Pickleball Innovations: The Latest Trends in the Sport

Pickleball continues to grow exponentially with more players being introduced to the sport daily and the demand for more courts continues. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) and Pickleheads released in August of this year a detailed participation and infrastructure report for the sport. This provided an in-depth analysis of pickleball participation and facilities in the United States highlighting the investment needed to keep up with the sport's meteoric rise. 

As cited in the SIFA report, pickleball has continued to grow rapidly, increasing by 85% year over year and by an astonishing 158% over the past three years. With 8.9 million participants in 2022, the number of new participants in pickleball exceeded the total number of pickleball participants in 2021. This highlights the unprecedented growth and increased awareness of the sport, leading to an exciting future ahead.

Advancements in Pickleball Equipment

USA Pickleball’s goal in growing the sport is to ensure the equipment manufactured meets specifications and playing characteristics that reinforce the performance and competition in the sport. Working in tandem with testing labs hosted at National Testing Systems, USA Pickleballs Equipment Evaluation Committee reviews every piece of equipment submitted for testing. Over 1,000 paddles and 175 balls have been tested since its inception, providing valuable data used to validate and improve specification definition, testing process and methodologies. 

Paddle Material 

The material of the paddle has advanced significantly over the years and with that so has the price point. A high end pickleball paddle, ranges between $150-$250 and is composed from materials like graphite and composite. Paddle manufacturers continue to experiment with materials like carbon fiber and graphite to construct paddles that are not only lightweight but optimize power, control and durability. The result are paddles that offer superior performance while withstanding the rigors of the game. An exciting development to the construction of the pickleball paddle is the integration of honeycomb cores. These cores consist of a series of honeycomb-shaped cells, typically made from polymer materials. The unique structure provides outstanding shock absorption and energy transfer, reducing vibrations and maximizing power on every shot. Another exciting enhancement to the exterior of the paddle is the inclusion of textured surfaces. This helps a player generate more spin and control on their shots and can elevate your game massively. 

Pickleball Paddle

Ball Enhancements 

Balls are another essential piece of equipment in the sport and have also seen their fair share of technological advancements. Traditional pickleball balls were made of hard plastic and tended to lose their bounce over time. However, with the introduction of new manufacturing techniques, today’s pickleball balls are made with a high-quality polymer blend that offers superior durability and consistent performance. These modern balls provide a lively bounce and improved flight, intensifying the speed and excitement of the game. The most common ball used on the pro pickleball tour is the Dura Fast 40. This ball uses a patented hole pattern machined directly into a single seamless piece resulting in a competitive ball that incorporates the perfect bounce, speed and flight characteristics. As professional players advance, so does the equipment to keep up with the intensity of the game and to continue to appeal to a wider audience. 

As well as the paddles and balls, advancements in textile engineering have led to the production of specialized pickleball apparel. Similar to tennis, new clothing has been designed specifically for the sport that incorporates moisture-wicking fabrics that keep players dry and comfortable during intense matches. Many brands have also introduced UV protection and eyewear to protect the players in all conditions. 

Volair’s Technology

We at Volair pride ourselves on staying up to date with the latest trends and innovations in the industry. Our products are designed by pros and top industry professionals with the goal to always make the best products in the industry.  Volair will be conducting its own research and continuing to create new, exciting products that align with the vision of growing the game.                                           

Volair Pickleball Paddle


Check out our current line of Volair paddles here

New Quiet Category Equipment Launched

As well as more advanced equipment on the market, USA PickleBall is going to great lengths to improve the acoustics involved in the game with the goal to silence those that think the sport ‘is too loud’. USA PickleBall has just certified its first ever ‘quiet category’ paddle developed with the purpose of reducing the sports sound impact. This will likely be the first of many paddles with manufacturers working on different technologies and materials to improve the sound.

Beyond this the second solution is focusing on the plastic balls, as they are the bigger culprit for the noise. The ball noise on the paddle can register sound levels upwards of 80 decibels, comparable to busy street traffic and quieter than noise from a tennis match. With a quieter impact of a softer sounding ball on the paddle this will go a long way in reducing the overall noise of the game.

The key is finding the happy medium between reducing the noise without drastically altering the way the sport is played. If this is found the sport will continue to grow and flourish.  

