Picklers can now be found in most states across America. Picklers have even made their way across the border to Canada, Singapore, and India. Pickler fever, like Bieber fever, has gone viral and mainstream. So don’t be offended if someone asks you to “get your pickle on” sometime because if you haven’t heard about the sport of pickleball by now, you probably will soon. The sport has officially arrived in the United States and may be coming to a neighborhood near you.
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sporting craves in America and has even begun to spread overseas. While pickleball is an inter-generational sport for players ranging in age from 6 to 70-plus, it’s the 55-plus year-old demographic that is driving the recent fast-rising popularity of the sport.
Some describe pickleball as a dwarf version of tennis. Others describe it as an over-grown version of ping pong (table tennis). It's played like tennis and scored like badminton. Regardless of what you think it is, the pickleball phenomenon has taken hold.
For decades, the game was little known outside the Pacific Northwest United States. Since its inception in 1965 as a backyard pastime, Pickleball has seen significant growth in the United States over the past decade. It is now an organized sport represented by national and international governing bodies. According to the USA Pickleball Association, the sport boasts an estimated 100,000 adult players in the United States now, more than triple the number in 2003, and there are about 2,500 public courts, versus just 150 that year.
Pickleball has seen an explosion of sort in Florida, especially in Central Florida, which is considered by many to be the pickleball capital of the world now. The Villages, a popular retirement community located near Orlando Florida, hosts more than 108 courts alone.
More and more pickleball courts are being built in new 55-plus communities and are being added to existing communities all over the United States and in other countries too. Del Webb, the United States’ largest builder of active-adult communities, had pickleball courts in fewer than one in five of its developments in 2006. Now, says Jacque Petroulakis, spokeswoman for parent company PulteGroup Inc., the figure is above 50 percent, and Del Webb incorporates pickleball into almost everything it builds. "It's the hottest craze sweeping our communities," she says.
Pickleball has spread across the United States and into Canada. It is now beginning to spread around the world. The United States Pickleball Association estimates there are more than 100,000 active picklers. In Canada, where the game is still relatively new, there are already more than 5,000 players in just four provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario. Meanwhile new organizations like the Singapore Pickleball Association and the All India Pickleball Association are bringing the game to Asia and beyond.
For pickleball players, the sport is a way to exercise, burn calories, be social, and get outdoors. The sport is easy to learn, even for those without much athletic experience. For all of these reasons, players find pickleball addictive, with demand for court time often exceeding available space. And in case you were wondering exactly what the term “pickler” means. According to the World Pickleball Federation (yes there is one), a pickler is a certified pickleball player who may or may not become addicted in the next 10 minutes or less. The sport with a whimsical name also has some whimsical terms and definitions. While many picklers play the game for fun, many play it competitively in regional, national and international singles and doubles tournaments.
According to the website of the USA Pickleball Association, which officially took over the sport in 2005, pickleball is played on a badminton-size court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. It is played with a perforated plastic baseball (similar to a Wiffle Ball) and solid wooden, composite, graphite or aluminum paddles that resemble large table tennis paddles. The game was invented by a man in Washington state in 1965, and is named after his dog Pickles who used to chase balls all over a court.
The Pickleball "Racket" - Ping, Pop, Thwack
As picklers get excited about their smashes, rallies, put aways, serves, and volleys on the court, some residents off the court living within earshot are crying foul. Even as momentum for the sport builds, the game has left a trail of detractors and spawned studies to determine if the sport meets noise regulations. When the pickleball paddle hits the hard plastic ball it makes a unique “pop” or "ping" sound that is louder and sharper to the ear and registers 3-5 decibels higher on a sound meter than the “thwack” heard when a tennis racquet hits the softer tennis ball. Regulation games are played to 11 points (a team must win by two points). Some local games are played to 15 points so the ball may strike the paddles hundreds of times in a game.This constant hard sharp sound can be bothersome to some residents living near the courts if the sound is not blocked by natural barriers of some type or by acoustical material hung on the fence that surrounds the court.
You can hear the sound for yourself by watching the YouTube video of a tournament match.
While the sport of pickleball is growing with new fans every day, it’s also faulting with some neighbors and communities who don’t want pickleball courts in their area because of the unwanted sounds and continuous racket/noise. In some communities, the divisions have prompted heated meetings among property owners, calls for noise studies and even claims that pickleball is destroying property values.
