USA Pickleball will launch a “quiet category” for pickleball products, an initiative that aims to reduce the sport’s sound output during recreational play.
The quiet category will promote products that deliver 50% or less acoustics of the equipment used in community parks. The quiet category will include specific USA Pickleball guidelines for manufacturers with limits that significantly reduce noise during development.
An issue during the sport’s explosive rise over the past two years, the sound of the ball hitting the pickleball paddle is much louder than the sound of a tennis racket. There have been several instances around the country of complaints to city officials about the noise as well as lawsuits surrounding pickleball expansion. The launch of the quiet category aims to create pickleball products that reduce acoustic output without negatively impacting performance.
“We are excited to introduce the new quiet category for pickleball equipment and related initiatives as a pivotal step in the evolution of pickleball,” said Mike Nealy, USA Pickleball chief executive officer. “With the sport’s growth, addressing noise concerns is essential to maintain a positive relationship between residential communities and facility operators. We are continuing to develop guidance and resources that offer short- and long-term solutions that continue to enhance the sport. By working together with manufacturers and the entire industry, we can develop quieter options that benefit everyone.”
USA Pickleball is also expanding its facilities development program to further support noise-reduction solutions for sound-sensitive pickleball venues. This will include paddles, balls, paddle covers and noise mitigation screens for pickleball courts. USA Pickleball is also launching an incentive program for manufacturers to deliver noise-reduced solutions in the Competition-Certified category.
To address noise concerns in local residential communities, USA Pickleball will expand its design, evaluation, and acoustic mitigation services within its facilities development program. These services include greenfield builds, court conversions and expansions to assess key variables that affect the sound of the game.
“Due to the unprecedented levels of growth we are seeing in pickleball across the country, communities are now being faced with pressure to provide places to play,” said Carl Schmits, USA Pickleball managing director of facilities development and equipment standards. “This overwhelming demand has driven municipalities and HOAs with limited resources to seek support in meeting these needs. We have spoken with hundreds of facilities and concerned stakeholders over the last 15 months, and gathered considerable data related to this topic. We’re now well-equipped and ready to launch this program.”