The Power of Sibling Partnerships in Pickleball

DUPR
April 21, 2024

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.”

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May 23, 2024

DUPR and My Pickleball Coach Launch Global Skills Program - Software Tool Enables Coaches and Clubs to Create and Advance DUPR Skills at Scale

DUPR, the world's most accurate global pickleball rating system and My Pickleball Coach, the premier pickleball coaching platform for coaches and players, today announced the launch of a “Global Skills Program”, a co-branded initiative to support coaches and players in their pickleball careers and journeys and further unify the sport under a common language and standard. 

The new Global Skills Program, created by experts from DUPR and My Pickleball Coach, makes it easy for coaches to get players rated on DUPR, and offers in-app coaching for players to improve their skills and level. The program, available on My Pickleball Coach, seamlessly integrates cameras, the DUPR app, and the My Pickleball Coach app, enabling coaches to initiate scalable coaching experiences for thousands of players, generate DUPR ratings, and foster new revenue streams and expansion for coaches and clubs.

Tito Machado, CEO of DUPR remarked, “We developed the Global Skills Program in partnership with My Pickleball Coach to offer coaches scalable technology to support their efforts to grow and develop the game in their communities. When players are rated on DUPR and have opportunities to develop their skills, everyone in the global pickleball ecosystem benefits, from facilities, clubs, equipment manufacturers, travel companies and everyone who touches the game.”

Jordan Briones, one of the leading pickleball coaches with over 65,000 subscribers on YouTube, emphasized, “With 13 million active players and another 17 million beginners joining the game, the key to sustaining pickleball's growth lies in growing and measuring skills for players. By becoming a DUPR Coach, the Global Skills Program equips coaches like me with a simple way to help players get a DUPR, reach their potential and establish a love for the game. When players have a rating and goals to achieve, players play more, join clubs, influence their friends and family to play and contribute to the growth of the sport.”

“The Global Skills Program supports coaches in driving more pickleball activity in their communities by offering a seamless technology solution to initiate DUPR ratings for players and pathways to improve their skills,” remarked Katie Nimitz, President of MyJourney. “Players simply play a game of pickleball where a phone camera or installed camera at the facility records their play. Coaches then use My Pickleball Coach to rapidly evaluate and assess a series of on-paddle and off-paddle skills to personally score key game areas such as technical skills, shot selection, partner chemistry, and court positioning. This automatically then creates the provisional rating and DUPR account for the player with their detailed assessment and DUPR skills rating.”

The Global Skills Program offers two main components: The DUPR Coach for coaches and the DUPR Skills Subscription for players. The DUPR Coach enables coaches to initiate DUPR ratings for new pickleball players with a skill-based assessment technology. Once trained, coaches can view videos of players and produce provisional DUPRs for players. The DUPR Skills Subscription enables players to receive coaching via the My Pickleball Coach app to improve their DUPR rating. Players can set a level-based goal, i.e. moving from a 3.5 DUPR to a 4.0 DUPR, and access DUPR-specific coaching from Martina Kochli, John Cincola, Jordan Briones, Zane Navratil and Collin Johns, among other DUPR Coaches, via the My Pickleball Coach App.

Coaches interested in becoming a DUPR Coach can click here

Players looking to improve their DUPR skills can activate the DUPR Skills Subscription by downloading the My Pickleball Coach app here.

About My Pickleball Coach 

My Pickleball Coach was developed by the world's top players and coaches like CEO Martina Kochli, John Cincola, Zane Navratil, Jordan Briones and Collin Johns to create a highly scalable way for coaches to grow the sport of pickleball. My Pickleball Coach is developed by MyJourney and is the inventor of Coaching-as-a-Service technology enabling a single coach to coach thousands of players.

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Partners
May 17, 2024

National Pickleball League® and DUPR Announce Partnership, Joint Effort to Unify Global Pickleball Community Under One Common Language and Standard

For the 2024 season, NPL Will Adopt DUPR as Official Rating and Support Efforts to Enhance the League With Level-Based Play, More Opportunities to Compete and Grow Participation 

The National Pickleball League® (NPL) www.nplpickleball.com is pleased to announce it has entered into a partnership with DUPR, (Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating) to develop the league and further enhance the competitive experience for players.  

DUPR offers organizers the ability to use its accurate, reliable rating to organize competitive, level-based matches, and use its community platform to reach hundreds of thousands of pickleball players to highlight their leagues and upcoming events. Most importantly, players  benefit from competing against others at their level for an even better experience.

“DUPR is the most accurate and reliable pickleball rating, and its team prioritizes collaboration and partnership to grow the game together. We are excited to bring DUPR’s rating and technology to our league, provide an even better experience for our players and partners, and showcase NPL to DUPR’s large community of pickleball players to bring more competitors into the league,” said Paul Bamundo, Chief Executive Officer of the National Pickleball League®. “Integrating DUPR also benefits our players beyond league play. DUPR provides connectivity to the entire global pickleball community, uniting all players across a common rating and standard. Now, our participants have the ability to know their level, find more opportunities to play wherever they are, and be a part of the global pickleball community.”

“We are honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with the National Pickleball League® and support their exciting formats for professional players ages 50 and up,” said Tito Machado, DUPR CEO. “NPL has built a dynamic and exciting professional league that showcases talented athletes and reminds everyone that age shouldn’t be a barrier. These players are the heart of the game and we hope that our rating and technology platform will help to make the experience even better, and offer more connections and opportunities to players to participate and achieve at the highest levels in pickleball.”

