7 Best Differences Between Indoor And Outdoor Pickleball

As a paddle sport, pickleball combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. It is simple to learn and can be played indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference.

However, before you get ready to play, you should keep in mind that there are a few differences between each sport.

7 Best Differences Between Indoor And Outdoor Pickleball

We’ll be looking at what you should remember when choosing your environment.

In this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at seven of the biggest differences we’ve found between indoor and outdoor pickleball.

From the type of equipment you need to the court itself, there are a number of issues you need to consider when you’re playing pickleball(see also: What Is A Pickleball Caddy?). 

1. Type Of Pickleballs

You may not realize that when playing pickleball, the type of ball differs depending on where you play.

Indoor and outdoor pickleballs are made differently and have their own designs to ensure you get the best results when playing.

Let’s take a look at indoor pickleballs. Indoor pickleballs are made of a softer plastic, and they have fewer holes. They are typically larger holes than outdoor balls and may only have a maximum of 26.

Made of a softer plastic, they have more drag and are more challenging to slam. 

Despite being made from a softer plastic, they are more durable, and there are more texture variations between them.

When looking at them, they appear smaller than outdoor pickleballs and are lighter as you don’t need to worry about the wind picking them up while in motion.

Outdoor pickleballs are made of smooth plastic and have a specific number of 40 holes. The balls are heavier, so they can withstand the wind more.

Due to their weight, they’re also faster and much harder to control. You can hit them harder, they are easier to slam, and they have less drag than indoor pickleballs. 

However, one main issue with outdoor pickleballs is that they aren’t as durable as their indoor counterparts. You shouldn’t worry too much if one breaks, as they can easily crack. 

2. Pickleball Paddles

Admittedly, the type of pickleball paddles you use isn’t different as such. Generally, pickleball paddles stay the same regardless of where you play.

However, the weight of a paddle can impact how you play the game.

If you’re playing pickleball indoors, you should use a lightweight paddle. These offer more control of your ball, and you won’t accidentally hurt someone if you hit them.

Using a heavier paddle could impact your hits, and you may end up hitting harder than you intended.

Meanwhile, outdoor pickleball players should ideally use a heavier paddle. Using a heavier paddle, you will have more power when you swing, which is necessary when combating the wind.

It also means you won’t use as much power with each hit, saving more energy than if you used a lightweight paddle.

Of course, when you choose a pickleball paddle, it should be up to your own discretion.

You may prefer a heavier paddle when indoors or a lightweight paddle while outside. Choose the one that feels more comfortable for you.

3. The Shoes You Wear

When you’re deciding on the type of shoes you should wear when you play, you should pick one which is more comfortable on the surface you’re playing on.

While many people may not expect this to impact their performance, you should choose different shoes depending on where you play.

Indoor courts tend to be on hardwood or smooth composite surfaces.

The soles of these shoes are designed differently. These are designed to ensure you can grip the court, as you will be playing on a smoother surface than on an outdoor court, which requires more traction.

On outdoor courts, you will be playing on a rougher surface. As mentioned before, the soles are designed differently, and the outdoor sole needs to be heavier.

However, you may find that some manufacturers will work on a combination shoe to make it easier for you to wear the same shoes on both courts.

4. Weather

When you’re playing pickleball, you must consider the weather before playing. Naturally, the weather can impact the way you play. Playing indoors doesn’t have the same issue.

Indoor pickleball is played in controlled temperatures and is typically cooler than when you play outside.

It also means you don’t have to worry about changes in the weather, such as a sudden rainstorm or a sudden gust of wind. When playing, you don’t need to worry about the glare of the sun getting into your eyes.

Overall, it should lead to a more precise game, making indoor pickleball popular for training and for beginners(see also: 5 Best Pickleball Training Aids For Beginners).

The weather may significantly impact outdoor pickleball. When it’s hot, you could be at risk of getting sunburnt or getting sun in your eyes. Ideally, you should wear sunglasses or a hat or visor when you’re playing outdoors.

Likewise, if it’s windy, you need to pay attention to the wind direction and strength, as you may need to hit the ball harder.

If you’re playing outdoors, you need to check the weather beforehand so you know when to expect a sudden rainstorm or any other changes.

Overall, outdoor pickleball can be more difficult to play, which is why it’s not always an ideal way to learn for beginners. 

5. Environment

When we think of the environment, we’re mostly referring to the court and not the weather. Both indoor and outdoor courts have different environments to play in.

For example, the court surfaces are different, which can impact the bounce of the ball. However, there are other circumstances that you need to consider.

Playing indoors can be confusing at first, especially if you’re using a multi-use court. Most gymnasiums have courts with lines for other sports, such as tennis and basketball.

7 Best Differences Between Indoor And Outdoor Pickleball (1)

This can make it difficult to tell where the boundary lines are. You also need to consider your surroundings as you play, as you can feel like it’s too close together when you’re inside.

Likewise, you need to keep an eye on walls and ceilings and consider how they will ricochet.

Outdoor courts tend to have more freedom for players to move around, but they still need to pay attention to boundary lines and fences.

Usually, you can hit the ball as high as you want, as there are no ceilings to get in your way.

You can also hit the ball with more power, as you don’t need to worry about ricocheting, and the ball itself is more durable to allow this. 

6. Noise

You may not consider this when you’re choosing where to play pickleball, but you may be surprised that noise can have a major impact on your game.

Indoor pickleball can be a lot noisier when compared to its outdoor counterpart. 

When playing indoors, the courts tend to echo loudly with each hit. It can be even louder, depending on the hall’s acoustics.

If you’re playing in a loud environment, it can be difficult to concentrate on the game.

Likewise, it can get too loud when you’re in a teaching environment, so providing the same level of attention can be hard unless the games stop. 

However, outdoor pickleball isn’t as loud. While it can still be disruptive if you’re playing in a residential court, it doesn’t echo to the same level.

Generally, it offers a better learning environment if there are any players with sensory issues that may overwhelm them in an indoor court. 

Ideally, outdoor pickleball is better for you if you don’t want to be in such a noisy environment. Indoor pickleball can feel overwhelming, and some players don’t appreciate a high level of noise when playing. 

7. Control

When playing indoors or outdoors, you may want to have more precise control over the ball.

While the above factors can impact your control over your ball, you also need to know how it affects you. 

For example, when playing indoors, you have more control over the way you hit your ball. The wind doesn’t impact your hits or carry your ball in a different direction.

This allows you to improve your techniques as you learn them, ensuring you better understand how they work. 

With outdoor pickleball, you don’t have as much control over the ball, and you need to make an effort to ensure it does as you want. Generally, you need to know what the weather will be like and how strong the wind is.

If you don’t hit the ball correctly, you may end up watching it blow away. This makes it more difficult for beginners to enjoy the game and may also be frustrating for pickleball training. 

Final Thoughts

Everyone has different preferences when playing indoor or outdoor pickleball. If you’re new to the sport, deciding can be even more challenging, as you may not know the difference.

With our guide’s help, we hope you better understand how indoor and outdoor play can affect your game.

Generally, indoor pickleball is considered easier, but outdoor pickleball is an equally fun way to enjoy this sport. 

Michael Walter
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