As pickleball gains traction as a popular racket sport across the United States, noise pollution has become a growing concern. USA Pickleball, the National Governing Body for pickleball in the U.S., is taking pioneering steps to address this issue with the launch of a new Quiet Category for pickleball products. The groundbreaking initiative aims to create a quieter, more community-friendly environment without compromising the quality of play.
A Milestone for USA Pickleball: The Quiet Category
On September 25, 2023, USA Pickleball announced this revolutionary Quiet Category initiative that will categorize pickleball equipment based on its acoustic footprint. The program is designed to promote products that produce approximately 50% less noise compared to standard equipment commonly used in community parks.
"With the sport's growth, addressing noise concerns is essential to maintain a positive relationship between residential communities and facility operators," said Mike Nealy, USA Pickleball Chief Executive Officer.
The Research Behind Quiet Pickleball Equipment
For the past 15 months, USA Pickleball has invested heavily in researching and studying the acoustic output within the sport. Partnering with acoustic experts, the organization has developed a comprehensive understanding of the noise challenges posed by pickleball, especially in noise-sensitive locations.
What the Pickleball Quiet Category Entails
The Quiet Category will offer:
- Specific guidelines for manufacturers to reduce noise
- Test fixture requirements and procedures during product development
- Ongoing collaboration and guidance to global sporting goods brands
The initiative also aims to encourage manufacturers to innovate and create new materials and configurations that preserve the game's nature while reducing noise.
Incentives for Manufacturers
To spur innovation, USA Pickleball is launching an incentive program for manufacturers to develop noise-reduced solutions, especially those that qualify for the Competition-Certified Category.
Expanding Facilities Development Program
In addition to the Quiet Category, USA Pickleball is also scaling its Facilities Development program to further support acoustic mitigation efforts in potentially noise-sensitive venues.
“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,” said Carl Schmits, USA Pickleball Managing Director of Facilities Development and Equipment Standards.
USA Pickleball is not stopping here. Plans include:
- Advancing acoustic research
- Facilitating test installations
- Conducting uniform lab tests for accurate benchmarking
Conclusion: A Step Forward for Sustainable Pickleball
The introduction of the Quiet Category is a pivotal move in the evolution of pickleball, as it addresses key concerns of noise pollution while promoting the sport's growth. As communities continue to demand more pickleball facilities, this initiative offers a sustainable and innovative way to meet those needs.
About USA Pickleball
USA Pickleball is the nonprofit National Governing Body for the sport of pickleball in the United States, offering educational opportunities, official rules, and various other benefits to its members.