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Should protective eyewear be required for pickleball matches?


By Brynn Grissom

on Dec 21, 2023

Mary and Maggie Brascia wear protective eyeglasses while on the pickleball court

Pickleball is a fun and fast-paced sport, but as with any sport, it's not without its risks. 

When you step onto the pickleball court, you'll likely find yourself engaging in fast hands battles at the kitchen line, which can lead to some unpredictable and intense shots. 

These high-speed exchanges can occasionally result in unintended consequences, including eye injuries. To mitigate these risks, one essential safety precaution that often goes overlooked is wearing protective eyewear.

Are pickleball players required to wear eye protection? 

USA Pickleball has established rules governing what players can and cannot wear during games. These rules include restrictions on what players can and can’t wear on the court. For example, players may not wear colors that resemble the color of the ball to avoid confusion. 

However, there currently isn't a mandate in the rulebook requiring players to wear protective eyewear.

That said, many top pickleball pros, including Selkirk's Mary and Maggie Brascia, choose to wear protective eyewear for added safety because they understand the importance of safeguarding their eyes from fast-moving balls and unpredictable shots. 

How to choose the best protective eyewear for pickleball

On the court, players stand approximately 14 feet apart, and during fast-paced rallies, the risk of getting hit by an unexpected shot is real. 

To ensure your eyewear serves its purpose effectively, you should look for eyewear that meets a few crucial criteria specific to your needs.

Choice 1: Clear protective eyewear

Protective eyewear is essential at every hour of the day. If you’re looking for an all-around choice, consider a pair of clear protective glasses.  

Your glasses should first provide clear vision without distorting your view of the court. A snug fit is equally important to keep your eyewear securely in place during intense moments. 

You might also want to consider eyewear with an anti-fog coating, especially for those sweaty rallies that can fog up your vision. 

Some eyewear options come with sports straps to prevent them from falling off during gameplay – remember that if your sunglasses fall into the kitchen after a volley, it's considered a fault!

For those who require prescription lenses, there's no need to fuss with contact lenses or reading glasses on the court. Many manufacturers offer protective eyewear with prescription options, ensuring clear vision without compromising on safety.

Choice 2: The best sunglasses for pickleball

When selecting sunglasses for pickleball, it's crucial to consider the right lens color. Rose, amber, or brown lenses are excellent choices because they offer superior contrast. This heightened contrast makes it easier to spot the pickleball against the court and sky.

Additionally, look for a pair with wraparound frames to protect your peripheral vision, and consider adding a sports strap to your frames. 

While polarized lenses are excellent for reducing glare, they can sometimes make your vision appear flatter, potentially affecting your depth perception. Strive to find a balance between glare reduction and maintaining a clear, three-dimensional view of the court.

Why you should consider adding protective eyewear to your pickleball bag

Protective eyewear is an often overlooked but vital safety measure for pickleball players. Regardless of whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, your eyes deserve protection from fast-paced shots and unpredictable rallies. 

By choosing the right eyewear that fits well, offers clear vision, and enhances contrast, you can enjoy this fantastic sport while keeping your eyes safe and sound on the pickleball court. 

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