PICKLE PRO LABS: MLP DAYTONA PADDLE TESTING FINDINGS
Pickle Pro Labs (“PPL”) was retained by Major League Pickleball (“MLP”) and Professional Pickleball Association (“PPA”) to conduct previously announced joint testing of players’ paddles at the MLP event in Daytona, Florida, March 23-26, 2023.
For the sake of the game, the players, the paddle manufacturers, MLP and the PPA – and until proper guidelines, procedures and penalties are put in place by MLP and the PPA in the future – all test results from MLP Daytona will remain anonymous to anyone outside of PPL.
PPL tested a total of two hundred forty (240) paddles made up of sixty-six (66) unique paddle models from twenty-four (24) manufacturers submitted for on-site testing at MLP DAYTONA. The full anonymized data set can be found in Appendix A of the published report.
For the purpose of testing deflection, the average force required to deflect the face of the paddle one-sixteenth (0.0625”) of an inch at the five (5) inch location was sixty-nine and two-tenths (69.2) pounds (the “Average Deflection Force” or “ADF”).
While some variation in deflection force existed amongst all paddle models and amongst all players’ paddles, it was noted that the average deflection force for all the paddles submitted by six (6) players was more than thirty percent (30%) below the ADF.
We believe a conservative approach to setting a minimum Average Deflection Force threshold is to set the threshold far enough away from the group’s ADF (69.2 lb) that only outliers will be affected (removed from play). We currently believe 30% is an appropriate deviation to identify such outliers, subject to further dynamic testing. Said more clearly, we believe that a paddle should be removed from play if its ADF from its 5” measurement location is lower than forty-nine pounds (49.0 lb).
Ahead of the release of this report, PPL privately contacted all players and manufacturers whose equipment was found to have significant deviations outside of the above guidelines, in order to open a dialogue regarding the ongoing testing program. The calls were positively received and PPL is confident that we will be able to work with all parties to establish standards and practices supporting fair play and the equitable administration of the rules.
We are reserving the right to adjust our recommendations pending dynamic testing coming online later this month. As we continue to garner data, we can make a further recommendation on the proper surface roughness/grit of a paddle. As we refine our data and study regarding surface roughness, we’ll make a further recommendation for MLP and the PPA to consider moving forward.