What is a Pickleball Made of – Expert Views

If you love to play pickleball, you are certainly aware of how much enjoyment and excitement it can bring to your life. But have you ever thought about what it is about this sport that makes it so distinctive and enjoyable? The ball itself has the answer. Pickleball is more than simply a plastic ball with holes. It is a sophisticated and interesting object composed of several components that work together to provide the ideal mix of performance, durability, and consistency.

what is a pickleball made of?
what is a pickleball made of?

In this article, I’ll discuss the history of pickleball, material composition, pickleball longevity, and how they can affect your game and enjoyment. Whether you are a novice or a professional player, you will learn something new and valuable that will help you develop your skills and enjoy the sport more. Read on to learn what is a pickleball made of and why it matters to know.

How Pickleballs Are Born: The History

Pickleball was founded in 1965 by three friends who wanted to play a new game that their families could enjoy. They had a plastic ball with holes in it, ping-pong paddles, and a badminton court. The term “pickleball” was inspired by one of the owners’ dogs, Pickles, who enjoyed chasing the ball.

Pickleball started with a Wiffle ball, a lightweight plastic ball with eight oblong holes designed for backyard baseball. Wiffle balls are produced from low-density polyethylene, a thermoplastic that can be molded and recycled.

How pickleballs are born history

However, Wiffle balls were not suitable for pickleball because they were too light, soft, and prone to tearing and deformation. As pickleball gained popularity and competition, players and producers experimented with various materials, sizes, weights, and hole designs to create a more durable and consistent ball that could endure the power and pace of the game.

What is a Pickleball Made of? Material Composition of a Pickleball

Understanding what a pickleball is made out of is crucial for players looking for an ideal blend of playability and durability in their gaming equipment. Today, most pickleballs are made of high-quality materials that are stronger, harder, and more resistant to wear and tear than low-density polyethylene. Let’s take a closer look at each material;

  • High-Quality Plastic
High-Quality Plastic
High-Quality Plastic

The most significant component of a pickleball is the plastic which serves as its outer shell. The plastic is durable enough to resist the force of the paddle while being flexible enough to bounce and roll on the court. To avoid cracking and fading, the plastic is also resistant to wear and tear, temperature fluctuations, and UV radiation.

Polyethylene, a thermoplastic polymer that can be molded into numerous forms and colors, is the most common type of plastic used for pickleball. Polyethylene is also recyclable and eco-friendly.

  • Polymer Composite
Polymer Composite
Polymer Composite

Manufacturers frequently use a polymer composite with plastic to improve its performance and durability. A polymer composite is a material made up of two or more different elements that are mixed to generate a new material with better properties. Therefore, adding a polymer composite can affect the ball’s hardness, weight, bounce, and sound, as well as its resistance to deformation and abrasion.

  • Additives

Adding different additives to the mixture is another method to change the plastic’s characteristics and looks. Additives are chemicals that are added to plastic in minute amounts to produce a specific effect, such as coloring, stabilization, lubrication, or protection. Antioxidants can be added to prevent the plastic from oxidizing and deteriorating over time.

  • Cork Core (Optional)
Cork Core
Cork Core

Some pickleballs include a cork core inside the plastic shell, which is similar to tennis balls. A cork core is a spherical piece of cork covered in synthetic fibers and protected by a light layer of rubber. The cork core adds bounce and cushioning to the ball, as well as a softer feel and sound. On the other hand, a cork core adds weight and cost to the ball and might impact its longevity and cohesion.

  • Seam Tape
Seam Tape
Seam Tape

The seam tape that is used to attach the two plastic shell halves together is the final element of a pickleball. The seam tape is a small strip of adhesive tape put along the ridge where the two halves meet to seal the gap and prevent the ball from breaking or leaking. The seam tape is strong enough to hold the ball together while being smooth enough not to interfere with the ball’s flight and bounce.

The Making of Pickleball: Behind the scene

The Making of Pickleball

Pickleballs are manufactured using injection molding, which requires heating the plastic resin, putting it into a mold, and cooling it until it forms the ball. The mold is divided into two sections, one with holes and one without holes. The holes are made by punching the plastic using a hole punch.

The holes in a pickleball serve two functions: first, they lessen the weight of the ball and affect its flight while second, the holes cause drag, which slows the ball down and makes it more vulnerable to wind and spin.

Indoor vs. Outdoor: A Tale of Two Pickleballs

One of the most significant differences between pickleballs is whether they are intended for indoor or outdoor use. Indoor and outdoor pickleballs have unique characteristics that make them appropriate for a variety of environments and preferences.

Indoor pickleballs are softer, lighter, and more reserved than outside pickleballs. They feature bigger, fewer holes, resulting in less drag and greater bounce. Indoor balls generally have 26 holes. They are most suited for use on smooth and hard surfaces such as wood, tile, or concrete. They’re also great for playing in cooler, calmer weather because they’re less influenced by wind and temperature. Indoor pickleballs are often green, yellow, or white.

Outdoor and Indoor
Outdoor and Indoor

Outdoor pickleballs are tougher, heavier, and more audible than indoor pickleballs. They have smaller but heavier holes, resulting in greater drag and less bounce. Generally, outdoor pickleball has 40 holes and sometimes 36. They’re great for playing on tough and soft terrain like asphalt, grass, or sand. They are also perfect for playing in warmer and windier conditions since they are more wind and temperature-resistant. Outdoor pickleballs are often orange, bright, or pink.

Some pickleballs, like the Onix Fuse G2 and the Franklin X-40, are meant to be used both indoors and outdoors. These pickleballs offer a balanced hole pattern and a medium hardness, weight, and noise level. They are also flexible and adaptable.

How Long Will a Pickleball Last?

How long do pickleball last
How long do pickleball last

The longevity of a pickleball relies on a variety of factors, including the material’s quality and composition, the frequency and intensity of usage, the kind and condition of the court, the weather and temperature, and the players’ style and talent. However, depending on a variety of conditions, a pickleball might span anywhere from a few hours to a few months. Pickleballs can wear out in a variety of ways, including cracking, splitting, denting, deforming, fading, or losing bounce.


Pickleball is a skill, strategy, and equipment-required sport. The pickleball itself, which can vary in material, size, weight, color, and hole design, is one of the most important pieces of equipment. The type of pickleball you use can influence your game in a variety of ways, including speed, spin, bounce, and noise. You may choose a different sort of pickleball according to your skill level, court surface, and weather conditions. There is a pickleball for everyone, whether you play indoors or outdoors, recreationally or competitively. Pickleball is a sport that everyone, at any age, can enjoy. All you need is a pickleball, a paddle, and a net. Have fun and keep playing!


Can you play pickleball with a different ball?

While regulated pickleballs are suggested for official play, recreational games may allow for more flexibility. However, using the right ball assures fair play and consistent performance on the court.

Are there different types of pickleballs for beginners and advanced players?

Yes, certain pickleballs are particularly built for beginners, with a wider and more forgiving sweet spot. Advanced players may select balls with greater precision and responsiveness.

Can you use tennis balls for pickleball?

Tennis balls can be used for informal play, but they should not be used for official pickleball games. Pickleballs differ from tennis balls in several ways, including size, weight, and bounce.

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