Tracking your Progress and Performance with AI & VR Technology

There are a variety of apps and wearable technology now on the market that offer fitness tracking, pickleball specific metrics and coaching tools to help players advance their skills. With interactive tutorials and videos from top players and coaches, players can learn proper technique, shot placement, and game strategies at their own pace and track their progress in the sport. 

As well as mobile applications, VR technology is becoming more prominent in the sport. This technology can simulate pickle ball courts and provide a realistic training environment for players, specifically beginners who want to practice scenarios without the need of a physical court. Virtual reality also allows simulation matches against virtual opponents of varying skill levels, providing valuable practice and challenging game play. By leveraging the power of VR, pickleball players can elevate their game, increase their confidence, and transfer their enhanced skills to real world pickleball courts. 

Pickleball One VR fitness game

Meta Quest recently released Pickleball One VR fitness game which lets players bring the court to life from home. This is a multiplayer VR fitness game where you can play singles or doubles in real time. 

Similar to tennis, pickleball is adopting ball tracking systems and Artificial intelligence line calling to track the trajectory and movement of the ball during play. This technology can be used for replay analysis, line calls, or even generating statistics about shot placement. AI based systems can accurately call balls in or out of bounds in real time, eliminating the need for line judges and enhancing the flow and excitement of the game for players and spectators. With AI and VR technology being adopted in the sport shows how quickly it is advancing and highlights the future growth of the sport. 

PB Vision, an AI tool tailored for pickleball players

PB Vision, an AI tool tailored for pickleball players is one of the latest software platforms analyzing the way the game is played. PB vision operates by harnessing computer vision algorithms and machine learning techniques to scrutinize video footage of pickleball matches. The set up is a simple stationary camera set up that captures the entire pickleball court in the frame. Once the game is concluded and the video is recorded, it can be uploaded to PB vision for analysis. It tracks player movement, ball trajectory, and other crucial elements shown below. 

The Social Media Phenomenon - Connecting Pickleball Enthusiasts Worldwide

Not only is pickleball flourishing on the court but the sport is also gaining huge traction in the virtual realm. With the rise of platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, pickleball enthusiasts have discovered a means to connect, inspire and learn from one another in the online world. These digital platforms allow players to create a community where they can swap tips and strategies feeling like they are in a safe, like minded and fun space. One of the key reasons for this community feeling is the inclusive nature of the sport. Unlike some other sports that require extensive equipment or specialized training, pickleball can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. This has led to a diverse and passionate community that comes together on social platforms to share their love for the game.     


Pickleball Facebook Group - Pickleball Forum                   Pickleball Facebook Group - The Kitchen

Pickleball Forum and The Kitchen Facebook pages are two of the largest pages on the platform with over a combined 150 thousand members. Groups like these can be found all over Facebook in every state, country and park/club community with the shared goal being to connect and grow. Content is shared and posted daily with everything from advice, tips, success stories and upcoming news/events to keep the audience consistently engaged and entertained.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube have also become the perfect stage for organized pickleball tournaments. Communities from around the world use these platforms to broadcast and live stream matches, elevating the sports visibility to a global audience. Having a global online presence and audience is key in growing any sport. Pickleball will continue to grow both on the court and online into 2024 and beyond with more players, platforms and ways to connect.

The Future of Pickleball - Potential for Growth and Professionalization

Professional pickleball has a long way to go to catch up with sports giants such as the NFL or NBA but recent trends indicate this growth is possible. With increased prize money and media coverage pickle ball has begun to attract top athletes from other sports such as former tennis stars, Rafa Hewett and Zane Navratil. As the athletic ability of players increases, the value of pickle ball as a spectator sport should also go up as more top athletes will come into the game. 

As well as more well known athletes coming into the sport there also continues to be a lot of investment from high profile celebrities in the MLP. Major league pickleball has gone from 12 teams to 16 teams in 2023 with an expanded list of high profile names like Kevin Durant, Heidi Klum and Michael Phelps investing into the league. This allows the MLP to expand its doubles events from three to six teams and increase winnings to more than $2 million and this will continue to grow in 2024. 

With global economic expansion, rapid urbanization and increases in the spending capacity of consumers, pickleball will continue to grow at a rapid rate. Market reports based on recent statistics project the market to reach a value of over $2.3 billion by 2028 with the sport for a third year running declared as the fastest growing sport in the country.