Which Pickleballs to Use?

7-24-21 cartoon winter

By Bruce Hill and Kim Taddei

Most of us focus our attention on the paddle we play with, taking for granted the other piece of equipment integral to the game. Our choice of pickleballs can have an impact on our play. They come in a variety of colors, have different size holes and durability, and range from soft to hard, presenting a conundrum for the recreational player.

To help sort out the differences, I talked to Adam MacKinnon, our resident pro instructor. He presented four different brands of outdoor balls for me to examine for hardness. You can press on a ball and see how the softer ones will give slightly under pressure. Two of the softer brands are the Onix Pure 2 and the Franklin X-40.  They are easier to control and have a slower bounce than the harder balls. The Core and Dura Fast 40 (now owned by Onix) are harder balls.  The Dura Fast 40 is the preferred tournament ball because of  its faster bounce.  It’s also harder to control and thus “sorts out the wheat from the chaff” at higher levels of play.  Adam recalled a tournament where only the Franklin X-40 balls were used. The slower and more controlled action resulted in longer rallies. That extra control makes them a good choice for beginner and intermediate players.

Pickleballs can vary in their durability. The harder Dura Fast balls “play better” in the heat as they will not soften and become less bouncy. However, in cold weather they become brittle and crack more easily. A good choice for winter conditions is the Core ball. These are less prone to cracking, which is the main failure mechanism for pickleballs. In fact, if a ball cracks during a rally a team can request that the point be replayed. Besides cracking, a ball can become “out of round” which can produce wobble in the ball.

A big factor for Oakmont players is visibility. Balls come in white, green, yellow, orange, and lemon-lime, also called “neon”. Our eyes are most sensitive to the neon color. This ball color is the most visible when there is high contrast lighting on the court, i.e., part sun and part shade.

Finally, it is important to use balls designed for outdoor use when playing outdoors. Indoor balls are softer and lighter and are designed for smoother surfaces. They have fewer but larger holes as they are not subject to the effects of wind.

Like paddles, ball design is a rapidly developing field as various companies vie for a piece of the action.  The Engage Tour ball and balls made by Nexxed and Gearbox offer even more choices for the discriminating player.

For information about working with Adam, you can visit oakmontpickleballclub.com or email him at adammackinnon@gmail.com.

New Player Orientation: Arrangements can be made by contacting Nancy Lande at 978-2998 to schedule a session. Demo loaner paddles are available by contacting Doc Savarese at 349-9065.

DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT….

Now that travel is happening again, before you take to the open road or the friendly skies, think about where you can play pickleball during

Drilling

By Bill Wrightson What’s the best way to improve in pickleball? While taking a lesson, I remember an instructor from Bend, Oregon suggested that playing

Court Courtesy and Easter Fun

by Helen Selenati Pickleball is so much fun and everyone enjoys getting together to play and socialize. How lucky we are to have such an

Take It or Leave It

By: John Brody Ambivalence is a very unexciting way to go through life.  It means you can’t find anything to get excited about.  In that case, you

Reducing unforced errors

by Bruce Hill One area of pickleball where I excel is repeatedly making unforced errors.  I naturally turned to Oakmont’s pickleball coach, Adam MacKinnon, for advice

Featured Player – Peter Schmidt

Written by:  Doc Savarese                                         Drawing by:  Peter Copen If the Oakmont Pickleball Club were to have an ambassador who promotes the game and communicates to potential and active

Thanks for your Generosity

by Connie Medeiros & Liz Majkowski Thank you to all of the OPC Members and those in the Community that generously contributed to our 3