After 50 years of Pickleball, the first Pickleball ‘ball' controversy has arisen. Pickleball is growing fast and it was bound to happen that some communities would find themselves at the sharp end of neighborhood complaints about the ’sound’ coming from newly installed Pickleball courts. As the complaints have grown, more communities have looked for quieter balls and paddles which have lower decibel ratings. There are many ‘quiet’ paddles on the market but few ‘ quiet’ balls, until now. The Onix Pickleball with a higher bounce, lower dB rating and a longer court life has become a competitor to the old reliable Dura. Unfortunately, the Onix, though quieter, changes the way the game has been played since its inception. Most of the controversy centers around the 3rd shot & dinking which are at the heart of Pickleball. Because the Onix bounces much higher than the Dura, the soft shot is no longer so soft and players are finding their opponents can smash their perfect third shot instead of having to reach down to dink it over the net.
A few observations about the Dura and Onix pickleballs.
- The Dura ball has been the gold standard when it comes to bounce for many years.
2. The Onix ball has a significantly higher bounce and a longer lifespan than the Dura. Sound levels are lower. It should be noted that paddles are a greater source of high dB levels than pickleballs.
3. Players in the 3.0 range seem to favor the Onix ball. (They also tend to give up learning the 3rd shot & dinking)
5. Players 3.5 and above seem to favor the Dura Pickleball.
6. Using either the Dura or the Onix Pickleball will require different shots and strategies to be employed during play depending on which ball is being used.
7. It has even been suggested that if the Onix pickleball is being used the net should be raised to 38 inches at the posts and 36 inches in the middle.
8. Maybe someone will come up with a ball that has the bounce of the Dura, the lower sound level and lifespan of an Onix and the cool green color of the briefly introduced and now vanished Wilson Pickleball.