Pickleball is played with a small perforated ball made of hard plastic, weighing less than one ounce. You may expect it to travel very fast due to its size and weight, but surprisingly, it travels at only a third of the speed at which a tennis ball travels.
This makes it ideal for players of all ages because it’s easy to track and maneuver the ball. But how fast does a pickleball travel anyway?
On average, pickleball travels at speeds of up to 30 to 35 mph. However, depending on the power of the shot, it is possible for the ball to travel even faster. To improve your ball’s speed, you need to focus on strengthening your serving skill.
The ball used for playing pickleball is small and lightweight, and it has the ability to travel quite fast. However, much of its energy is absorbed by the solid paddles used by players to play this sport. When it comes to pickleball, your serves can make a big difference in the overall speed of your playing.
In this article, we will look at the factors that affect the speed of pickleball and how to increase the ball’s speed for more competitive play on the field.
So, let’s get started.
Why Does a Pickleball Travel So Slow?
The ball used to play pickleball is like a Wiffle ball, and it’s hollow on the inside. Moreover, it comes with multiple holes so the air can pass through it making it travel slowly. Since it is made of a polymer material, which absorbs less energy, it can only be hit with a certain amount of force.
Furthermore, the solid face of the paddle absorbs a lot of the ball’s energy, making it travel even slower. While these factors serve to decrease the pace of the game, making it enjoyable for people of all ages, pro players work on increasing the ball speed to have a competitive edge over their opponent.
Increasing the ball speed requires skill and can take some practice. Additionally, you need to be aware of the factors that affect the speed of a pickleball. Knowing whether your ball will travel faster or slower can be a big help when playing pickleball. By predicting the speed of the ball, you can adjust the angle of your shot and be ready to react on the court.
Factors that May Affect the Speed of a Pickleball
The speed of a pickleball is definitely affected by the swing speed of the serving player. Different types of pickleball balls can also vary in speed, with some being designed for indoor play and others for outdoor play. Indoor balls tend to be lighter and thinner, so they won’t travel as fast.
Similarly, outdoor balls are made of thicker plastic and smaller holes. The weight of these balls makes them come off the paddle faster.
Check out this article: Can You Use Indoor Pickleballs Outdoor?
Some other factors that affect the speed of a pickleball include;
When the wind travels at a speed of 15 to 20 mph, the pickleball can go in all sorts of crazy directions. It is not possible to predict the speed of the ball in these conditions, and while it makes the game more unpredictable, some people actually enjoy it.
However, pro pickleball players must learn to adapt to the wind if they want to win amidst windy conditions. This includes working on making their footwork more precise and watching the ball more intently as it travels in the air.
Read more about professional pickleball players here: Is Pickleball a Professional Sport?
Humidity is another factor that can make a pickleball ball travel slower than usual. This is because the humidity makes the air denser, which decreases the speed of the ball. So, if you are playing pickleball on a humid day, you’ll need to adjust your strategy to account for the slower speed of the ball.
Have you ever noticed that playing pickleball at higher altitudes can feel different? It may surprise you to learn that the air is thinner at higher altitudes, which means the ball can travel faster than usual.
Knowing that your ball will travel farther if you’re at an elevated ground, you will need to hit it with less power. Moreover, since the ball travels faster, you will have to pay extra attention and react more quickly than you may be used to.
How to Increase the Speed of Your Pickleball?
Increasing the speed of your ball in pickleball can definitely have a positive effect on your play. It can help you gain more control over your shots and make your opponents work harder to reach your ball.
One way to achieve this is to hit the ball hard enough. This involves paying attention to your footwork and using the right grip and stance. Make sure you’re properly balanced when you are about to swing your arm.
You can also increase the speed of your ball in pickleball by choosing the right type of paddle for your skill level. Different paddles have different weights and materials, which can affect the speed of your shots.
Must-read article: How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle?
Another way to increase the ball speed is to work on increasing the speed of your service. Improving your serve speed in pickleball can be easily done by swinging your paddle faster than you would normally do. It’s important to make sure you don’t overswing, as this will affect your accuracy and control. You should also make sure to stay in balance and keep your paddle arm in front of your body as you swing.
Read our in-depth article on how to serve here: How to Serve in Pickleball?
Secondly, it’s important to pay attention to your posture when you serve. Our arms and shoulders indeed play a vital role in creating that powerful shot. But remember that our legs can give us an extra boost of power and drive when using the paddle.
When you swing your paddle, bend your knees, lower yourself into a squatting position, and then back up as the ball makes contact with the paddle. This way, you can generate a greater level of power when hitting the ball, and your shots will have more control, accuracy, and speed.