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Unveiling the Anatomy of a Pickleball: A Comprehensive Look At What Indoor and Outdoor Pickleballs Look Like

In the world of pickleball, understanding the anatomy of a pickleball is crucial for both beginners and seasoned players alike. Whether you play indoors or outdoors, the specific characteristics of a pickleball can greatly impact your gameplay. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the details of what indoor and outdoor pickleballs look like, providing you with a deeper understanding of this popular sport and helping you make informed decisions when it comes to selecting the right equipment.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island. You typically play pickleball on a pickleball court or on a tennis court with a modified tennis net. Pickleball uses a paddle and a plastic ball, known as a pickleball. The sport can be played both indoors and outdoors, and it is suitable for people of all ages and skill levels.

what does a pickleball look like

What Materials Is a Pickleball Made Of?

Pickleball, a popular sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, is played with a unique paddle and a specialized ball. The materials used to make a pickleball can vary depending on the type of ball and the level of play.

Traditionally, pickleballs were made of rigid plastic. These balls are durable and can withstand heavy use, making them suitable for outdoor play. They have small holes on the surface, which help reduce wind resistance and allow for better control and spin. Plastic pickleballs are available in different colors, such as white, yellow, and orange, to enhance visibility during gameplay.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of indoor pickleball, leading to the development of a softer, quieter ball. Indoor pickleballs are made of a specialized type of plastic called polyethylene. This material provides a slightly softer feel and reduces noise when the ball hits the paddle or the court. The holes on these balls are smaller than traditional ones, further minimizing bounce and increasing control.

For professional and competitive play, pickleballs are made to strict specifications set by organizations like the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) and the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA). These balls must meet specific weight, diameter, and bounce requirements.

Indoor Pickleballs

Indoor pickleballs are specifically designed to be used on indoor courts. They are typically made of a softer plastic material, which allows for a slower and more controlled game. The color of indoor pickleballs is usually bright yellow, making them easier to see under indoor lighting conditions.

what does a pickleball look like

The size and weight of indoor pickleball balls also differ from outdoor pickleballs. Indoor pickleballs are slightly larger, measuring approximately 2.875 inches in diameter. They also weigh slightly less, typically around 0.81 ounces. The lighter weight of indoor pickleballs helps to reduce the impact on the indoor court surface and minimize noise during gameplay.

How Many Holes Does an Indoor Pickleball Have?

Indoor pickleball balls typically have 26 holes. These holes are evenly distributed across the surface of the pickleball and serve multiple purposes.

  • Firstly, the holes help to reduce wind resistance, allowing for smoother and more accurate shots.
  • Secondly, the holes create a unique flight pattern for the ball, making the game more challenging and dynamic.
  • Lastly, the holes also help to create a distinctive sound when the ball is struck, adding to the overall playing experience.

How Many Holes Does an Outdoor Pickleball Have?

Outdoor pickleball balls have 40 holes. The holes serve the same purposes as those on indoor pickleballs, reducing wind resistance, creating unique flight patterns, and producing a distinctive sound when struck.

outdoor pickleball - what does a pickleball look like

Outdoor pickleball balls are usually made of a harder, more durable material that will handle the harsh outdoor ground. A brand new ball will be the fastest wiffleball, as it will be the firmest.

Outdoor Pickleballs

Outdoor pickleballs, on the other hand, are designed to withstand the elements and the rougher surfaces of outdoor courts. They are usually made of a harder, more durable plastic material, which allows for faster gameplay. Outdoor pickleballs are often available in bright colors like orange or green, making them more visible against outdoor backgrounds.

Compared to indoor pickleball balls, outdoor pickleballs are slightly smaller and heavier in size. They have a diameter of approximately 2.875 and weigh around 0.88 ounces. The increased weight and smaller size of outdoor pickleballs help to counteract the effects of wind and maintain better control during outdoor gameplay.

The Core Pickleball ball is a great value.

Choosing the Right Pickleball Balls

When it comes to selecting the right pickleballs for your game, there are several factors to consider. The first is the type of court you will be playing on. If you primarily play indoors, it is recommended to use indoor pickleballs to optimize gameplay and prevent damage to the court surface.

On the other hand, if you play outdoors, it is essential to use outdoor pickleballs that can withstand the elements and provide better control on rougher surfaces. The brightly colored outdoor pickleballs also help with visibility against natural backgrounds.

Another factor to consider is your skill level. Beginners may find it easier to start with indoor pickleballs because they offer a slower, more controlled game. As you progress and become more comfortable with the sport, you can transition to using outdoor pickleballs for faster gameplay.

Finally, choosing pickleballs that meet the regulations set by organizations such as the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) or the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) is important. These organizations have specific guidelines regarding the size, weight, and materials used for pickleball balls in official tournaments and competitions.

Get Some Pickleball Balls

Here are some of the best pickleball balls to purchase.

Dura Fast 40

The Dura Fast 40 is a highly durable and widely used pickleball ball. It offers consistent performance and excellent bounce on different court surfaces. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor play, making it a versatile choice. You can purchase the Dura Fast 40 pickleball balls on the official website of Pickleball Central.

Onix Pure 2

The Onix Pure 2 is known for its exceptional playability and accuracy. With larger holes and a seamless design, it provides a true flight path and enhanced control. The ball’s durability is also commendable, making it a popular choice among players of all levels. You can find the Onix Pure 2 pickleball balls on the official website of Onix Sports.

Franklin X-40

The Franklin X-40 is another top-rated pickleball ball with reliable performance. It features a well-balanced design, ensuring consistent flight and bounce. The X-40 is USAPA-approved and suitable for both recreational and tournament play. To purchase Franklin X-40 pickleball balls, you can visit the official website of Franklin Sports.

You can get most pickleball balls on Amazon, too. Enjoy!


In conclusion, understanding the differences between indoor and outdoor pickleball balls is essential for selecting the right equipment for your game. Whether you play indoors or outdoors, choosing the appropriate pickleballs can enhance your gameplay and ensure a better experience on the court.

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