The Secret to Winning at Pickleball: Finding the Perfect Ball

Pickleball seems to be everywhere

Everyone seems to be talking about it, and for good reason. Recently, it was reported that 36,000 people played pickleball last year. This is leaps and bounds above any other sport in the fastest growing category. So, if you’re looking to start playing pickleball or if you’re an avid player, there are some critical components to playing.  

Besides playing on a regulations sized court and using pickleball paddles, you need pickleball balls. No, you can’t use a tennis ball, racquetball or wiffle ball. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about pickleball balls, including variations, materials used and even durability.  This is you’re guide to pickleball balls–buckle up and enjoy!

Indoor vs Outdoor Pickleball Balls

Here comes the big question: Will you be playing pickleball indoors or outdoors? The answer to this question makes a huge difference in the world of pickleball balls.  It’s one of the the first things to think about when buying pickleball balls. I personally never thought it would make a difference–but hey, I was wrong. The balls do make a huge difference because o the surfaces they are played on. 

Indoor pickleball balls usually have 26 holes–and the holes are larger than the outdoor balls. The larger holes reduces the speed and makes them bounce a bit better. On the other hand,  outdoor pickleball balls have 40 holes in them. The  outdoor balls have smaller holes so they can withstand the elements. Meaning, they are  designed to withstand windy and rainy conditions. It’s important to decide in advance if you need indoor or outdoor balls. Most players don’t know this but  if you use an indoor ball outdoors  you can wear through it a heck of a lot faster than then vice versa.

One Piece vs Two Piece Pickleball Balls

Pickleball balls are either manufactured as a two-piece or one-piece ball. One-piece balls are exactly what they sound like—they are made from one big piece of plastic.  Two-piece balls have 2 halves that are joined together in the middle with a seam. If you’re not sure if the balls you’re playing with are one or two pieces, just hold one up and look at it. You should be able to see the seam in the middle. If you can’t find a seam, it’s a 1 piece ball. Sometimes, manufacturers refer to these as “rotational” balls. Although it’s usually personal preference, we have found that more like the one piece balls more. These are usually more expensive but can keep the bounce a bit longer. 

Durability of Pickleball Balls

The durability of pickleball balls can vary depending on the the materials used and how much you are playing.  On average, pickleball balls last anywhere from a few months to a year. Again, these are averages. If you’re playing in extreme hot or cold temperatures or playing all day long, the balls will not last as long. Think about a baseball. The pitchers in MLB baseball games change balls every couple innings. This is to keep the ball feeling fresh and new. Same goes for tennis and also pickleball. It’s always good to get in the habit of inspecting your balls before you play. If there are cracks or worn areas, it’s time to break out some new balls. It really will make a difference. 

What Pickleball Ball Should I Use?

The USAPA has the official guidelines regarding balls and what is allowed and not allowed.  We recommend indoor pickleball balls with a diameter of around 2.8 inches. For outdoor pickleball balls the size is typically 2.9 inches. Most players won’t notice a difference but if you’re playing frequently, it’s best to use a ball that's approved for USAPA. 

Where to Buy Pickleball Balls

Pickleball balls can be purchased at most sporting goods stores and proshop, If you’re looking to buy online, consider buying from The Big Dink. When buying pickleball balls, it is important to purchase them from a reputable brand that uses high-quality materials, The Big Dink. It is a top-rated brand that sells high-quality pickleball paddles & balls. Their products are rated very high and are affordable. 

Knowing When Pickleball Balls are Worn Out

How do you know when to change balls? As previously mentioned, it’s important to replace balls when they’re showing signs of wear and tear. Playing with  worn-out balls will definitely not give you an advantage! Signs that your pickleball balls may be worn out are usually if the balls look lopsided, have crack, don’t sound right when hitting them, have a lack of bounce and sometimes, the color can even fade. It’s important to replace balls regularly. You will enjoy playing with fresh new balls-this we are sure of.

In conclusion, pickleball balls are an essential part of the game. Choosing the right  ball can improve your game more than you probably think. When buying pickleball balls, it’s important to consider the brand, the number of holes, and if you’re playing indoors or outdoors. Hopefully this clears up any misconceptions about pickleball balls.