The Never-Ending Pickleball Noise Issue

It seems like every time pickleball catches fire somewhere (woo-hoo!), there’s an immediate reaction from the community about the same thing: the noise. We’ve done a couple posts about noise reduction and suppression in the past (here and here), but we thought we’d shed a little bit of new light on the subject as well as update some outdated information.

Acoustical Fencing

Acoustical fencing that has been mentioned in both previous posts, and it’s a great choice for communities who have that ability.

Acoustical Fencing is one solution to the pickleball noise issue

Acoustical Fencing

However, it can be expensive, easily pushed around by wind, unattractive and unfeasible. If you want to look into the possibility of installing this around your pickleball courts to keep in the noise, this post does a great job of highlighting an example of courts in San Tan Valley, Arizona.

There’s a couple things that individual players can do to keep the noise down that they produce.

Quieter Balls

First, try using a foam practice ball rather than the standard hard plastic ball. These foam balls are typically a bit less bouncy and play differently than the average sanctioned pickleball, but they still get the job done at a much quieter decibel level!

We currently sell two different types of foam balls at PickleballCentral:

  1. The Gamma Foam Quiet Ball

Gamma Foam Quiet Ball

This ball is a tenth of an inch smaller in diameter than a traditional pickleball, and considerably lighter (0.71 ounces versus an average of 0.88 ounces). This makes the ball more susceptible to succumb to wind or other weather conditions. While it might be lighter, it still has a similar bounce height to a typical outdoor pickleball (31″ inches). Of course, it’s not USAPA-Approved but can be used for practice or recreational play!

2.  The Gamma Quick Kids Practice Ball

Gamma Quick Kids Practice Ball

This ball is fairly similar to its sister ball above, except it has a rough surface instead of smooth. This ball was designed for teaching tennis to kids, so it is a little heavier than the previous ball as well (just under 1 ounce). It also is slightly bigger, measuring 3-1/4″ in diameter. This ball has a shorter bounce than the Gamma Foam Quiet Ball, so it might be better used for drills. Again, this ball is not USAPA-Approved.

Quieter Paddles

If the sound of a foam ball doesn’t exactly tickle your fancy, you can try to purchase a quieter paddle. Poly-core paddles are typically a little bit quieter than their Nomex or alumimum-cored counterparts (aluminum is quieter than Nomex). Composite paddles (with a fiberglass face) are also a tad bit less noisy than graphite.

That being said, there are always exceptions to that rule of thumb. Here at PickleballCentral, we unfortunately do not have any means to measure the decibel ratings for all of the paddles we sell. Lucky for us (and you!) the Sun City Grand Pickleball Association in Sun City Grand, Arizona has measured the loudness of nearly every paddle. It is then ranked as being either in the “Green Zone”or in the “Red Zone”. You can see the list of paddles by clicking here.

Choosing a paddle in the Green Zone will keep your “pickleball pinging” to a minimum, which may ease the concerns of neighbors or other unhappy people.

(If you’re interested in the science behind the study, here’s the PDF of the Noise Study, conducted by Acoustics Group Inc.)

At the end of the day…

It does come down to the fact that pickleball is just a bit of a noisier sport. The paddles are solid and the balls are hard! The classic “pop” that paddles make is a beloved sound by players of the sport, and while we can take steps to minimize that sound, it will always be there.

Do you have any other tips or tricks that worked for reducing the amount of noise pickleball makes in your community?

Recycle Broken Pickleballs

What do you do with old, broken pickleballs?

Broken Pickleball

Can I recycle pickleballs?

This is a question that we get asked fairly frequently. Unfortunately, pickleballs themselves cannot be recycled by a recycling center.

In the May 2014 USAPA e-Newsletter, Dennis Dacey, USAPA Rules Chair, states that he believes the answer is “no”:

“For now the simple answer appears to be ‘no,’ a pickleball cannot economically be recycled. I’m no expert, but from what I see, because of the type of material with which it is combined and the fact that there is no recycling symbol, the ball is impractical for recycling.”

That being said, you can always get a little creative with these broken, disformed, out-of-round, or otherwise unusable pickleballs!  Here’s a list of some ideas we gathered from the Internet:

  1. A Hanging Parking Guide via Facebook

A Hanging Parking Guide

2. Googley-Eyed Sunglasses via Facebook

Googley Eye Sunglasses

3. A Hanging Pickleball Mascot via Facebook

A Hanging Pickleball Mascot

4. A Pickleball Christmas Tree via Facebook

A Christmas Tree Made Out of Pickleballs

5. A Tree Decorated with Painted Pickleballs via Facebook

...or a Tree Decorated with Pickleballs!

