Pickleball Magazine 1-3 | Page 25

EVOLUTION The Evolution of the Ball and How it’s Going to Impact Your Game BY WAYNE DOLLARD / PUBLISHER OF PICKLEBALL MAGAZINE We’ve all heard the story how pickleball began as a summertime activity in 1966 when Joel Pritchard, and his neighbor Bill Bell, grabbed a couple of paddles and balls and played that first game. Not many people ask where the ball came from and how it has changed over the years. Pickleball Magazine has done some research to introduce the origin of the ball, explain its evolution, and show the path the IFP and USAPA are taking toward maintaining the ball and the sport’s integrity moving into the future. W hen Joel Pritchard opened his shed that sunny summer afternoon, it is most likely that he had never heard of Cosom — the plastic baseball he grabbed with the intent of making up a new game for his children and their friends. Fifty years later, we recognize the impact that the Cosom ball, with its aerodynamic hole design, had in the establishment of pickleball. The Cosom became essentially the only ball used for the sport from 1966 until the late 1980s. Other Wiffle balls were available but Cosom was the ball of choice due to its round, consistent holes, allowing it to fly straight and bounce predictably. In the late 1980s Pickle-Ball, Inc. began mass producing balls specifically for pickleball. Today, there are 20 balls that are appr