By: CJ Johnson | August 15, 2018 |

Rule Review: Why All The Different Pickleballs?

Every player seems to have a preferred ball. While there are some differences, according to the rules there are a few things that all pickleballs have in common.

You may think it’s just a whiffle ball, but those yellow rounds meet very specific requirements. The rules dictate the size and weight with only narrow variances.

The ball must be molded from a durable material without any texture. The ball must fall within a hardness range measured on a Durometer D scale and must bounce 30 to 34 inches when dropped from a height of 78 inches onto a granite surface plate at an ambient temperature of 75 to 80 degrees. (I’m not making this up!)

And those holes. There must be between 26 and 40 of them, spaced appropriately. The bigger they are, the fewer there will be. The balls with the larger/fewer holes are customarily used for indoor play but any approved ball is acceptable for indoor or outdoor play.

Material, holes and other characteristics affect the trajectory and behavior of the ball. A tournament director will select the ball to be used at each event. A good player will be able to adjust his game slightly based on the ball being used.

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)