Pickleball is Getting Dangerous

Pickleball is Getting Dangerous

I know I will hear the haters telling me to lighten up, but last week a buddy of mine was hit in the eye and sustained 13 abrasions on his retina. Two weeks ago Cassidy Phillips sustained an eye injury he posted about in the group. He fortunately has regain his vision but is still suffering lingering effects.

The paddles are getting too powerful. The grit is so good that you can hit with more power and still keep the ball in play. If you have played against someone with the Gearbox Power Pro, you know what I mean. But the problem is, it's a perfectly legal paddle, it's USA Pickleball approved.

I know USA Pickleball is working hard to manage this, but with all the momentum pickleball has, money is flowing in, better engineers are working on the designs, and paddles are going to continue to get faster, hit harder, and outpace the ability to govern them. This will lead to more injuries and that is terrible for the game.

The Gearbox Power Pro is an amazing paddle, but contributing to the problem I have with it is the lack of noise it makes. You don't realize just how much our hearing plays a role in identifying how fast a ball is coming at you until you don't hear it. It's incredibly deceptive to play against as the ball is being hit harder than any other paddle and then, before you can even react, the ball is on you.

I state this because yesterday it was announced that USAP gave a provisional qualification to OWL paddles to be played in APP Tour events.

I have spoken with Carl Schmits, the managing director of equipment standards at USA Pickleball, on previous Kitchen Konversations about this new Quiet category of paddles as we search for solutions to the noise issues pickleball presents in some settings. I think that's great. BUT... if we are making paddles that do not make the noise we are accustomed to, I believe very strongly that there needs to be a correlation between the power the paddle has and the sound it makes. If a paddle doesn't make sound, it shouldn't have much power. If a paddle hits hard, it should be required to be at a certain level of sound.

I really don't want to have to hear or read about more members of this group or players anywhere suffering injuries playing a game that has brought so much positivity to so many of us. I will now step down, off my soapbox. 😉

Let me know your thoughts. In the meantime, stay safe and wear some protective eyewear please.

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