Ball specifications in pickleball game
If you ever played wiffle ball as a kid (or as an adult), you’ll be familiar with the structure of a pickleball. However, the USAPA has detailed specifications for what balls can be used to play the game. The balls are to be made of a durable material and have a smooth surface – no textures allowed. You might see a ridge where the mold is fitted together, but it shouldn’t be so significant that it disrupts play.
The balls are to be between 2.874 inches and 2.972 inches in diameter. Official balls will weigh between .78 and .935 ounces. When dropped from a height of 78 inches, they are to bounce up from the surface to a height between 30 and 34 inches. Like a wiffle ball, pickleballs have holes, but no fewer than 26 and no more than 40. You’ll find smaller holes in a ball used for the outdoor play, and this is to minimize the effect wind will have on it.
The ball shall be made of a durable material molded with a smooth surface and free of texturing. The ball will be one uniform color, except for identification markings. The ball may have a slight ridge at the seam, as long as it does not significantly impact the ball’s flight characteristics.
The ball shall be 2.87 inches (7.29 cm) to 2.97 inches (7.54 cm) in diameter. The maximum out-of-round diameter variance shall not be greater than +/-0.020 inch (0.51 mm).
The ball shall weigh between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces (22.1 and 26.5 grams).
The ball shall have a bounce of 30 to 34 inches (76.2 to 86.4 cm) to the top of the ball when dropped from a height of 78 inches (198.1 cm) onto a granite surface plate that is a minimum of 12 inches (30.5 cm) by 12 inches (30.5 cm) by 4 inches (10.2 cm). The test is to be performed at an ambient temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F (24 to 27 degrees C).
The ball shall have a hardness of 40 to 50 on a Durometer D scale at an ambient temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F (24 to 27 degrees C).
The ball shall have a minimum of 26 to a maximum of 40 circular holes, with spacing of the holes and overall design of the ball conforming to flight characteristics. The ball must have a manufacturer’s or supplier’s name or logo printed or embossed on it.
The tournament director will choose the tournament ball. The ball selected for play in any USAPA- or IFP-sanctioned tournament must be named on the official list of approved balls posted on the USAPA and IFP.