Ace Your Noise Control: Solutions for a Quieter Pickleball Court
I learned about pickleball from a friend of mine five or so years ago after he’d returned from a vacation with his family. The back story is that he and his wife played some tennis back in college and his wife’s parents were always trying to convince them to take it up again. That is, until they all discovered pickleball. So my buddy and his family went down to see his in-laws in Florida, played it every day and had a blast. As fate would have it, a week or so later I got a call from an apartment complex manager who was desperate to find a way to mitigate pickleball noise. They were getting a ton of complaints and tried to avoid showing adjacent units when folks were playing. I was thankful I knew just enough about the game to help him find a fix!
Since then, I’ve worked with a lot more customers in a similar pickle. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) And it’s no surprise. There’s been a lot in the news lately about the rise in popularity of pickleball. Unfortunately, not all of the news has been good. Now, there are bound to be issues with the exponential growth of a sport, often related to injury and such. Who would have guessed that there would be so much controversy around the country due to noise complaints near pickleball courts?
If you haven’t played before, the sport is louder than you’d imagine. As a result, apartments, recreation centers, and country clubs with pickleball courts need serious help. Before we start talking about solutions, let’s take a moment to talk about what pickleball is, and why pickleball courts produce so much excess sound.
What is Pickleball?
People commonly describe pickleball as a combination of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. The similarities are pretty apparent when you look at the mechanisms of the game. The paddle and ball are a larger, sturdier version of a ping pong paddle and ball. The net is a short version of a tennis net, and the court is the same size as a badminton court.
What you get is an outrageously popular new sport that is great for people of all ages. The rise in popularity has been sudden, a little surprising, and created a league of sport all its own — literally!
Pickleball’s Exponential Growth in Popularity
Pickelball has a few things going for it which have made it so popular. For one, it’s a fairly low-impact sport thanks to the smaller court size. Also, the rules are simple and the gear is affordable making it more accessible than many other sports. It initially caught on among seniors like my in-laws, looking for a social way to stay fit. And while it’s still predominantly played by the over 55 crowd, more and more younger folks are playing too
The Association of Pickleball Professionals saw an exponential rise in players between August 2021 and August 2022, with over 36.5 million players worldwide. It is a stark difference from the previous 12-month figures, which boasted only 5 million players worldwide. The game has even garnered support from star athletes, including Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and LeBron James.
Why Do Pickleball Courts Benefit From Noise Control?
With the rise of a new favorite pastime, you’d think there would be pickleball courts everywhere, right? After all, the sport is easy to learn, inexpensive to play, and extremely fun. Unfortunately, if that’s what you thought, you’d be sorely mistaken, because if you aren’t on the court playing, you might not be a fan.
Many who live near pickleball courts compare the noise created on the courts to what you’d hear living close to a freeway. As a result, time constraints have been put on pickleball courts, and some homeowners have even filed lawsuits against court owners for violating noise bylaws. Complaints have even led to the closure of pickleball courts nationwide, citing excess noise disturbances as their primary issue.
What Causes Noise on a Pickleball Court?
At around 70 decibels, the noise on a pickleball court isn’t loud enough to damage your ears, but it is loud enough to warrant a noise complaint from your neighbors. Why is pickleball such a noisy sport compared to tennis or badminton, which are similar outdoor sports? Here are the three primary reasons pickleball courts produce so much sound:
1. Paddles and Balls
Pickleball paddles are made of wood, and the balls are made of plastic. When those two meet, they make a distinctly loud popping sound that is louder and in a higher frequency than what you’re likely to hear in a tennis match or friendly game of ping pong, and since there are typically many courts playing at once, the noise is multiplied.
2. Excitable Players
Pickleball itself can be loud, and so can the people playing. This is a social sport and the players are having a good time. Whether they’re cheering when they score a point, exclaiming when they lose, or just getting rowdy while they’re out having fun with their friends, people produce a lot of noise. In fact, most of our business is helping people soundproof rooms to block out the noise created by other people.
The same applies to pickleball. When you get a bunch of people together having fun and playing a game they love, they tend to get a little noisy.
3. Noisy Crowds
Pickleball also tends to attract larger crowds. Whether you’re talking about a professional game or a large group of friends getting together to have fun, the crowds can be massive. As a result, people are often standing along the sidelines cheering and shouting, and creating a ton of excess noise.
Acoustical Solutions for Soundproofing a Pickleball Court
The best way to soundproof an outdoor pickleball court is to utilize existing structures around the court, like fences or walls. If there are no existing structures around the court, then your first step is to build some. Once you have that, your soundproofing options are relatively simple and very cost-effective.
Here are the best products we offer for soundproofing a pickleball court:
AlphaSorb® Dual-Sided Outdoor Absorptive Sound Blanket
The AlphaSorb® Dual-Sided Outdoor Absorptive Sound Blanket is one of our most commonly used outdoor sound-absorbing options, and it works perfectly on a pickleball court. It’s also super affordable, which makes it an ideal option for budget-conscious customers. It’s called a “sound blanket,” but it’s important to note that it’s more like a sturdy panel than a blanket.
PrivacyShield® Outdoor Absorptive Soundproofing Blanket
Our PrivacyShield® Outdoor Absorptive Soundproofing Blanket is one of our most popular outdoor soundproofing products that provides heavy-duty, quality noise control at a premium rate. Less like a blanket and more like a state-of-the-art sound-blocking panel, it’s specifically designed for use outdoors, which makes it a perfect sound absorption solution for a pickleball court.
AudioSeal® Reinforced Sound Barrier
If you’re looking for a low-cost soundproofing option, we also have our AudioSeal® Reinforced Sound Barrier. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing option in our product line for outdoor soundproofing, but it is an affordable option that will reduce the amount of noise transference from your pickleball court.
Control the Noise in Your Pickleball Court with Acoustical Solutions
When you open a pickleball court for your business or recreation center, or you create a personal pickleball court in your backyard, you shouldn’t have to worry about how much sound you’re making. Don’t let excess noise spell the end of your pickleball court. Use the products outlined above in this article to block and absorb the sound created on your pickleball court.
Contact us today with any additional questions about soundproofing and noise control!
To learn more about how Acoustical Solutions can solve your noise control problems, use our contact form, call one of our Acoustical Sales Consultants at (800) 782-5742, or visit us on the web at acousticalsolutions.com.