RETURN TO COMPETITION
During these unparalleled times and many months of quarantine and social distancing, players have been anxious to get back to the spirit of competition and vie for their spot on the podium. We have seen sanctioning applications come in each week as we prepare for what we hope will be a great finish to 2020 and an exciting 2021 pickleball year.
Standards and testing advances match fast paced equipment development
The Equipment Evaluation Committee (EEC) is USA Pickleball’s data-driven standards group that works closely with the rules committee and the manufacturing community to assure the integrity of the sport is preserved, with an objective to ensure a level playing field for both manufacturers as well as for athletes. Primary areas of concern for this group regarding paddle performance are primarily spin-inducing friction and power enhancing attributes. For balls, dimensional consistency and rebound characteristics drive most of the tests.
It may have been quiet on the courts for some time early this year, but as you may have seen, pickleball’s equipment manufacturers aren’t standing still – new products driven by ongoing innovation in design, materials and manufacturing processes continue to hit the market. To support these efforts and our overall goals, the EEC has been busy putting several improvements in our paddle and ball testing protocols through their paces at our certification center. These updated tests will provide important consistency and accuracy that help manufacturers deliver reliable products to both competitive and recreational players. This includes sports industry standard tests to evaluate ball characteristics through a new compression test, and for paddles, an updated deflection test and standardized friction test allowing measurement of an increasingly diverse set of finishes on today’s paddles.
We continue to work closely with the manufacturing community to ensure our standards and testing are state of the art, enabling your favorite paddle or ball maker to get you ready for your best match yet – the rest is up to you!
Content provided by Carl Schmits Director of Equipment Standards
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