscopic level, AI can identify the optimal materials for improved power, control, and durability and give manufacturers next-level customization options to develop paddles suited for a variety of playing styles. These advancements are poised to propel paddle sales, which are projected to reach $253.8 million by 2028 and are currently more than $125 million in the US alone.

It's an exciting time for pickleball and AI will continue to play an ever-expanding role in the sport’s future. As more players tap into AI’s ability to achieve better results on the court, it’s likely there’ll be a corresponding increase in their DUPR ratings.

March 1, 2024

DUPR FAQs: Your Top Questions Answered by Sarah and Dave

In the dynamic world of DUPR, the journey to unlocking your full potential begins with understanding the fundamentals. From earning your initial rating to honing your skills through gameplay, every step shapes your pickleball experience. 

In this chat, Dave and Sarah will tackle common questions players encounter when starting their DUPR journey. Let's explore starting out, finding good playing partners, and understanding match count.

Here's a breakdown of the key takeaways:

1. Getting Started:

  • Question: How do I get my first rating as a DUPR user?
  • Answer: Simply play a match! Once you've recorded your first game on DUPR, your rating will be generated based on factors like the skill level of your opponents and the outcome of the match.

2. Playing Partners:

  • Question: Who should I play with to get an accurate rating?
  • Answer: Playing with rated players is ideal. However, playing with unrated players is still beneficial, even though it is less precise. The more matches you play, the more accurate your rating becomes.

3. Match Count:

  • Question: How many matches do I need to play for an accurate rating?
  • Answer: Aim for at least 10 to 20 matches. Quality matters too; ensure you're playing at the right level and experiencing a mix of wins and losses in close games.

4. Playing Dynamics:

  • Question: Can my rating go down if I win?
  • Answer: No, winning ensures your rating won't decrease. However, the magnitude of rating changes depends on factors like the disparity between player ratings and the match outcome.

5. Fair Play:

  • Question: How do I handle concerns about playing with unrated players?
  • Answer: DUPR considers the reliability of players based on factors like match count and recency. Playing with unrated players won't negatively impact your rating significantly.

6. Strategy Matters:

  • Question: Should I aim to beat lower-rated players to boost my rating?
  • Answer: While winning against lower-rated players will increase your rating, the most significant improvements come from competitive games against opponents at or slightly above your level.

7. Recording Matches:

  • Question: What if my match partner refuses to validate scores?
  • Answer: It's crucial to uphold fair play standards. Communicate with your partner beforehand and report any violations to DUPR for investigation.

8. Club Participation:

  • Question: How can joining a DUPR club benefit my rating?
  • Answer: Club matches provide consistent opportunities to play at a competitive level, contributing to the accuracy of your rating with verified match results.

9. Match Dynamics:

  • Question: How does match format (e.g., one game vs. best two out of three) affect my rating?
  • Answer: Longer match formats yield more data and have a greater impact on your rating, as they provide a better indication of your skill level.

10. Past Results:

  • Question: Can I input past match results to improve my rating?
  • Answer: Yes, past results can be added to your profile, but recent matches hold more weight in determining your current rating.

11. Rating Decay:

  • Question: What happens if I stop playing and logging matches?
  • Answer: Your rating remains stable, but the reliability of your rating decreases over time due to the decay of match recency. Returning to regular match logging will restore reliability.

DUPR isn't just a rating system; it's a community-driven platform designed to elevate your pickleball experience. 

For more insights and updates, please stay connected with DUPR through our app, website, social media channels, and newsletter. We're here to support you on your pickleball journey, one match at a time.

Disclaimer: The responses provided in this blog post are based on the conversation between Dave and Sarah, and are subject to updates and revisions by DUPR.