Arizona Pickleball League teams playing against each other in mixed doubles.
The Surprise Stingers versus the Tempe Tornadoes. Arizona Pickleball League

Documentary review: Breaking Pickleball - Episode 1

DALLAS, TX – Breaking Pickleball released episode one of their documentary series on April 1, and it’s so good. 

I went into this viewing experience with no expectations whatsoever, and the first episode absolutely delivered. If the rest of this series is this intriguing, we’re in for an exciting, high-energy, competitive, and fun pickleball production. 

The series follows the first season of the Arizona Pickleball League, an innovative concept for top pickleballers in the Phoenix area. 

The Arizona Pickleball League consists of five teams: the Gilbert Gladiators, Peoria Pythons, Surprise Stingers, Scottsdale Scorchers, and Tempe Tornadoes. Every Tuesday night for 13 consecutive weeks, matches take place at The Orchard at Jigsaw Health to eventually determine which squad will reign supreme. 

What I found particularly exciting was the variation of format pickleball-wise. 

Instead of mimicking an MLP style of play, the Arizona Pickleball League created their own gameplay format where matches are divided into four 15-minute quarters. 

The first two quarters is mixed doubles, women’s doubles for the third, and men’s doubles for the fourth. 

The scoring is different, too. 

Each match is cumulative scoring, with the two matches featured in episode one resulting in a 72-46 final score, which is an astronomical number compared to the usual play to 11. 

Crowd of spectators watching the Arizona Pickleball League
Tuesday night pickleball. Arizona Pickleball League

It’s clear that every Tuesday night the Arizona Pickleball League puts great care into the quality of their event. They have a DJ, commentators, and a packed house of enthusiastic spectators.  

While documenting the action, viewers also get to learn more about the key players. Narrating the story is Derek Nannen, who assumed a humorous character online as the Orchard Security Guy. He's also the commissioner of the league. 

Honestly, it was just delightful. The story balanced the fun of competition and rivalries, specifically between the Tempe Tornadoes and Scottsdale Scorchers, as well as the heart and passion from players like Kyle Koszuta and Craig Johnson. 

It’s joyful and it’s all about community. Episode one captures the essence of the sport beautifully, and you can tell the filmmakers take themselves and pickleball seriously. 

This is no simple, “Hey, let’s pick up our phones and film this” scenario. No, this is professional.

The graphics, the production quality, every little detail was accounted for.

That's why once they pitch it to major streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, etc., they’ve got a good chance at landing a deal. 

Ben Johns getting filmed by a camera crew
Ben Johns commercial. Arizona Pickleball League

Episode one also features an interview with World No. 1 Ben Johns, who gives the entire series a five-star review, saying “The feel-good sports documentary of the year.”  

I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the documentary progresses, and luckily for me, the final outcome hasn't been spoiled for me yet.

If you want to watch the series before the filmmakers remove it from YouTube, sign up through this link on Jigsaw Health.

Watch quickly because they’re removing it on April 21.