GAMMA Sports originally had an untraditional and unique start in tennis, and again in pickleball before enjoying the recognition it does today. The company was the idea of Harry Ferrari, a materials engineer with Westinghouse who was also a tennis enthusiast. Ferrari’s inspiration came during a local tennis tournament. During the match, his natural gut strings broke so he picked up an identical racquet strung with the best synthetic nylon strings available at the time. They performed so poorly that he went from winning to losing the match. He thought to himself, “There has to be a better way.”
And the engineer in him discovered that bombarding the nylon strings with gamma rays would result in a more elastic, more powerful, more natural-feeling string. The difference in play was dramatic, which also helped him turn around his court performance. The innovative GAMMA GUT string was the start of GAMMA Sports.
Today, Ferrari’s son, Matthew, runs the company and the history of innovation and experimentation continues. GAMMA Sports is not only a dominant player in the tennis realm, but a strong contender in the world of pickleball— bringing decades of product development experience to our sport.
“Our second product really got us into pickleball,” Matt Ferrari said. “We developed innovative overgrips and replacement grips for racquets using proprietary materials and inks. Our grips have 40 years of research and development in them to create the right combination of absorbency and tackiness that make them perfect for players.”
At first, GAMMA Sports’ grips were marketed to tennis players, but the company soon saw that the product was being used in a variety of ways.
“We realized we were selling grips to people who manufacture equipment for martial arts, for jumprope handles, hammers, or for anything with a handle,” Ferrari explained. “We saw this huge spike in pickleball manufacturers using our grips. We had been making tennis equipment for 35 years, so we applied that technology to pickleball paddles and came up with some interesting things.”
GAMMA Sports innovations include the edgeless, flush fit bumper, a recessed bumper that protects the edge of the racquet without affecting play.
“We focus on doing things nobody else is doing,” Ferrari said. “And the response has been great.
We’re making paddles right now in Pittsburgh, using tennis racquet technology and offering paddles for
every type of player. Our paddles are available on our website, gammasports.com, nationally in stores like DICK’S Sporting Goods, at Pickleball Central, as well as internationally. We have used our connections in Europe and elsewhere to help grow the sport abroad.”
Ferrari became the president of GAMMA Sports in 2004, after starting with the company out of college in the 1990s. While his father was a “classic” tennis player, Ferrari is more of a pickleball player.
“I’m more social, more gregarious, so I like the closer quarters of the pickleball court,” he said. “It’s not as oppositional as tennis. It’s a more communal sport, which fits with my personality.”
In that vein, it’s not unusual to see GAMMA Sports sponsoring a whole host of programs and events in
the pickleball world, from Rock N Roll Pickleball to the Pittsburgh Pickleball Classic for Parkinson’s, US Open and other national tournaments.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON GAMMA SPORTS, GO TO THE WEBSITE AT GAMMASPORTS.COM.