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Pickleballs Are Not the same as Whiffle Balls

by | Jul 7, 2022 | Pickleball

Pickleballs are similar to wiffleballs but an official USAPA Approved pickleball is not a wiffleball.

Do NOT Use These Wiffle Balls

While there isn’t much difference between an USA Pickleball officially approved ball and a wiffle ball, DO NOT USE the wiffle balls in the image below. They are too hard and travel too fast to be safe.

Wiffle Ball Baseballs Official Size (15 Pack) with Bonus ELC Drawstring Bag  

Page 14 of the official USA Pickleball Rule Book has pickleball ball specifications.

What is the difference between Indoor Pickleball Balls and Outdoor Pickleball Balls?

Indoor pickleball balls often have larger holes and fewer holes. Outdoor balls often have smaller holes and more holes.

Either indoor or outdoor balls may be used in either environments, but ball manufacturers recommend various balls based on different play surfaces.

Use this link to find a list of approved USA Pickleball Equipment

Official Pickleball Ball Design Specifications for 2022

Each ball must be contain between 26 and 40 round holes with equal and symmetrical spacing to maintain uniform flight characteristics. 

The ball’s surface must have a manufacturer’s or supplier’s name printed or embossed on the surface to ensure compliance

Who chooses the official Pickleball Tournament Ball?

“The Tournament Director will choose the tournament ball. The ball selected for play in any USA PICKLEBALL-sanctioned tournament must be named on the official list of approved balls posted on the USA PICKLEBALL website: USA Pickleball.org.”

What is the pickleball ball made of?

Most pickleballs are made of Durable PE Plastic or Polypropylene Plastic. They must have a smooth surface wtih no texturing or contouring. 

The balls must be a single, solid color.

Approved balls are allowed to have identification markings such as the manufacturer’s name or logo. 

Official balls are allowed to have a slight seam or ridge as long as it does not impact flight characteristics. 

Franklin Sports Outdoor Pickleballs - X-40 Pickleball Balls - USA Pickleball (USAPA) Approved - 12 Pack Outside Pickleballs - Optic Yellow - US Open Ball

Summary:

For recreational play, practice, or beginners, I don’t find the difference between a standard wiffleball and an official pickleball to impact the quality of game play. 

I wouldn’t stress out about finding a USA Pickleball approved ball unless I was planning on playing in an official tournament.