By: CJ Johnson | December 27, 2017 |

Rule Review: The Great Ball Controversy

Why do we have so many different balls at the pickleball courts?

Ball preference is always a hot topic! Last summer, I was listening to Chris from the Pickleball Show podcast interview one of the founders of pickleball. When asked about balls, he shared his dismay that there has always been a ball controversy.

Many people become accustomed to playing with a specific ball or color and find it challenging to change. Regardless of preference, there are a few rules for pickleballs.

Official pickleballs must be made of a smooth, durable material and as of January 2016 conform to the following specifications:

  1. Size-2.874 to 2.972 inches in diameter
  2. Weight-0.78 -0.935 ounces
  3. Bounce-30-34 inches
  4. Hardness-40-50 on a Durometer D scale at a temp of 75-80 degrees
  5. Holes-26 to 40 holes

Typically, the balls you see with the larger holes are used indoors. They are slightly slower than balls with smaller holes and may be used outdoors as well, especially for newer players or those who like a softer game.

Pickleballs come in different colors, and we have experimented with them all in an effort to find the colors that most players can see easily in sunlight, in four o’clock shadows, and against the indoor gym walls in the winter.

Outdoors we are playing with the Onix yellow or the dura 40. Indoors we are playing with the orange jugs. Here’s a list of approved balls as of 11/3/17 http://ifpickleball.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/List-of-Approved-Balls.pdf

What is your preferred ball? Put it in the comments below

Bev writes a weekly email blast for our pickleball club. She delivers the rules with clarity and a sense of humor. If you have a rules question post it in the comments below.


CJ Johnson

Hey there — I’m a professional three-sport athlete and coach who has spent my entire adult life earning a living from playing and coaching sports. Since I started coaching more than three decades ago, one thing has remained the same: My commitment to see students not as they are but as what they can become and to move heaven and earth to help them realize their untapped potential. You should know that when it comes to helping pickleball players over 50 live their best lives on and off the courts, I'm an expert. Good pickleball is not just technique; it's the mind and body working holistically. That's why I'm also a personal trainer and weight management specialist. When I’m chillin', you'll find me watching Star Trek with my husband John and our two fur babies, Shirley and Ralph. (Yes, Happy Days)