Pickleballs: The most important equipment

Pickleballs: The most important equipment

ABP's CEO discusses how picking out a quality pickleball enhances game play.

Medically reviewed by Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, CPTFact checked by Rich Scherr

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America for good reason. It's fun, easy to learn, and can be played by people of all ages. But like all sports, a lot of your success depends on the quality of your equipment. A solid pickleball paddle can give more control over the ball, and the right kind of ball can affect your shots' speed, trajectory, and accuracy.

But not just any 'ole set of balls will do. Professional pickleball registry-certified pickleball coach Laurie Coyne advises players to look to the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) to determine which are approved for tournament play. According to the IFP, tournament-approved pickleball balls must meet certain size, weight, bounce, hardness, and durability standards.

While having some guidelines to follow helps, picking a ball is more than just getting the IFP's stamp of approval. Certified pickleball coach (and self-described "ball snob") Becky Schaefer says that the conditions of your court also play a huge role.

When looking for a set of quality pickleball balls, it’s important to first determine how you intend to use them, says Schaefer. You’ll want to choose a different set of balls depending on whether you’ll use them mostly for indoor or outdoor play. The type of pickleball ball you choose will also depend on what type of player you are—if you’re an occasional recreational player, you should be able to get away with any quality pickleball on the market. But if you’re a serious player who competes and plays at a specific venue, Schaefer recommends finding out what type of ball your venue uses so you can bring the same ball to help with consistency in your play.

As you can see, narrowing down the top pickleball balls may take some work. ABP Pickleball suggests Franklin x-40, Onix Durafast, Joola Heleus, and Diadem Power for hard court pickleball.

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