If you’re just starting to play pickleball, you may notice something oddly familiar, even nostalgic, about the ball.
That’s because when the sport began, players used the same lightweight, perforated wiffle ball used in the classic backyard game. The modern pickleball ball echoes the design of this ball, but with subtle changes tailored to the sport and the court.
Depending on what kind of court you’re playing on, though, you’ll want either an indoor ball or an outdoor ball. Each has a slightly different construction.
Indoor pickleballs “will grab onto the court on an indoor surface,” explains Wayne Dollard, founder of Level-Up Pickleball Camps.
That’s because indoor balls are made from soft materials and have about 26 holes on the surface.
New players who want to get involved with pickleball and build their skills might benefit from using an indoor ball, even on outdoor courts, because it moves a little slower. That way, you can focus on developing proper form first.
Outdoor pickleballs “cut through the wind and fly a little faster” says Dollard, making them a great choice for higher-level players and for outdoor courts.
That faster tempo comes from the ball’s construction, which has more numerous, smaller holes than its indoor counterpart. With around 40 holes and a firmer surface, outdoor balls can cut across the wind for more direct shots. This can increase the rate of play, upping the ante and increasing the fun for more seasoned players.
Now that you know the differences between indoor and outdoor pickleballs, take a look at our other introductory pickleball videos like Pickleball 101: The Continental Grip and the Basics of the Pickleball Serve.