Pickleball Balls come in all the colors of the rain bow. Originally based on the Whiffle Ball, you have now got a truck load of choice to choose from in a growing list of pickleball brands in the market namely TOP, Dura, Jugs, Onix and more and you also have a choice of foam and practice balls from Gamma.
You’ve got balls with big holes and balls with little holes and you have different weighted balls and to top it all off you have slightly different sized balls. – Oh yes, you also have balls for outdoor use (with smaller holes) and balls for indoor use (with bigger holes) but you can use either for indoors or outdoors.
With so many choices and variations where do you start?
When all is said and done, the choice of ball gets down to their intended use being indoor or outdoor so therefor there are just two categories to choose from:
Remembering that all balls can be used indoor or outdoor!
It is a little easier when you understand Balls a little more.
The considerations in ball design, weight and the composition of the material it is made of reflect both the surface they are likely to be played on and the possibility of wind or the lack of it. Balls perform differently when used outdoors on hard surfaces such as asphalt or concrete compared to indoors on surfaces such as floating wood floors or carpet. Wood floors and carpet absorb more energy, resulting in a much lower bounce compared to concrete or asphalt.
Outdoor balls are heavier and have 40 holes which are smaller holes and are designed to handle windy conditions compared to indoor balls that are lighter and have 26 holes that are larger and designed to be played in still air.
The durability and bounce characteristics of any ball is affected by a variety of conditions including the number of times it is hit and how hard it is hit, the surface upon which it is played, the temperature, sunlight/heat and wind conditions in which it is played, the material it is made of and the manufacturing process used to make it.
The outcome is that some playing conditions are really tough on some Pickleball Balls and some are more forgiving.
A balls legal bounce requirement as governed by the USAPA is that a ball must bounce less than 34 inches when dropped from a 78-inch height. The bounce height maximum is to preserve the tactical nature of the sport which rewards the patience and finesse required to succeed with a ball that has what is called this low bounce rate.
An outdoor ball is typically smoother and harder, is slightly heavier at 0.9 oz and has smaller holes. It is not affected by wind as much and comes off the paddle harder and faster and stays hit for longer which means they are a little more difficult to control but easier to hit hard. Rallies tend to be a little shorter and if you are struck by a firmly hit outdoor ball it hurts a little more than it would than with an indoor ball.
Indoor balls are lighter, softer and have larger holes than outdoor balls. They come off the paddle a little bit softer and are easier to control and are more difficult to hit hard. They are more forgiving to miss-hits because of their lighter weight and decreased pent up inertia. Rallies tend to last longer and getting hit hurts less than with an outdoor ball.
An Indoor balls durability and bounce characteristics are subject to the same influences as an outdoor ball however they tend to wear out by going soft, out of round or cracking. The ball is slightly lighter at 0.8 oz and slightly smaller.
So the choice in the Pickleball Balls that you use do not depend on the variety or colors available, it only depends on how you are going to use them. You know the what, the why, the how, the when and the where of your pickleball game and for that matter you also know the who, so choosing a pickleball ball to match your game is now pretty simple.
· Do you play outdoors or indoors
· Do you want a ball that is specific to outdoors or specific to indoors or do you want to play with a ball that has particular characteristics of one ball designed for the opposite environment from which you intend to use it.
It’s pretty simple now really when you think about it yes? After that, simply choose any color of the rain bow that floats your pickleball balls boat and in no time at all – you can be playing with your choice of ball.
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