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.
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