As Pickleball Popularity Continues to Grow, New Equipment and Technology Improves

By:
Joe De Luna, Director of Tennis and Pickleball

Since this time last year, the Sports and Fitness Industry Association has announced an 85 percent growth in pickleball participation. Between new players needing a start-up kit or frequent players going through several paddles a year, the pickleball market has continued to expand.

Paddles, balls, shoes and eyewear are all necessities for beginner to advanced players. The spike of interest and financing has led to manufacturers researching new materials and technologies to develop new products.

Materials such as carbon fiber, polypropylene, graphite, fiberglass, polymer, epoxy resin and composite are leading to breakthroughs in the paddle manufacturing industry. Pickleball paddles have many variations even though the square inches of the paddle face are the same. Some are different shapes, from square, rectangular, oval and teardrop to name a few. Paddle length, width, weight and balance all affect how the paddle performs. The player’s skill level and needs will be the best measure of which paddle the player should use. Some provide more power and some more control. Others can have more spin and others a larger sweet spot. There are many options, but it is always best to talk to our professional staff for recommendations rather than purchasing a random paddle online. You can demo paddles at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch Tennis and Pickleball Club, where we have a variety of brands and models.

Balls are always a hot topic for pickleball players. There are indoor balls, outdoor balls and everything in between, which is called a hybrid ball. The most important aspect of the ball is the consistency of the flight and bounce. It is a whiffle ball so the size and number of holes in the ball can vary, which can affect the flight and bounce. Durability is a factor as after extended use balls can crack, and temperature can also cause balls to underperform.

Court shoes are critical for both movement and injury. The wrong shoe can hinder your movement and increase the chance of ankle and knee injuries. A court shoe like a tennis shoe is highly recommended. This soles of the tennis shoes grip the court well enough for stopping and starting and for change of direction, but also gives enough so the shoe does not stick to the court and cause rolling of ankles and twisting of the knees. Those are the most common injuries related to footwear and pickleball.

Lastly, eyewear is another critical part for pickleball players. Unlike tennis, pickleball players are closer to each other because the court is one-fourth the size of a tennis court and most of the play is at the net. The ball is plastic and perforated so the edges of those perforations can be a hazard if a player is struck in the eye. I recommend eyewear with advanced impact protection. Eyewear can also have a variety of lenses; the colors can help pick-up the ball faster and contrast the court and windscreens. A darker shade of lens is better when the sun is out, and a clear lens is best for night play.

All and all, pickleball has come a long way with its advancement in technology in many areas.  Feel free to contact your Cordillera Ranch certified tennis and pickleball professionals, or stop by the Pro Shop and we can help outfit you with all of these items.  

Joe De Luna is the Director of Tennis and Pickleball at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at jdeluna@cordilleraranch.com and 830.336.9004.

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