A common frustration for many pickleball players, whether a casual enthusiast or dedicated tournament player, is the frequent need to buy more pickleballs.
Similar to golf or tennis, pickleball players will need to replace the balls throughout their play to ensure they are performing at their best. However, the lifespan of a pickleball varies because not all pickleballs are created equal and some players test their ball’s durability more than others.
This variability leads to an intriguing question: Just how many pickleballs does a dedicated player go through in a year?
Pickleball durability: Factors and frustrations
A pickleball's life expectancy can vary dramatically. Intense players might find themselves going through several balls in a single session, while more casual players might see their balls last much longer.
Key factors impacting this lifespan include:
- Length of play: Longer playing sessions naturally lead to quicker wear and tear.
- Frequency of play: Regular players will go through balls faster than occasional players.
- Climate: Extreme temperatures and humidity can affect the ball's material.
- Court conditions: Some players regularly play on harder court material or courts that have cracks or other imperfections.
- Playing style: Aggressive players, or “bangers,” will likely wear out balls faster than “dinkers,” or players who prefer finesse.
Case study: Grand Pickleball Club's experience
A perfect illustration of this is the experience of the Grand Pickleball Club, one of the country’s largest standalone pickleball clubs with more than 2,000 members.
In the last year, the club spent about $12,000 on roughly 6,000 pickleballs, and used nearly all of them. This high turnover was a significant expense and logistical challenge.
In recent months, the club switched to the Pro S1 Pickleball, and saw a significant drop in cracked or unusable pickleballs.
In a one-week trial, players used 180 of their old balls and broke 112. In contrast, of the 100 Pro S1 balls used, only one broke.
"The play was phenomenal. They kept true to form and they played great,” said Troy Konz, President of Grand Pickleball Club. “One broke. That was amazing. I mean, the club knows how much we spend a year on balls, so to see one ball broken after a week of heavy play, it’s a phenomenal ball.”
Grand Pickleball Club tournament player Todd Trent decided to put the Pro S1 to the ultimate test by using the same ball for all his games throughout the week.
"We've played over 60 games and it's still working great," Trent says. "I would say everybody needs to try this ball and see what they think. I think you're going to be thoroughly impressed with how it works."
The pickleball market offers a variety of balls, but they're not all created equal. Differences in manufacturing materials and processes mean some balls are designed to last longer than others.
And while high-quality balls can be more expensive, investing in high-quality pickleballs can be more cost-effective in the long run, despite a higher upfront cost.
Selkirk Sport is committed to growing the sport of pickleball, and as such, offers a variety of sponsorship programs for facilities, tournaments, and clinics. Those interested in exploring sponsorship options can fill out the appropriate request form or reach out to email@example.com.