Maybe I should say “learning pickleball opposite-handed.”
Anyway, I have been trying to learn how to play pickleball left-handed since my shoulder surgery. My wife and I went to the courts yesterday where, after a lot of frustration, we managed to get 48 balls in a row over the net and into the kitchens. I was pretty proud of that!
I have to say, though, that in order to do that, I had to rest my right hand on the handle of the paddle and use it for guidance. That is similar to golf, where the saying is, “the right hand is for guidance and the left hand for power.” Same thing in baseball, where you will see right-handed players letting go of the bat with their right hand on a follow through.
Of course, I had to resist the temptation of using my right hand only, which I was able to do.
So, today, I decided to go to our community lodge where we have an indoor pickleball court. It is not big enough to play an actual game, but big enough to drills. The court, unfortunately, has a rubber floor, like many indoor courts that have been retrofitted for pickleball. My wife and I quickly learned that regular pickleball would not bounce on the court, so we started using the Onix QuietBall, a foam ball that is intended to be used indoors. It worked great.
I went to the facility, but found that the walls had too many raised spaces to be used as a practice wall. I decided to practice against a door, which had (conveniently) a chair rail that was 34 inches high. It also had raised edges and a handle. Using the Onix ball and my right hand for guidance, I was able to get 14 balls against the door in a row. I also had to chase down a lot of balls that hit the raised edges or handle and careened away from me. I did this for fifteen minutes and was exhausted.
I decided to write this blog to let everyone know about the Onix ball. Well, it seems that you cannot get it anymore. I tried the following web sites, all of which sold Gamma balls.
Gamma Foam pickleballs from Pickleball Experts – sold out!
Gamma Foam pickleballs from Pickleball Central – sold out!
Gamma Foam pickleballs from Pickleball Inc. Wholesale – not available!
I think pickleball companies are refocusing on “quiet paddles” due to noise complaints, rather than quiet pickleballs. Too bad.
Pickleball Inc. Wholesale did have a recommendation, though. It is the “Quick Kids Practice Ball by Gamma.” Here is what they say about it.
The Gamma Quick Kids Practice Ball is one solution to the never-ending “pickleball noise” debacle. This foam ball was developed by Gamma Sports, a big name in the tennis industry. While this ball was designed for teaching tennis to younger kids on a smaller court, it is also a fantastic substitute for pickleball players seeking a solution to the loud “ping” that is characteristic of pickleball. It is made of scratchy foam and has a two-tone color scheme, with red and yellow intersecting to allow players to notice and practice spin.
The Gamma Quick Kids Practice Ball is slightly larger than an average pickleball, measuring just about 3-1/4” in diameter. It weighs just slightly under 1 ounce, making it a comparable weight as well. Because it is made of foam, not a hard plastic, this ball has a much shorter bounce which makes it great for drills.
The Gamma Quick Kids Practice Ball is a great way to play indoors or at venues where noise is a factor.
I have no experience with these balls, so I don’t know how they behave on a rubber floor.
Anyway, these balls cost about $4 each on the Pickleball Inc Wholesale website, but there is no way to actually buy them!
I did find them on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3DEQe0u
You have to buy 12, but they come out to about $2 each. Free shipping and free returns if you don’t like them (for Amazon Prime).
Anyway, if anyone knows where to get the Onix balls, let us know.