Increasing Number of Courts Could Lead to More Noise Issues
According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), the number of places to play pickleball nationwide has grown in the past 12 years from just 37 to nearly 1400. In Mission Royale, a 55-plus community in Casa Grande, Ariz., the local pickleball club is trying to secure courts of its own. Partly in response to noise complaints, the community's developer, Meritage Homes Corp., recently said it would be willing to spend "significant dollars" to relocate pickleball from a converted tennis court, says Jeff Grobstein, desert region president for Meritage.
Ron Heymann, 65, whose home is about 100 feet from the existing courts, says he won't be sorry to see pickleball go. The noise from games—that of a "hard plastic ball thunk-thunking repetitively on a hard wooden paddle"—is "akin to a toothache that won't go away."
Pickleball players in Mission Royale dispute such claims—for the most part. "There is a constant 'ping, ping,'" concedes John Grasso, 61, president of the local pickleball club. In March, Mr. Grasso says the club purchased a decibel meter from RadioShack. The findings: Tennis reached about 58 decibels while pickleball hit about 60. "There really was no difference. It's just a different sound."
The difference was enough to evict the sport from its home in SaddleBrooke near Tampa, FL. In 2008, residents there first asked pickleball players to switch to a rubber ball to cut back on noise. Pickleball players passed. Many feel like the sound is an integral part of the game and the experience.
"Ask golfers to use a different kind of ball, and see what they say," says John Benter, 69, local pickleball president.
A $4,500 noise study found that sounds from pickleball play were spiking above the county's 60-decibel limit, which applies to ongoing noise. As a result, the homeowners' association banned use of standard pickleball paddles and balls on the courts, effectively shutting down play.
Pickleball has also sparked lawsuits throughout the United States from people concerned and irritated about game noise that has intruded into their homes and personal outdoor spaces.
A November 15, 2012 Rockford Register Star article states that a lawsuit filed to stop pickleball from being played in Sinnissippi Park could be settled with additional noise control efforts from the Rockford Park District. In Winnebago County, Illinois, two people filed a complaint to the Winnebago County court asking for an injunction to stop play at the six courts at the Sinnissippi Pickleball Center. The complaint said the “pop” the ball makes as it flies off the paddle sounds “like a hammer blow on a blacksmith’s anvil” and “the noise filters into every part of their property and household.”
An article found on AzCentral.com website said Otis and Jean Vaughn thought the active lifestyle and peaceful setting of Venture Out RV Resort were the perfect ticket for retirement when they bought a home in the east Mesa community. For much of the past two decades, they played tennis, exercised at the community pool and traveled. But the Vaughns said that tranquility ended when the "pinging and popping" sounds of pickleball erupted on badminton-size courts that were built last year about 30 feet from their driveway.
"It's absolutely deafening," he said of the hard-surface paddles striking perforated plastic balls. The Vaughns' protest is among a chorus of objections to noise generated by the game in at least four Arizona retirement communities and several other states.
Noise Mitigation Solutions
Some of the noise problems for pickleball are not just because of the racquets and ball used. There are other issues. Some pickleball courts were built too close to homes. Also, most courts have chain link fencing around them which doesn’t block any noise. Some courts have tried using screen meshing on the chain link fence but it is porous and does not block noise well. Other developments have used trees and landscaping as a way to block noise during matches. These natural barriers are seldom effective.
There are other more modern acoustical solutions to the pickleball noise that can be used and are currently being used by pickleball associations and builders. Acoustifence is a modern day acoustical soundproofing product that just happens to be developed and sold by the owner of this blog - Tampa, Fla.-based Acoustiblok, Inc.
Acoustifence is an advanced material sound barrier that is placed between a noise source and the noise receiver. The Acoustifence material easily attaches to chain link fences and comes in large sheets and in custom made sizes, making it ideal. In a sound meter test conducted by USA Pickleball Association president Bill Booth on April 17, 2012 at the Country Roads RV Village pickleball courts in Yuma, Arizona, Acoustifence soundproofing material placed around a pickleball court reduced noise by 10-12 decibels This represents a 50 percent reduction in sound as perceived by the human ear the report concludes.
