The Science of Pickleball – Sound: Pickleball vs Tennis?

Let’s face it, tennis can be conservative. Country clubs, all white clothing, and mostly polite soft clapping at tournaments.

Pickleball is louder.

More people having fun in a smaller area than tennis.

And, the sound of pickleballs hitting the paddle is startling to tennis players, who complain that “Pickleball is too loud!” This intrigued me, so we put it to the test and professionally recorded a pickleball hitting the pickleball paddle and compared it to a tennis ball strike. Surprise, surprise. PICKLEBALL IS 30% QUIETER THAN TENNIS!

But, there are other contributing factors, giving credibility to many tennis players’ complaints about pickleball being too loud and distracting to tennis players.

  1. The pitch of the pickleball hit is higher – a different sound draws attention.
  2. The pickleball court is smaller. Up to 16 pickleball players can compete in the same space as 4 tennis players.
  3. Pickleball points average 9 hits. Tennis averages 3.
  4. In pickleball matches the ball is in play nearly 30 minutes per hour. In tennis, it’s a maximum of 15 minutes, usually less.

The conclusion?

Pickleball matches have at least 8 times as many pickleball strikes than tennis due to the increased number of players in the same area and the average length of each point, as well as the inevitable talking, laughing, and joking that is part of pickleball, setting it apart from tennis.

The result is that pickleball IS a louder game, but NOT because of the sound of the pickleball hitting the paddle!

Will this fact change tennis to be more casual and fun?

Let’s reconvene in the next year or two and find out. I certainly hope so. Fun = increased participation in BOTH sports!

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