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The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleba


Before we dive into what makes outdoor pickleballs different from indoor pickleballs, let’s take a step back. Any pickleball for gameplay is similar. Much like a wiffleball in design but usually a little heavier. You’ll usually see pickleballs in a bright, vibrant yellow/green color, too. That’s to help with visibility. Much like the orange ping pong balls you see, having a color like this allows the ball to stand out in pretty much any environment. That’s so everyone has a fair chance of seeing the ball. There’s actually no official rule about color, though. Only that the ball must be one consistent color.

Another thing to ask yourself no matter what kind of pickleball you’re playing with is this: Is that ball USA Pickleball approved? USA Pickleball is the governing body for all official play in the U.S. So making sure you’re playing with a USA Pickleball approved ball will ensure you’re getting used to a ball that you’ll be playing with in tournament situations. We won’t get into the specifics (that’s for a whole other post). But basically USA Pickleball approved balls are as follows: made of plastic, between .78 to .935 ounces, and 2.874 to 2.972 inches in diameter.

Now, onto indoor vs. outdoor.

First indoor pickleballs. You’ll notice the holes are a little larger than an outdoor ball and there are fewer holes all together. If you closely examine them, you’ll also notice indoor balls are softer, lighter, and a little less bouncy. Meaning you have a bit more control and can play around with more powerful shots. If you’re in a really heated match, you’ll enjoy the fact that they also hurt less when you find yourself in front of a slam.

And outdoor pickleballs are generally the reverse. Smaller holes and more of them. A little harder, heavier, and bouncier. They crack when they get worn out. Whereas indoor balls just get too soft. You’re going to want to watch your control with outdoor balls. They’re going to pop off the paddle a lot harder than an indoor ball. And watch out if a hot shot is coming at you!