All results from NPL will be submitted to count for a player’s rating. Players can also follow the NPL league page on DUPR for updates on competition, scheduling and league standings. 

The 2024 season will consist of 12 teams representing cities from across the country. Each team will have a roster of 14-16 players, equally split between women and men, with more than 200 pickleball professionals playing in the NPL this season. 

The 2024 regular season kicks into high gear with competition event weekends taking place once per month beginning May 17-19 in Chicago, with $150,000 in prize money on the line, culminating in the season-ending Championships in October. The season opener will be livestreamed on the National Pickleball League® YouTube Channel @nationalpickleballleague with additional coverage of NPL events on CBS Sports this season. 

National Pickleball League® is among the many leagues worldwide adopting DUPR to enhance the experience for its players, and to support the growth and global unification of the game,  joining Honcho Pickleball League, National Team Pickleball League (NTPL), World Pickleball Tour (WPT) and La Cocina, and others. DUPR’s solution provides organizers with the ability to showcase their events to the most active and engaged community in pickleball, and enables players to find more opportunities to play at their level wherever they are. The platform is built on DUPR’s industry-leading rating, which looks at match results to provide an accurate, reliable evaluation of a players skill level across age, gender and location. 


About National Pickleball League®

The National Pickleball League® was founded in 2022 by Champions Pro players Rick Witsken, Beth Bellamy, and Michael “Hammer Mike” Chen. NPL Pickleball™ is a nationwide team competition for Champions Division (age 50+) professional pickleball players and made up of twelve teams in metropolitan locations in Indianapolis, Austin, Boca Raton, Naples, Denver, Oklahoma City, Houston, Seattle, Kansas City, Columbus, Coachella Valley and Princeton. National Pickleball League® is owned by National Pickleball League, LLC. The NPL is dedicated to expanding the reach of pickleball, fostering community engagement, physical and mental health, and elevating the sport to new heights. Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities with NPL Pickleball™ can email info@nplpickleball.com for more information or visit the league’s website at www.NPLpickleball.com.

For more information and to sign up for DUPR’s free platform, visit www.dupr.com

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Partners
May 16, 2024

Dinking on Deck: The Cruise Industry is Riding The Pickleball Wave

Pickleball player demographics, tight court dimensions and easy accessibility is making it a popular addition to cruise liners and riverboats.

Pickleball's unique blend of fun, friendship, fitness and accessibility has attracted millions of older people to the court in the last few years. These players can now combine their new favorite hobby with another activity beloved by retirees - cruises.

As well as hitting the demographics bullseye, pickleball is an attractive proposition for the cruise industry because of the low price of installing courts and their compact 20mx44ft dimensions, far easier to accommodate compared to those of tennis, squash or padel.

 

Many cruise ships already contain pickleball courts either indoor or on deck, but Pickleball International is taking its offering several stages further. The company was founded by former professional basketball player Eric Dailey Sr, who is now applying his 15 years' experience in basketball training, competitions and tours to the sport he fell in love with almost as soon as he picked up a paddle.

 

His sports travel enterprise included a partnership with cruise industry giants Caribbean International, which he is now expanding. Pickleball International offer cruises which include pickleball tuition from top pros, competitions and off-court physical preparation including yoga, spin classes, strength and agility training in top-of-the-range gyms and aqua training in the ship's swimming pools - in addition to all the usual cruise attractions: dinners, parties, casino nights and much more. 

 

AmaWaterWays Co-Founder

Eric says: "The training is an important part of the offer for this demographic of pickleball players. We can't play like we're 17 any more! We have a world-class yoga instructor and facilities to prepare our players' muscles for four hours of fun on court each day."

 

Caribbean International's ship, The Odyssey of the Seas, has three indoor pickleball courts. Five-day cruises set sail from the UK, Greece and the USA (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) to the Caribbean, Australia, Hong Kong and Alaska. A maximum of 24 players go on a single trip and all standards are catered for by Pickleball International's roster of highly qualified pro coaches ('Z' Orano, Pedro Penteado, Jay Jaudon and Fiona Edwards).

 

"These cruises are for guys who want to improve," says Eric. "If you're a DUPR 3.0, that's fine, go have fun and learn. If you're a 5.0, there will be plenty of competitions to get your teeth into. It's a great opportunity for anyone who loves pickleball and loves to travel."

 

UK-based Amadeus River Cruises have pickleball courts on their Amadeus Cara and Amadeus Silver III and offer pickleball-themed cruises on which you can take on locals at clubs along the way.

 

Janine and Damian on board

AmaWaterways, headquartered in Calabasas, California, has also spotted pickleball's potential. Last year, they added a full-size pickleball court on the 21m-wide deck of the AmaMagna riverboat which cruises along the Danube through Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey.

 

Pickleball activity led by on-board coach Damian fuses perfectly with the ship's large gym and Zen Wellness Studio (offering circuit training, resistance bands and core training, yoga and Pilates). “More people want to stay active when they’re on holiday. Pickleball is really easy to pick up and you can quickly start playing a game,” says Damian.

 

As more cruise companies capitalize on pickleball's popularity, we are sure to see the trend for dinking on deck spread across the globe.

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