I have worked with quite a few beginning pickleball players and they usually find it interesting that there are different indoor pickleballs and outdoor pickleballs. Generally speaking, indoor pickleballs are made of a softer plastic and have somewhat larger holes. The design was developed to enhance play on gymnasium floors in an atmosphere basically free of nature’s elements.
An outdoor ball is made of somewhat harder plastic to work well on cement/concrete or composite outdoor courts. They have smaller holes which will not catch as much wind and ostensibly provide a better game in the elements because of those modifications.
According to the USAPA, any approved ball can be used on any surface. Players, however, do prefer certain balls over others.
I play in one location that has a very light wooden floor and the light greenish-yellow balls are hard for me to follow. While the white balls are a bit better on that court, they too get lost in the reflection of the lights from time-to-time.
Pickleball has grown so much in recent years that enterprises are now creating new styles and colors of pickleballs. Of course these need to be “approved” by the IFPA/USAPA for sanctioned play.
The USAPA defers to the IFP (International Federation of Pickleball) regarding balls that qualify and this is what the IFP has to say about Pickleballs:
“All balls are approved in any color at the discretion of the tournament director. The large-hole balls are customarily used for indoor play and the small-hole balls are customarily used for outdoor play. However, all balls are acceptable for indoor or outdoor play.”
Here are the current Pickleball options taken from the IFP website:
While those pictured and listed above seem to offer many options, there are other contenders waiting in the wings…
The three pictures (above) of colorful JUGS balls are courtesy of Pickleball Central
There are a lot of balls in the air here and who knows where they will land? Of course we await their approval so we can play with those colors and materials we feel will deliver the best game under the conditions we wish to compete.