Indoor Versus Outdoor Pickleball

One of the most enjoyable qualities of pickleball is that it’s a sport that can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors. Read on to learn about the differences and similarities of indoor and outdoor pickleball play.

Some players may insist on playing inside, while others might prefer being outside. We love that in a northern climate you can play all summer long and then when the snow falls you can head indoors. Pickleball year round! Regardless of preference, any pickleballer that wants to improve should learn to play in both situations as it is a slightly different game indoors vs outdoors. Here are a few key factors to take into account when playing in either setting:

1) The Weather: Wind is usually the biggest challenge to overcome when playing outside, so you must adjust your shots accordingly. Take note of which way the wind is blowing before beginning play. If it's at your back, it is easy to hit shots long and beyond the baseline. A crosswind can be equally tricky. It’s important to tweak the strength in your swings when playing with or against the wind and be particularly careful when using lob shots. The sunlight can also be a challenge, and if you lose a ball in the glare it’s always a safe bet to let it bounce or in doubles let your partner take the shot. Although the weather is not a factor indoors, you should consider the challenges that might arise with lower ceilings, walls, and more on-court noise. Generally, each indoor court has its own set of house rules but we've typically seen points replayed when the ball hits an object like a basketball hoop or light.

2) The Pickleball: There are clear-cut differences between outdoor and indoor pickleballs, and most of the pickleball manufacturers create both variations. Balls designed for outside are heavier with harder plastic and smaller holes. These features allow for increased durability, wind resistance, and bounce. In contrast, indoor balls have softer and lighter plastic with larger holes to provide more accurate shots and a better bounce on indoor surfaces. Before you choose where to play, be sure you are using the correct pickleballs to maximize your performance. At Amazin' Aces, we are working to develop our own cutting-edge pickleball. We'll keep you posted when it launches.

3) The Surface: One reason pickleballs are designed so differently for indoor and outdoor climates is because of the playing surface. When playing outside the ball tends to bounce lower and move faster so be ready to react more quickly and bend your knees to get a good angle on your returns. When inside, be prepared for a slower moving ball which will create longer rallies as well as shots that travel further due to no wind and a smoother surface.

Despite differences between indoor and outdoor pickleball play, many factors remain the same:

Pickleball Court Dimensions: The pickleball court is 20 feet wide by 44 feet long. This is the case regardless of indoor or outdoor play. If you're playing in a gym, we recommend purchasing court tape and putting it down so the lines are clearly marked. This can also be done on an outdoor converted tennis court. The same court dimensions apply to both singles and doubles play. 

Net Height: Net height is the same indoors and out. The net should be 36 inches at the sideline (post) and 34 inches at the center.

Rules: The game and rules are the same whether played indoors or outdoors. 

It’s clear that there can be a learning curve when adjusting from one playing environment to the other. Wind, sunlight, low hanging lights or basketball hoops... there can be variation from court to court. What’s important is feeling comfortable both indoors and out and subtly changing your game to adapt to both situations. Which setting do you prefer to play in and why? Have you faced any challenges with either? Leave a comment below and let us know!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published