6. Pickleball Mobiles via Facebook

A Pickleball Mobile

7. Pickleball Friendship Balls via Facebook

Friendship Balls, an idea by Nadine McKay In case you’d like to make some, here’s the supply list: Yarn and darning needle, skein of inexpensive colorful yarn, scissors and broken pickleballs. Each skein will make four to five balls. Wrap the ball about five times to create a form. Use the blanket stitch and fill each section. Or wrap the center of the ball and then do a blanket stitch consistently, each row becoming smaller until the end. Don’t worry if you miss a stitch, this is not rocket science technology!

Friendship Balls, an idea by Nadine McKay
In case you’d like to make some, here’s the supply list: Yarn and darning needle, skein of inexpensive colorful yarn, scissors and broken pickleballs. Each skein will make four to five balls. Wrap the ball about five times to create a form. Use the blanket stitch and fill each section. Or wrap the center of the ball and then do a blanket stitch consistently, each row becoming smaller until the end. Don’t worry if you miss a stitch, this is not rocket science technology!

8. Painted Pickleball Trophies for Tournaments via Jennifer Lucore’s pickleball blog

Trophies for Pickleball Tournaments (Painted Pickleballs)

9. Costumes denoting Pickleball Royalty via Facebook:

pickleball costumes

10. Golf Cart Decor

There are definitely some very creative pickleball recyclers out there! Do you have any clever uses for broken pickleballs? Let us know!

Pickleball Japanese Adventure

Japan Pickleball Group

Having lived in Japan for 16 years, we offer the opportunity to experience Japan at a level most tourists never see. Our Japanese adventure pickleball tours not only includes play time and several semi-private lessons with Daniel and Scott Moore, 2015 Pickleball Rocks players of the year and 8 time national champions, but also provides you the opportunity to be part of starting pickleball in Japan. You will have first hand interaction with numerous Japanese, see how they live, share meals with them, and play some pickleball with them as well.

Monkey on Cell Phone

The adventure part will be not only seeing some of the typical tourist scenes, such as temples, castles, shrines, Japanese markets, Mt. Fuji, etc., but will also take you to places most tourists never see, such as the snow monkeys, hiking to beautiful waterfalls, and experiencing true Japanese culture, including a night or two at a Japanese Inn. Last year we took 13 people with us, and the feedback was almost to a person that they got so much more than they paid for and had no idea that they would experience so much of Japan in a little over a week.

Pickleball in Japan Players

So join us if you can for a once in a lifetime opportunity while improving your pickleball at the same time. This year Daniel or I will do a clinic and work on specific skills each day we play pickleball, teaching you everything you need to beat us.

For the 2016 Japan Pickleball Tour, the cost was $2250.00 per person, or $2700.00 Single Occupancy.

This price includes:

  • Double-occupancy occomodation for all 8 nights
  • All meals, pickleball & activities

This price does NOT include:

  • Alcohol
  • Airfare or JR train pass
  • Travel insurance

For more info, please contact Daniel at pickleballdaniel@gmail.com or call 719-235-8797.

Pickleball and Spain – A Great Combination

Imagine playing pickleball in a foreign country with the locals every morning, taking guided tours through castles, palaces and medieval villages every afternoon, and savoring the local fare every evening. That’s the experience you’ll have with Viva Spain Pickleball Tours, which launched in 2014. Since then pickleball players from throughout the US and Canada have packed their paddles and headed to Spain to enjoy a one-of-a-kind “pickleball tour” that combines the best of pickleball and Spain.

Pickleball Spain - Gate of Alcala - Madrid (2)

A Truly Unique Experience

The Viva Spain Pickleball Tours are designed to allow pickleball addicts to continue playing their favorite sport while traveling. In addition, the tours provide a unique opportunity to interact with the locals on and off the court in a way that does not happen with standard packaged tours. In the words of one previous traveler, “I’ve made new friends from across the globe and have memories for a lifetime – all because of playing pickleball. For anyone looking for a unique way to enjoy pickleball and visit an amazing country, this tour is worth considering. Viva Pickleball!” (Helen White, USAPA Ambassador for Northern Virginia)

Content of the Tours

Itineraries for the 9-day pickleball tours provide a perfect balance of on- and off-court activities. In the morning participants get plenty of pickleball with 3 hours of court time that includes a variety of open play, drills, clinics, demonstrations and competition. The court activity is prepared by tour organizer Mike Hess and the accompanying “Tour Pro” he invites on each tour. (Past Tour Pros have included Chris Thomas, Timothy Nelson, Jennifer Lucore, Bob Youngren, Jeffrey Shank and Prem Carnot.) While most of the court time involves open play, the coaches are there to provide as much personalized feedback and training as players desire. And of course, playing with the locals and learning some Spanish along the way is part of the package! Although pickleball is a relatively new sport in Spain, the locals are enthusiastic about playing with travelers and are improving their skills at a rapid pace.

