How a new Utah company aims to change pickleball with a ‘mini’ product

Feb 17, 2024, 8:20 PM

Ed Beazer, co-founder of the Utah-based Bzer Sports, holds the company's invention, a miniature war...

Ed Beazer, co-founder of the Utah-based Bzer Sports, holds the company's invention, a miniature warmup ball, during an event at Club Pickleball USA in Sandy on Friday. (Carter Williams, KSL.com)

(Carter Williams, KSL.com)

SANDY — Ed Beazer says he took up pickleball about four years ago as the game began to sweep over the country and Utah.

“I got the bug,” the Murray resident said, recalling his origin in the sport. “(I) started playing more and more.”

He’s certainly not alone there. One pickleball paddle company, using an analysis of Google Trends, released a report last year naming Utah as the top pickleball state. Cities continue to build new courts as available public options fill up quickly.

But the more Beazer played, the more he wanted to improve his skills, so he eventually searched for a coach to help improve his game. His journey took him to Jake Ralphs, a professional pickleball player who started to teach the game in 2021 to a growing number of people interested in the sport.

How the ‘mini’ product got started

During one of their sessions about two years ago, Ralphs brought a ball smaller than the traditional nearly 3-inch diameter pickleball people are used to playing with. They practiced with it before returning to the regulation ball and the difference was noticeable — like hitting a beach ball, Beazer said.

The idea of developing a miniature pickleball training product instantly clicked. Beazer, a businessman who is perhaps best known for helping bring Starbucks to Utah, searched around to see if there was anything on the market like it. While there are some novelty items on the market, there weren’t any products they could find like what the two had in mind.

Now, after more than a year of development, Beazer and Ralphs have a product on the market that does just that. The two co-founded Bzer Sports and launched their first innovation they’re calling the “Warm-Up Ball.” It’s 1.75 inches in diameter.

“This is the first mini pickleball in the pickleball industry and we developed it right here in Utah,” he said, following a launch event at Club Pickleball USA on Friday. “We’re one of the top states for pickleball, so we thought if we could get this developed and introduced in the Utah market, and help the people of Utah get better, that’s what we wanted to do.”

Bzer unveiled its product on a pickleball court as “Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project blared over the speakers. The event was followed by a tutorial featuring 11-time Professional Pickleball Association tour champion Callie Jo Smith and a range of notable local pickleball enthusiasts, including former congressman Ben McAdams, ex-Utah Jazzman Ron Boone and composer Kurt Bestor.

The ball they played with took more than a year to develop, which went through different prototypes about every month before Bzer settled on the final product late last year, Beazer explained. It’s made out of rubber instead of the standard plastic ball, giving it weight that aims to help with follow-through form.

Pickleball pro and coach Callie Jo Smith, left, and former Utah congressman Ben McAdams, right, play pickleball in front of a miniature Bzer pickleball on display at Club Pickleball USA in Sandy on Friday. (Carter Williams, KSL.com)

Smith, also a coach, said she was introduced to the miniature ball as it was being developed last year. She also got a shot at testing the final product a few weeks ago and was impressed by the experience.

“This end product has been fabulous,” she said. “I’ve used it the last couple of weeks and I’ve been amazed with how it really works, how it’s changed my game and focus on the court.”

Bzer’s operations are fairly simple at this point, a family-only operation out of a garage for the moment. The three-pack sleeve is available on the company’s website, though Beazer said he and Ralphs will keep some on them to sell in person.

However, the company has big plans on the horizon as it looks to focus specifically on pickleball training items. Beazer said the company is working to get the ball on Amazon to expand its marketplace. At the same time, the company plans to release other products like a smaller paddle and a moveable target in the coming months.

“There’s going to be more to come. We want Bzer Sports to specialize in training devices for pickleball players to improve their game,” he said. “We’re hoping that just becomes our niche in the industry.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Moab is pictured on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)...

Mary Culbertson

Vulnerable trailer park forced into eviction by Moab City after insurance debacle

A community in Moab is facing eviction, after they waited for six years for an affordable housing project to complete.

12 minutes ago

Layton Utah temple photo show with others in Utah announced at West Jordan and Lehi...


Three temple locations, including West Jordan and Lehi, announced

Today, the locations for three temples — two in Utah, West Jordan and Lehi, and one in Florida — were announced.

2 hours ago

Salt Lake City planted 250 trees in honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day. (KSL TV)...

Karah Brackin and Mary Culbertson, KSL TV

Salt Lake City plants 250 trees for Earth Day

Salt Lake City planted 250 trees in honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day at the Regional Athletic Complex.

4 hours ago

FBI agent Douglas Hart, right, testifies Monday about texts between Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Da...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

‘Angels are angry’: FBI agent describes ‘manipulating’ texts between Lori and Chad Daybell

FBI agent Douglas Hart testified Monday about texts between Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell, showing how he said they manipulated each other.

4 hours ago

(KSL TV)...

Tamara Vaifanua

Activewear and other tech to help you stay healthy

It can be a daily struggle to prioritize your health, but there's some technology that can help keep you motivated.

5 hours ago

FILE  (Salt Lake City Police Department, file photo)...

Mary Culbertson

Missing 12-year-old in SLC located safely

Salt Lake police were searching for a 12-year-old girl who was located Monday afternoon.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

How a new Utah company aims to change pickleball with a ‘mini’ product