Pickleball noise is driving some folks “crazy”

Photo credit: TheVillagesFL licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

Yes, there is another source of noise that people are complaining about–pickleball, a fast-growing sport. According to a CNN Business article by Nathaniel Meyersohn, pickleball is driving many people “crazy.” Residents and home owners are asking to have new courts for pickleball blocked, claiming that this game is indeed noisy.

When compared to tennis, Meyersohn notes that tennis is less noisy because it is played with fewer players and fewer hits are made. Not only are there more players in the same space for pickleball and more hits, but because it is also a more social sport the games are louder with “players bantering during and after points.”

A resident in Falmouth, Massachusetts actually sold his home and moved after a pickleball court was built near his home. This resident said that sounds from the court are carried through the air. He and his neighbors filed a lawsuit against his town’s zoning board of appeals with “daily injurious and obnoxious noise levels” a key factor in the lawsuit. A temporary injunction was granted and the pickleball courts are currently closed. Another town disturbed by pickleball restricted playing to three days a week. Interestingly, tennis players are also criticizing pickleball because it is taking over some of their courts.

In response to the criticism that noise is very much associated with pickleball, a trained pickleball player, who is also a part of a consulting firm that recommends sound mitigation, suggests that when courts are built near homes sound mitigation must be considered. He acknowledged that a court near people’s homes is “quite a problem,” and says one might consider putting a court elsewhere.

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