Let’s Google That Pickle Word
Today, if you Google the word pickleball, it receives about 212,000 results. Google the word ping pong and you get 90 million results. Google Google badminton and you get 27.5 million with volleyball yielding 171 million results. America’s current most popular sport, NFL football yielded 335 million results. So pickleball, while gaining popularity, is still finding its way into the cyberworld compared to other popular recreational activities. Google the word "pickleball noise" and you'll get 22,000 results, probably much more than the sports governing bodies feels good about.
Despite a few small bumps in the road, pickleball is finding its way into the hearts of many.
United States of America Pickleball Association
International Federation of Pickleball
Overview of Pickleball Rules
• Pickleball is a fun game played on a badminton court with the net lowered at 34 inches on center. It is played with a perforated plastic baseball, similar to a whiffle ball, and wood or composite paddles. It is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced competitive game for experienced players.
• There are usually four players - two each side on a team - playing over a net slightly lower than in tennis. Singles can play a match also.
• In tournaments, a match will usually consist of the best 2 out of 3 games to 11.
• Players swing rackets that look like a beefed-up version of a beach paddleball paddle and hit a whiffle ball that's slightly harder than the play-in-the-streets variety.
• The serve is underhanded and goes diagonally like in tennis, but the ball must bounce once on each side before players are allowed to hit a volley (out of the air). A player serves until he/she side outs then a person on the other team serves.
• Inside ''The Kitchen,'' a 7-foot zone on both sides of the net, volleying is not allowed; players have to let the ball bounce once if they're in that area.
• Teams only score when they're serving, and each player gets a turn before the other side gets a shot.
• There are a few more rules, but the main thing is that pickleball is a blast.
Soundproofing Products for Pickleball Courts
You’ve heard the warnings many times before, and you’re even beginning to become aware of it in your own environment. Noise pollution is taking a toll on our health according to medical researchers around the globe. We all need to step up to the plate and make an effort to quiet our environments before the noise makes us ill, or worse.
Worse? Yes. Noise can kill us. It can also drive us to do crazy things.
I have written plenty of articles about the health effects of noise on humans, animals, and plant life. I have covered new findings relating traffic noise to increased incidents of heart attack, and ambient environmental noise to a host of disorders from sleeplessness to depression, increased blood pressure, delayed recovery from major illnesses and even surgery. Noise can be toxic, but if we all become at least somewhat mindful of the health risks of noise, we can take steps toward making our environments quieter, healthier places.
Once we do that, we can sit back and enjoy our improved quality of life, and watch it work its magic on our friends and families, right? Think about it, if we suddenly all became hypervigilant about our own noise emissions and eradicated 90 percent of environmental noise overnight, the serenity might be overwhelming. Would we know what to do with it, or what it would sound like?
In addition to the toll environmental noise pollution takes on our bodies, there is another way noise can lead to death - murder. Seriously, folks are murdering each other over loud stereos and high volume parties in rising numbers, and this is a whole new side effect of noise that I think we’d better start paying closer attention to. People are killing each other over noise, and the problem seems to be worsening.
OK, we know theoretically that neighbors have had deadly disputes since the Hatfields and McCoys began murdering each other back in 1863 and didn’t stop until 1891. Of course, their ongong feud wasn’t started because of noise, but it created a whole lot of noise for both families and their neighbors on the West Virginia–Kentucky border. Noise can be scary and intimidating, it can be used as a weapon. The Hatfield/McCoy noise occured in the days before restraining orders and costly noise citations were issued to prevent crimes between neighbors, so it probably got pretty loud over there on the Kentucky/West Virginia border.
Fast Forward to Brentwood California, 2004. I once watched a television news report about Actress Julie Newmar, whose Brentwood home is next door to the home of Actor James Belushi. For years these two have been making each other’s lives miserable, a feud triggered when the aging Catwoman first complained about Belushi’s loud music invading her serene home environment.
Now, neighborly spats over noise, and one neighbor’s refusal to turn down the volume causing the offended neighbor to set off on a “campaign of harassment” (so said Belushi’s $4 million lawsuit against Newman when the back and forth became unbearable) is nothing new, and neither of them killed each other (although both alluded to fantasizing about it). But they each had blood pressure spiking for years, trouble sleeping, and heightened states of stress. But, other than the fact that this was Catwoman and the younger brother of the late, great Bluto, they could easily be any two American neighbors being driven crazy over one man’s music being another man’s inability to cope.
