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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

USAPA Ball Specification Revisions

From the USAPA website:

Effective 11/01/2015, the ball specifications changed (see IFP Rule 2.D). On 05/01/2016 any ball not meeting the new specifications will be removed from the list of approved balls. All ball manufacturers have been contacted and are aware of the new specifications. Current balls marked with an (*) in the following list will need to be modified in order to meet the current specifications and renamed accordingly. 

List of USAPA/IFP Approved Tournament Balls

  • Cosom Fun Ball (white, yellow, red, green)
  • Dura Fast 40 must be stamped “PICKLE-BALL” or not a Dura ball (yellow, white, orange)
  • Dura Fast 26 (Large Hole) Must be stamped “PICKLE-BALL” (white)
  • * Hangzhou Yihao – MNBALL (lime green)
  • * Jugs Bulldog (white, green)
  • * Mach-Z (white, yellow, red, green)
  • *Monarch: Outdoor Pickleball (yellow)
  • * Monarch: Indoor Pickleball (yellow)
  • Onix Sports 503 (outdoor), (white, yellow, orange)
  • Onix Sports 505 (indoor) (white, green, red, blue)
  • * Onix Sports Pure Outdoor Pickleball (yellow)
  • Pickleball Central TOP (yellow)
  • Pickleball HQ -The Villages (yellow)
  • * Pickleball Now “Indoor Ball” (green)
  • RiverStyks (green, pink, yellow, blue, purple)
  • TNT Outdoor Pickleball (yellow)
  • *Uniker Sport – Ace 40 (yellow) Note: Some of these balls have been observed to become out-of-round after moderate play time.
  • Wilson “Neon Fire”, “Hope” (red, yellow)


Explanation from the USAPA Rules Chair:

"Background. Over the last few years, we have seen a proliferation in the introduction of new paddles and, more recently, balls. Some of these new paddles and balls have barely met or exceeded the applicable specifications set forth in the existing rules. Others, while technically compliant with the present rules, have designs or characteristics that reward players who want the sport to become faster and tilted more toward power and less toward finesse. The USAPA and IFP are committed to preserving pickleball in a manner that does not favor any one style of player. We adhere to the following maxim: In deciding any matter related to equipment, the IFP is required to interpret the rules in a manner that will preserve the traditional nature and character of the sport and preserve the skills traditionally required to play the sport. The existing rules have proven to be inadequate when evaluating new paddle and ball designs based on this guideline.

Need for rule changes explained. In order for the USAPA/IFP to maintain the traditional nature of the sport, it has modified the rules and specifications for paddles and balls over time. As an example, a paddle deflection test was developed a few years ago to help reduce ball speed from paddles that were being made in a manner to produce a trampoline effect. Also, ball specifications were developed to better control their characteristics for play based on what was available at the time. We now see a further need to amend the rules by adopting more exact specifications. Each of the new rules set forth below, except Rule 2.D.7, clarifies allowable limits or characteristics of paddles or balls.

Effective date. Although the rules stated below are being amended and added as of November 1, 2015, they will not become effective for existing products until May 1, 2016. There will be a grace period until May 1, 2016 to allow manufacturers time to develop conforming products and to allow players to adapt to those conforming products. In the meantime, paddles and balls that meet current specifications may be used in sanctioned tournaments..."

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