Every pickleball tournament is a bit different. The location, the court type, the weather, and other factors vary considerably. But another factor tends to change from tournament to tournament: the ball used for every match. Here’s your guide to game pickleballs.
There are a lot of paddles and balls being made for pickleball these days. When there is such a wide choice of pickleball ball brands, how do you choose the right one? Is there a list of balls that are officially approved and that are official pickleball balls?
Outdoor and indoor balls are approved based on wind resistance and curve specifications. Despite this, all approved balls are acceptable for indoor and outdoor matches. On the websites of both the USA Pickleball Association and the International Federation of Pickleball, there is a list of approved balls.
The Official Pickleball Ball Specifications
There are a few gray areas regarding the number of holes, the size, the weight, the bounce, and the hardness of the balls you will find. In either case, these factors depend on whether the ball is approved for indoor or outdoor use. Although you can use any approved ball indoors or outdoors, using the right ball for its purpose can provide advantages over using the wrong ball.
Official Ball Design
There are 26 to 40 circular holes outside the official pickleball balls. The holes’ spacing and ball design must meet official flight characteristics, which means the ball must maintain its stability and consistency in the return shot, the trajectory must be straight, and the velocity must be substantial. There must be a manufacturer’s or supplier’s name or logo on the ball, either printed or embossed.
The material usually has a yellow, green, or orange color. It is most common to see these colors. If different colors are used, the colors should always be bright since bright colors are easier to see in low light and high brightness.
You can find USAPA and IFP’s lists of approved balls on their websites. The tournament director will select an approved ball from this list when a Tournament Pickleballs is planned. Typically, the Franklin X-40 or Dura Fast 40 are the balls chosen because they have been used numerous times in the US Open Tournament Championship, so they are well-known brands.
Construction Of The Ball
The official pickleball balls manufacturer makes durable pickleball. It has a smooth surface without any texturing. A significant influence on the ball’s flight characteristics cannot be allowed. This includes textures on the ball’s cover and the ridges at the seam. The ball can have a slight rise at the hem, but it’s not allowed to impact the ball’s speed, spin, and return.
Balls That Are Not Approved
There are several pickleball balls available that USAPA does not sanction for use in Tournament Pickleballs, including the Jugs Pickleball. It is softer and rubberized than any other ball. Despite this, it is popular because it is a good beginner ball and lasts many years. Using the Onyx Pro Focus ball is also popular but unapproved. It is common for these balls to break at the seam after only a few rallies.
How Long Does A Pickleball Last?
Some balls are more durable than others and will last a bit longer. Some players report that they only played with a ball once before it started to crack. In other cases, the ball should handle between three and ten games. In reality, it is unpredictable. You can look out for some things that will tell you it is time to replace your pickleball ball:
- When you are playing with a hard outdoor ball, it suddenly becomes softer and loses some of its bounce in the process.
- Once it becomes more peaceful, you may notice that the ball starts an egging process. This means that it will bend to look like an egg if you play with it (you can also press on the ball to determine how hard it is and if it is egging), affecting how the ball flies and bounces.
- Once the ball becomes softer, you will not be able to hit the ball as hard as you used to, which changes how you can play. This is not good since it places more strain on the players.
- If you hit the ball when it is soft, you will also notice how it connects with the paddle feels wrong. You feel like you can’t even hit the ball; it could almost feel like you didn’t hit anything.
- When a ball cracks, blisters away, or even breaks in half at the seam, it is time to throw it out because it is now as old and useless as your old boots.
- If you are a competitive pickleball player, it is generally considered a good idea to change your ball after each match so that every new game is played with a new ball.
Outdoor pickleballs are made of smooth plastic, giving them a more complex and heavier body. They also feature 40 drilled holes. Their heavier construction gives them the ability to resist wind. … An outdoor pickleball will come off the paddle much quicker and more complicated than an indoor ball.
Most matches can be completed in just under an hour. If you’re in a tournament, take the number of teams and subtract one hour. If you’re playing in a game with nine teams, it should take about 8 hours for all the matches to be completed.
Pickleballs vary in terms of both quality and intended use. Outdoor pickleballs are rougher and made to withstand the hard surface of outdoor courts, while indoor pickleballs are generally softer and easier to control. High-quality pickleballs usually last longer and are made from a single piece of plastic or securely welded parts.
Though we don’t have exact stats, the Dura Fast 40 is the most popular for tournament play, though the Franklin X-40 also enjoys significant popularity.
Time and time again, the two names chosen to be played at the US Open Pickleball Championships are the Franklin X-40 and the Dura Fast 40. The Franklin X-40 was again selected as the official ball for the 2022 Minto US Open Pickleball Championship. If you want to play in Tournament Pickleballs, stick with reliable names. That way, you know you can’t go wrong.
Founder of BallSportsGear, Sports Enthusiast and Speaker.