Pickleball Ball Speed – Fast, Faster, Fastest!

As a pickleball Ambassador for North Phoenix, Arizona, I am privy to much information that is shared among the various ambassadors via the USAPA Pickleball Ambassador’s Forum. In a recent posting some information was disseminated that I think would be of interest to the pickleball community at large.

When we are playing pickleball and all players are standing just behind the boundaries of the non-volley zone, we are only about fourteen or fifteen feet apart. If there is a heated volley exchange, that ball can come flying by pretty fast. Did you ever wonder how fast that ball is traveling when it whizzes toward you?!

Well, a couple of USAPA Ambassadors have done some research based on speed tests using a radar gun and here are the speeds of balls in various sports.

**NOTE** All numbers presented are MAXIMUMS. Obviously, the ball could be hit with less power and thus be slower.

    Pickleball

  • Most volleys at the kitchen line are somewhere between 30-40 mph. The reaction time at the non-volley zone would be approximately .24 of a second.
  • Other volleys (not at the non-volley zone) would most likely be somewhere in the 25-30 MPH range with the fastest balls probably approaching the 40 MPH limit.
  •  
    How About Other Sports?

  • – tennis serve = 167.3 mph
  • – baseball pitch = 105.1 mph
  • – baseball hit = 120.5 mph
  • – ping pong ball = 69.9 mph
  • – badminton shuttlecock = 306 mph
  • – jai alai pelota = 188 mph
  • – golf ball = 208 mph

**NOTE** – A baseball can be thrown more than 90 mph, but the distance between the batter and the pitcher is 60.5ft. This would allow a reaction time of nearly half a second at the faster speeds.

6 thoughts on “Pickleball Ball Speed – Fast, Faster, Fastest!

  • December 18, 2018 at 5:11 pm
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    How much does the pickleball slow down by the time it reaches the receiver- from the server to the other end of the court?

    Thank you,

    Reply
    • December 19, 2018 at 6:17 am
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      You will have to ask a physicist for that answer. All I can say is that Pickleballs have been clocked at more than 30 mph when measured from volley zone line to volley zone line during a rally so KEEP THOSE PADDLES UP!

      Reply
  • April 1, 2019 at 1:36 pm
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    Jeff, Agreed that most volleys are around the 30-40 mph speed. In your comparison to other sports, you have however listed the fastest that the respective object for that sport can travel. So to compare apples to apples, can you check or state what the fastest a pickleball can travel (either during a putaway smash volley where an opponent accidentally pops up a ball or an overhead shot), that is what I would like to know.

    Reply
    • April 3, 2019 at 5:50 am
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      That would be interesting to know, but I don’t have any way of knowing that stat. I found the information for the article, i.e. 30-40 mph from an article I read. If you do find out, let me know and I will update the article.

      The main point is to inform readers/players that the ball can come at players at the NVZ very fast. I am surprised at how many people do not wear eye protection which I recommend each time I instruct people about pickleball. Thanks for reading the blog!

      Reply
  • May 7, 2019 at 2:33 pm
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    Just started playing and the game seemed slow. Now I know why. When we play racquetball it is traveling between 120-180 mph.

    Reply
    • May 7, 2019 at 6:43 pm
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      When a paddle or a racquet has strings and a harder ball, then it will travel faster. Keep in mind, however that when two people are facing across the net in pickleball and they are volleying back and forth, the game can be pretty quick. The main idea is to defeat the opponents’ reaction time.

      Reply

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