It’s never healthy when neighbors begin behaving like bullies, but what’s worse is when one neighbor loses site of reality and takes their rage to the next level. Some people are truly hypersensitive to noise, and it can become pathological. Ligyrophobia is literally a fear of noise, and although not every guy who goes off on a tirade over the neighbor’s barking dog or noise coming from a party is ligyrophobic, you don’t want to be blasting AC/DC in your garage if your neighbor happens to suffer from the condition. Let’s face it, we really do need to become more considerate, we never know when our neighbor might have a legitimate sensitivity to noise. Ligyrophic or not, he or she may have suffered from a traumatic event in their lives, or even an illness that left them with a low tolerance for noise.
Or, they could be doing a schedule II drug like methamphetamine, which can make a person overreact to even the slightest stimuli, in which case it’s just not safe to egg them on.
Such was the case last month in Woodlawn, California when police were called to a home on a noise complaint. When they arrived on the scene, a man who wasn’t happy about noise coming from his neighbor’s house had worked himself up into quite a frenzy, flashing a toy gun he held under a towel at police – the same toy gun he had waved at his noisy neighbors just minutes earlier in an encouraging gesture to get them to turn down their stereo. Of course, brandishing even a toy gun is highly illegal, especially when you do it with methamphetamine in your bloodstream and in a little bag hidden in your sock for later. Had the toy gun been real, the noisy neighbors may never have learned how close to a psychotic episode their noise-sensitive by means of meth neighbor had come, and how seriously agitated he was over their loud music.
Methamphetamine ingestion can cause a person do rash things he or she might never do ordinarily, like shoot their noisy neighbors who refuse a request to pipe down.
And for more than a year we’ve been glued to the trial of a 46-year-old retired firefighter from Houston who shot his unarmed neighbor, a 36-year-old school teacher, over noise coming from a birthday party being hosted in the school teacher’s home next door. The shooter, Raul Rodriguez, insisted he had the right to “stand his ground” at the base of the noisy neghbor's driveway and shoot the neighbor along with two other victims. Rodriguez had a reputation for being a hothead and a bully, and he seriously believed he could use deadly force against a neighbor because the birthday party noise was agitating him. He’ll spend 40 years in prison, having been convicted of murdering his neighbor over noise.
Weren't most of us at one time that smart aleck who thought it was funny to crank the stereo louder when a neighbor complained? It really wasn't a thoughtful gesture, and had I known then what I know now, I would not have participated in those antics. Noise is perceived differently by everyone, and even the most level headed among us, when subjected to noise that is invasive and inescapable for an extended period of time can be driven nuts. Our bodies aren’t designed for long stretches of high decibels. Some of us are more sensitive to noise than others. Of course, we expect our neighbors not to turn into murderous lunatics over sounds that we enjoy and relate to good times, but if they’ve knocked on your door, called you on your phone, or contacted the police because the noise is bothering them, they’re telling you the noise is too loud.
Turn it down. Buy some headphones. Install soundproofing material in your garage or home media room to block and absorb noise so you can crank your stereo without invading your neighbor's privacy.
Everyone will live longer.
A rooster accused of waking up residents in a quaint UK village is being forced to move out after its owner was served with a noise abatement order by the local town council and threatened with court action.
The early morning alarm that comes naturally to Cockadoodle Welch has been disrupting the neighbors' sleep for months. After weighing in on more than 50 recordings of the young rooster (also known as a cockerel) crowing before 7:30 a.m. over the space of one week, council members intervened on behalf of the sleep-deprived residents by delivering an ultimatum to Cockadoodle's owner Carl Welch: the rooster, who lives with 12 hens in Welch's yard, must be relocated or Mr. Welch will find himself in court over the noisy disruption to his neighbors' peace and quiet.
The headaches began in late 2010 when Mr. Welch thought it would be nice to add chickens to his garden, since his home is in a relatively rural area where outdoor noise is not usually a problem for residents. Mr. Welch says it never occurred to him that the neighbors would take issue when he added the cockerel to the backyard flock.
“As the mornings grew lighter, one of my neighbors complained that the rooster's crowing was disturbing them in the early mornings," he said.