Pickleball Spain

 Fascinating Off-Court Activities

After getting their fill of pickleball each day, our tours allow travelers to immerse themselves in Spanish history, culture and festivities every afternoon and evening. After morning pickleball play, the schedule allows travelers to shower, have lunch, and relax until the organized tour activities begin in the afternoon. Whether you see the sights via our luxury bus or a guided walking tour, you will always be accompanied by a professional tour guide who will share expertise about the fascinating history of Spain and the centuries-old sites visited on the tours, such as the Royal Palace in Madrid or Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona. We also take two days off from pickleball to enjoy full-day excursions where you will explore surrounding areas of our host city.

The average temperature during the tour dates is 80° with sunshine, so travelers not only enjoy playing outdoors. but sightseeing under blue skies as we visit the different sites to experience history first-hand.

 All Skill Levels Welcome, as well as Non-Pickleball Players

The tour welcomes pickleball players of all skill levels. Pickleball activities ensure that players from beginner to advanced enjoy their time on the courts and learn new things to improve their level of play. Non-pickleball playing spouses, family and friends are also welcome to join the tour as there are plenty of off-court activities to keep non-pickleball travelers active and entertained.

 Tour Organization

Every detail of the tour is taken care of from beginning to end. The handpicked 4-star hotels in both Madrid and Barcelona are located in the city center within walking distance of many historic sites. As soon as travelers step outside of the hotel they can enjoy the ambience of these vibrant Mediterranean cities: shopping, dining, museums, shows, monuments, century-old plazas, eating tapas, sipping sangria and people watching. Travelers will enjoy the hotel’s amazing buffet breakfast and friendly service in English throughout their stay. Transportation is provided to and from the airport, and we travel comfortably in luxury buses on all of our sightseeing excursions. And for travelers with special requests or who want help planning an extended stay in Spain, all you need to do is ask.

Pickleball Spain Courts

 

Tour Organizer

The tours are organized and run by Mike Hess. Mike is a pickleball aficionado who fell in love with the sport the first time he stepped onto the court 10 years ago. Originally from Southern California, he has been living in Spain for the past 18 years, in both Barcelona and Madrid. He is fluent in Spanish and well-versed in the local customs.

Mike started the Spanish Pickleball Association back in 2012 and has been active in helping other European countries start and grow pickleball as well. On his visits home to pickleball hotspots throughout the US, Mike was always being asked to organize a pickleball tour to Spain by players interested in traveling. In 2014, he made that happen when he launched Viva Spain Pickleball Tours.

Pickleball Spain Players

 2016 Tour Schedule and Information

Three tours are scheduled for 2016. In addition to the original Madrid Tour, this year we have added a new destination – Barcelona!

The tour dates are as follows:

  • Barcelona Tour: May 31 – June 8, 2016 (with Tour Pro Jennifer Lucore)
  • Madrid Tour: September 7-15, 2016 (with Tour Pro Jeffrey Shank)
  • Madrid Tour: September 20-28, 2016 (Tour Pro TBA)

Tour Discounts

An Early Bird Discount of $100 applies to players who register by March 31st. We offer group discounts for 5 or more people. And there’s an additional $100 savings if you sign up using the Pickleball Central Tour Coupon Code by April 7th. The coupon code is “PBCTOUR”.

Tour Reviews

Our tours are amazing, but don’t just take our word for it. To truly appreciate our tours, we want you to listen to what others have to say about their experience. These unique pickleball adventures have received rave reviews from travelers like Peter Graham from San Diego who described his experience this way: “The tour far exceeded my expectations.  It was more than a typical tour.  It was a cross-cultural sport tourism experience. I would repeat (and certainly will) this experience at the next opportunity.” To watch and read more traveler testimonials about the tour, please visit the testimonials page here.

For more information about the tours visit www.vivapickleballtours.com

14 Reasons to Play Pickleball

We love reader submissions! Sue Finn sent us this of reasons to play pickleball written by one of the newest players in Mason City, Iowa. Enjoy!

Today was my 14th time playing pickleball. But who’s counting?

140

My 14 Reasons for Playing:

  1. Everyone knows my name  (kinda feel like Norm on Cheers)
  2. Developing hand/eye coordination
  3. Developing buns of steel (just trust me on that one)
  4. I get to wear my sporty outfits unlike the basketball players after us at noon at the YMCA (shirts and skins)
  5. Working on math skills by keeping that crazy scoring going
  6. Looking forward to the day I get asked to play at 3:00 on Sunday with the big guns
  7. Keeping the ol’ joints flexible at age 64!
  8. Getting called a pickleball junkie by my husband
  9. Thriving on making my mind work faster to return fast balls
  10. Bantering with fellow players endlessly
  11. Realizing that I am getting involved in something where there are no limits as to how good we might become with effort and practice
  12. Learning from watching videos of pickleball tutorials and then employing those skills
  13. Learning a new vocabulary
  14. Laughing at myself

Do you agree with these reasons for playing? What would your list look like?

