Good article thanks! The less lively ball is my preference. I like long interesting rallies that involve subtlety and paddle skills even though I’m perfectly happy to slam the ball when the chance arises.
I also believe it’s best for the future of the sport. Longer rallies are more interesting to watch – more suspense means more spectators. But also there is no end to skill development when playing with more touch at the net. Which means players stay inspired to play competitively. As you say, this is what makes Pickleball unique! If we go with the livelier ball, soon we will be putting strings on our paddles and making the courts bigger…:-)
For me it’s a little like the difference between squash and racquetball. Squash is a game of long rallies and finesse and racquetball more a slam fest. And I think racquetball is fading out…??
Lyndsey, you make some excellent points.
It is true that suspense builds with longer rallies. We know the point will erupt with the sudden, shocking power of put-aways or crazy fast volleys, we just don’t know exactly when.
It’s even more stunning (and exciting) when someone suddenly resets the point and the dinking game starts all over.
The contrast is what creates the intrigue.
And you’re right. As players we spend time ‘drilling’, which typically means that we are practicing that touch game up at the net, not the line drive shots from anywhere on the court.
Pickleball reminds me a little bit of golf – drive for show, putt for dough…the drive gets you close, but the touch game on and near the green makes or breaks the score for that hole. Yes, every shot matters, but…
I also didn’t think of the consequence of the livelier ball eventually feeding the desire to adjust equipment and court size.
Thanks for weighing in!
Been playing since 2008, at that time there were just a couple balls, outdoor (duraball) and the indoor (Juggs, or as we called it, the green ball) The short game was a joy to play with those balls, as more of a finesse player they could be dropped in the kitchen with no fear of them bouncing higher than the net. The soft players had a huge advantage over any type of hard hitter just because of the physics of the ball.
As the sport grows there are more balls on the market. The Onix Pure 2 Outdoor (like we played with at A-Copi) I feel has changed the game. I noticed from the very beginning that it had a higher bounce and a little more pop off the paddle. I noticed balls coming back in ways they had never come back before, and the ball is harder to slow down. Now it certainly can be done, just takes more soft touch practice.
Part of the issue is make sure to use the right ball in the right circumstances. Indoor balls should be used indoors, outdoor balls outdoors. For example we should have either used the JUGGS ball at A-Copi or the Pure 2 Indoor ball. Also the ONIX balls needed to be properly conditioned.
This is not the end of this, as more balls come out they will behave differently, we as picklers will just have to adjust. The one change I would like to see is an expanded kitchen area. Pickle On!
Paul, the balls you are recommending are for indoor play on a rubber floors, or hardwood floors, not designed for outdoor surface, which Acopi has, asphalt tennis courts.
Onix pure 2 outdoor ball was the right ball imo, it was just not conditioned, which was the true issue. If not conditioned, they bounce higher than the net, not legal.
Otherwise, I totally agree with all other points you have made 🙂
Actually dura40 should have been the ball 🙂
Do they put the “conditioning” requirements in the package?
My concern is that a ball with a higher bounce has the potential to negate or at least minimize the skills that our best players have developed over the years. It’s something akin to the juiced up ball in baseball where gangling shortstops were hitting 45 home runs a season. Base stealing, bunts and squeeze plays were becoming a lost art.
I’ve been playing pb for 2 1/2 yrs & fell in love day 1. I played with Dura, old Onix, other balls indoors & out for 2 yrs. For 6 mos, we’ve used Onix Pure 2 outdoor both inside & out & love the consistent bounce/flight of it. The older harder plastic balls wobble & take weird bounces sometimes. Also, they crack ALL the time. I have rarely seen Onix Pure 2 break. Maybe it’s our cold winters here in New England that age the hard plastic, but not everyone lives in FL. 😋
As far as long rallies being more exciting to watch, I disagree if they are dink fests. I’ve watched the Nationals on TV 2 yrs & could fall asleep. A good mix of dinking, lobs & slams is more fun to watch.
I have great empathy for you not wanting to change the game you love. I have played volleyball for 40 yrs & it has been ruined by rule changes… totally different sport now. But not allowing science to improve equipment is a totally different thing. We should embrace the fact that pb matters enough to companies to inest in R & D to improve the quality of our equipment.
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