How To Select The Right Pickleball For Training Sessions

Selecting the right pickleballs for your training sessions can significantly impact your game. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, choosing the appropriate pickleball can enhance your performance and help you develop your skills more effectively. Here, we delve into the critical factors to consider when selecting pickleballs and provide expert recommendations to optimize your training experience.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Pickleballs

Playing Environment: Indoor vs. Outdoor Courts

Indoor Pickleballs: These balls are softer and have larger holes, making them ideal for gym floors and indoor courts. They offer less bounce and slower play, which can be beneficial for beginners as it allows for longer rallies and better control.

Outdoor Pickleballs: Made with harder plastic and smaller holes, outdoor balls are designed to withstand windy conditions and hard court surfaces. They provide a heavier feel and greater durability, making them suitable for outdoor play.

Skill Level of Players

  • Beginners: Softer indoor balls are advantageous for beginners as they offer easier control and longer rallies, aiding in skill development.
  • Advanced Players: More experienced players may prefer harder balls that offer faster play and bounce, closely simulating competitive conditions.


Durability is a crucial factor, especially if you plan on using the balls frequently or in rough outdoor conditions. Durable balls ensure longevity and consistent performance, making them a worthwhile investment for regular players.


Consider the color of the balls, particularly if you play in various lighting conditions. Brightly colored balls are easier to see and can help players react more quickly during play, enhancing overall performance.

USAPA Approval

If you’re training for tournaments or official play, using balls approved by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) is essential. These balls meet specific performance and design standards, ensuring consistency and fairness in play.

Feedback and Feel

Different balls offer varying levels of feedback and feel upon impact. Some players may have preferences regarding how the ball feels off the paddle, which can influence control, spin, and power during play.

Price and Quantity

Consider your budget and the number of balls you’ll need for your training sessions. Buying in bulk can often save money, but ensure you’re investing in quality balls that meet your specific training needs.

Impact of Ball Hardness on the Game

Indoor Pickleballs

  • Softer Construction: Reduces bounce and speed, making it suitable for indoor surfaces like wooden gym floors or synthetic materials.
  • Longer Rallies: The decreased bounce and slower speed allow for longer rallies, requiring players to focus more on strategy and placement rather than power. This is particularly beneficial for beginners.

Outdoor Pickleballs

  • Harder Construction: Designed to withstand rough outdoor surfaces and elements like wind.
  • Faster Game: The increased hardness results in a faster game with higher bounce, making it more challenging for players to control and return shots. This encourages a more aggressive style of play with a greater emphasis on power and spin.

Can You Use Outdoor Pickleballs Indoors?

Yes, you can technically use outdoor pickleballs indoors, but it may not provide the optimal playing experience. Outdoor balls are harder with smaller holes to handle outdoor elements and rough surfaces. When used indoors, these balls tend to be faster and less controllable, making rallies shorter and the game more challenging, especially for beginners.

Indoor courts typically have smoother surfaces, and the lack of environmental factors like wind means that the characteristics of outdoor balls can result in a less enjoyable game indoors. The balls might bounce higher and move faster than indoor balls, potentially leading to a game that feels less controlled and strategic.

How to Choose the Best Pickleball for Your Playing Style

Assess Your Playing Style

  • Power Players: If you rely on power and speed, an outdoor ball might suit you even indoors, as its hardness facilitates faster play and higher bounce, allowing for powerful serves and smashes.
  • Control and Precision Players: Players who focus on control, placement, and strategy may prefer the characteristics of indoor balls due to their softer feel and reduced bounce, enhancing precision and finesse shots.

Consider Ball Durability

  • Frequent Players: Look for balls known for their durability, especially if you play often or outdoors. Outdoor balls generally offer enhanced durability, which might be beneficial even for indoor players who play frequently.

Evaluate Ball Performance

  • Spin Preference: Some balls are better suited for players who like to impart spin on their shots. Generally, harder balls (outdoor) provide a better surface for generating spin.
  • Bounce Preferences: Consider how much bounce you prefer in your game. Higher bounce balls (outdoor) can lead to a faster-paced game, while lower bounce balls (indoor) might suit a game based on strategy and placement.


  • Try Different Balls: Ultimately, the best way to find the perfect ball for your playing style is through personal experience. Experiment with different types of balls in various conditions to see what complements your strengths and preferences the best.

Recommended Pickleballs for Training Sessions

Below are a few top recommendations from reputable brands, each known for their quality and performance in the pickleball community:

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Franklin X-40 Performance

Overview: The Franklin X-40 Performance pickleball is a top choice for players of all levels, offering a fine balance between durability and playability. It’s suitable for outdoor play but is versatile enough for players who occasionally play indoors.

Best For: Competitive players looking for a ball that performs consistently across a wide range of conditions, offering a good bounce and flight path.

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Onix Dura Fast 40

Overview: The Dura Fast 40 is a classic choice for outdoor play, known for its durability and consistent performance in various weather conditions. It’s designed to withstand the rough surfaces of outdoor courts and is a popular choice in tournaments.

Best For: Players looking for a ball that offers a good balance of bounce and hardness, suitable for competitive play and those who enjoy a fast-paced game.

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Onix Fuse

Overview: The Onix Fuse balls are designed for both indoor and outdoor play, offering a softer feel that enhances control without sacrificing durability.

Best For: Players who play in both environments and seek a versatile ball that offers great control for strategic shot placement.

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Selkirk Pro S1 Ball

Overview: The Selkirk PRO S1 is designed for optimal outdoor performance, featuring a durable construction that ensures consistent play and longevity.

Best For: Competitive and advanced players who require a ball that can keep up with the demands of tournament play and rigorous practice sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs?

Answer: Indoor pickleballs are softer with larger holes, providing less bounce and slower play, which is ideal for gym floors and indoor courts. Outdoor pickleballs are harder with smaller holes, designed to withstand wind and rough surfaces, offering a heavier feel and more durability.

Q. Can beginners use outdoor pickleballs?

Answer: While beginners can use outdoor pickleballs, they might find indoor balls more beneficial due to their softer construction, which allows for better control and longer rallies, aiding in skill development.

Q. How do I know if a pickleball is USAPA approved?

Answer: USAPA-approved pickleballs will have a certification mark indicating they meet specific performance and design standards. Check the packaging or product description for this certification.

Q. Why is visibility important in pickleball?

Answer: Visibility is crucial as it helps players see the ball clearly in various lighting conditions, enabling quicker reactions and better gameplay. Brightly colored balls are generally easier to see.

Q. Is it worth buying pickleballs in bulk?

Answer: Yes, buying pickleballs in bulk can save money, especially if you play frequently. Ensure that the balls you purchase are of high quality and meet your specific training needs.

By considering these factors and recommendations, you can select the best pickleballs for your training sessions, enhancing your gameplay and skill development. Happy playing!

For more detailed information on pickleballs, visit our comprehensive guide on selecting pickleballs.

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Written by Billy Pickles

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