“I’ve done everything I can to stop him from crowing really early.
“I brought him inside and covered him up, but I have to leave for work at 7 a.m. so I have no choice but to put him outside at about 6.45 a.m.”
Mr. Welch says Cockadoodle, who has his own Facebook page, would now have to go and live with a friend in another community.
“It seems a bit ridiculous to me," Mr Welch says. "I’ve got to re-home him just because I can’t go to work any later.
“I’ve got to stop him from crowing between 6.45 a.m. and 7.30 a.m., but most people are already up and going to work at that time. I don’t even know who’s complained. I’ve asked around and people have said they’ve heard him but it’s a countryside sound so it doesn’t bother them.”
A statutory noise nuisance has been established and as such, the council is duty bound to serve an abatement notice when no sufficient soundproofing material or other noise deadening resolution has been put in place to provide peace and privacy to the neighbors. Mr. Welch has been advised that should the notice be breached, ultimately court proceedings may follow.
“We have a duty to investigate all reports of noise pollution thoroughly and take all complaints to the council seriously," said a council spokesman.
Although evicting a noisy cockerel on behalf of cranky neighbors may sound like fodder for a standup comedy routine, noise-related sleep deprivation can have serious implications; it can interfere with daytime functions that require alertness including driving, operating machinery, working, and watching over children. Ongoing sleep disruption due to noise can also lead to serious health problems including high blood pressure, impaired immune system, irritability, cognitive impairment, memory lapses or loss, anxiety and other health risks.
In many U.S. communities, keeping roosters in residential areas is discouraged due to the noise nuisance they often create. Regulations vary from one community to the next; whereas roosters may violate noise ordinances in one community, they may be in violation of livestock ordinances in another.
If legitimate noise complaints are received against roosters in residential areas, and steps are not taken to create an effective noise barrier to keep the offending wakeup call out of neighboring properties, local governing officials may request the rooster(s) to be removed from the property.
If you live anywhere near an arterial or collector street, you know that traffic noise is one of the greatest generators of noise in cities and suburbs. In fact, if your home is on a busy street, or close to one, traffic noise can actually become a quality of life issue, making it difficult to enjoy time spent outdoors and even inhibiting sleep. Add to that the fact that most municipalities have laws in place that prohibit the construction of walls and fences tall enough to provide an effective sound barrier, and you've got a real challenge on your hands.
Tall hedges, effective landscaping, smart backyard design, and natural sources of soothing white noise can all make a huge difference when used together effectively. Talking to a quality landscaper about developing the right landscaping for reducing city noise on your property is the best way go. Nevertheless, here's some tried and true ideas for combating that urban din.
One popular way to both provide an effective noise barrier and comply with city building codes is by planting hedges. Tall hedges aren't subject to height limitations, and when cultivated and planned properly, and in combination with high-quality sound abatement fencing, they provide beautiful and effective sound barriers between your yard and busy streets.
Hedges and trees are also an excellent way to provide your yard and home with more privacy, another common concern for those living on busy thoroughfares. Be sure to talk a landscaper or nursery about choosing the right plants for your situation, space, and climate. Ideally you want a hedge that grows up without growing out, and the faster it grows the better. You can enhance the soundproofing effects of this type of berm landscape by incorporating acoustical fence into the foliage. Acoustifence is easily hidden within foliage, providing a much more effective sound barrier than the foliage alone without, interfering with aesthetics.
Avoid plants that put off fruits or berries since they can make more mess than they're worth, and always look for vegetation that won't demand much upkeep or watering on your part. Choose low maintenance acoustical fencing as well; the best noise abatement fencing should be easily cleaned simply by hosing it off,
Besides vegetation and acoustical fencing, there are other options for landscape design that can help make dealing with city noise easier. Building a deck on the opposite side of the home from the road, for example, can seriously reduce the amount of city noise you deal with when you're grilling, entertaining, or just enjoying a good book on a warm spring day. If that isn't an option for you, building a privacy wall or hanging acoustical fence on the street-facing side of your deck can work wonders. And while height restrictions can limit their effectiveness, an acoustical privacy fence or a rock or brick wall bordering your property can still make a difference when used in conjunction with tall hedges and other sound reducing strategies.
Excerpted from an article by Matt Goering on Servicemagic.com.