Pickleball Gifts for Her on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day: a day defined by sweeping, romantic gestures, fine wine and chocolates, and quality time with your honey. If pickleball is «l’amour de sa vie» (the love of her life), why not surprise her with a pickleball-themed gift to show her how much you truly adore her?

Pickleball Gifts Valentine's Day

Sugar and spice and everything nice: that’s what pickleball players are made of! Show your pickleball sweetie how much you love her with a little token of love. Whether it’s a new paddle, a shimmery pendant or a bear to cuddle, she’s guaranteed to feel your love.

Product Details:

1. Leader Jacket
2. Tail Essentials Doral Skort
3. Pickleball Partners Stained Glass (colors vary)
4. Sterling Silver Pickleball Heart Pendant
5. Sterling Silver Pickleball Earrings

6. Selkirk 30P-XL Epic Polymer PowerCore Graphite Paddle (pictured in Indigo Rose)
7. Midnight Indoor Pickleballs (pictured in Pink)
8. Copper Pickleball Pendant or Charm
9. Sporty Pickleball Teddy Bears (pictured in Win/Lose, Hug Me)

Pickleball in France: A History

It’s a tale as old as time: boy meets pickleball, falls in love, and takes it back home with him. Pierre Obozinski, a man from Fayence, France picked up pickleball during a stay in Canada. After catching the pickleball bug, he brought it home to Fayence, a village in southeastern France near the Cote d’Azur. There, a small group formed in early 2014 with a handful of new advocates for the sport.

Pickleball France President, Secretary and Treasurer

Paul Fisher (Secretary), Pierre Obozinski (President), André Vial (Treasurer)

The first pickleball association in France (Pickleball France) was born in February 2015 after being presented to officials from the Commune, the Communauté de Communes du Pays de Fayence and the Conseil Regional / Territorial du Département. For those non-French speakers, these are basically political and economic departments in France.

The French Pickleball Association is officially recognized in the country of France and is established in the regions of Callian, Fatence, Sellians, Terreron, Bargemon, the University of Perpignan, and the French Naval Base in Toulon. Because it is an official organization in France, all members receive civil liability and accident insurance through a nominal drop-in fee of € 10 per year plus a daily fee of € 3 (which is currently $10.89 per year with a daily fee of $3.26. 45 € per person will buy you the year-long membership, which comes out to be about $48.89. This fee not only includes insurance, but also allows members access to all PFPF and international tournaments. This is quite a sweet deal, if you ask me!

Pickleball in South France

Pickleball in South France

Here’s a quick run-down on some other main pickleball advocating in France:

University of Perpignan, Perpignan, France
Guillaume Tetreau, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Perpignan, picked up pickleball during an educational visit to the US. He was (obviously) hooked and is now working on making pickleball available at his university, as well as in his hometown of Grenoble.

Seillans, France
The Seillans Tennis Club is working to raise enough money to convert one side of the tennis facility into an exclusive, pickleball court.

L’Etoile Pongiste du Canton de Fayence (Table Tennis)
The local table tennis club is working out an exchange with the pickleball players. Proposed by Didier Poincot, the idea is to introduce pickleball during the week of activities. This would show those players what pickleball is all about – and perhaps create a few new addicts!

Tanneron, France
Bernard Mandrea, the President of the Multisport Association in Tanneron, caught eye of a message announcing the birth of the pickleball association. He was determined to help the growth of the sport, and is working with the association to create dedicated pickleball courts out of tennis court (or at least take the first step!).

Pickleball Camping in France

Pickleball Camping in France

Campgrounds
Just as pickleball is exceptionally popular at RV parks and campgrounds in the US, a similar proposition is unfolding in the south of France, where camping is common in the summer.

Pickleball School Programs
While it is not possible to add another sport to the grouping of racquet sports at the local primary school in La Ferrage, it may be added to the NAP – Nouvelles Activités Périscolaires. This is a program of activities for free time during the school day which may be needed to be led by volunteers.

places to play france

To check out a list of places to play in France, their website does a great job of laying it out for you. Check it out here (this link is also helpful).

They also offer member newsletters, the “Pickleball France Gazette”, which comes out every few months. Here’s their April, July and December newsletters.

We’re so impressed by the rapid growth of pickleball in France led by Pierre. If you have any questions about pickleball in France, click here to send an email to Pickleball France.

If you’re anything like me and caught the travel bug while reading this, lucky you! Prem Carnot, renowned pickleball player and France native, is leading a group of 16 pickleball addicts around France in September 2016. Click here to find out more (and take me!).