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Reducing Noise at the Glen School Pickleball Courts in Ridgewood

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the resonating sound of summer in Ridgewood and in Bergen County  is “pwock” – the rhythmic collision of a plastic ball and a fiberglass-covered paddle, echoing across city parks, country clubs, and retirement communities.


For enthusiasts of pickleball, this distinctive “pwock” is synonymous with joy, competition, and perhaps even a chance to settle scores with a former high school P.E. teacher who wielded crafty pickleball skills (although this sentiment might be personal).

Originally a niche sport for retirees and eccentric P.E. teachers, pickleball has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity over the past decade. Last year, approximately 8.9 million Americans engaged in regular pickleball play, with an additional 27 million participating at least once, making the sport nearly as widespread as running.

However, the rapid expansion of pickleball has led to a rising chorus of complaints from residents living near the courts. This is because pickleball is an unusually loud sport, producing a decibel level of around 70 dBA at 100 feet from the court when the hard surface of the racket connects with the ball. In comparison, tennis generates a noise level closer to 40 dBA.

Research conducted by Bob Unetich, a retired engineer and Carnegie Mellon University professor, and founder of Pickleball Sound Mitigation LLC, has delved into potential solutions for reducing noise. Unetich found that using softer plastic balls could decrease the average sound level of a pickleball match by 1-3 dBA. Additionally, thicker paddles with softer faces were identified as potential contributors to a 7 dBA reduction compared to typical models. Unetich’s recommendations include over a dozen paddles with frequencies lower than 1k Hz.

Despite the “pwock” predicament, pickleball’s popularity continues to soar, leaving communities seeking a harmonious compromise between enthusiasts and those affected by the distinctive sound.

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8 thoughts on “Reducing Noise at the Glen School Pickleball Courts in Ridgewood

  1. Pickleball should be an indoor sport in dense urban areas…end of story.

  2. Nice clickbait James. Generic copy-paste article about pickleball noise tagged onto a misleading headline.

    But, outdoor pickleball should not be allowed near people’s homes.

    1. Said Mr. Wilson of “Dennis the Menace” fame.

    2. What about outdoor sports arenas near people’s homes that include parking nightmares, whistles, air horns, screaming parents and kids, garbage, the list can go on and on. That seems to be okay with everyone!

      1. If the arena was there before you got there then too bad. It is not a mime convention there…..concerts, games, various events all lead to various noises and inconveniences. Some truly suck but that is why your property was not 150K more expensive.

      2. If you had air horns or whistles going off on your driveway for 10 hours a day, you would quickly jumped off the “noise deniers” bandwagon. You made the list!!

        1. nice straw man

  3. Maybe someone should set up some pickleball outside of the VC members homes and see how they like it. I agree that pickleball should be indoors!

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