Contrary to other sports, pickleball doesn’t have a specific season. But, the pickleball balls are on the finicky side and have tendencies to break or bend out of shape during certain weather or environments.
So, do pickleball balls crack in the cold? Well, it depends on the type of ball, as well as a number of other factors such as the strength of striking, extensive use, and more. Pickleballs aren’t usually as flimsy as they seem to be, but they aren’t indestructible either.
In this article, we’ll be going through all the details of what makes up a pickleball and what it takes for it to crack. Without further chit-chat, let’s get into the information.
Do Pickleball Balls Crack in the Cold?
Honestly, it depends on the material of your pickleball balls. But before we go on directly answering this question, let us understand the differences between the two main types of pickleball balls- indoor and outdoor.
As for the material, outdoor balls tend to be heavier than indoor pickleball balls because they are made up of hard rigid plastics with a rough surface (such as polyethylene).
Outdoor pickleball balls have a higher chance of losing their quality. This is because they have a hard and rough outer surface due to their heavy asphalt material. They also frequently come into contact with cold winds in the winter and harmful sun rays (UV rays) in the summer. Both result in gradual wearing out of the material.
In simple words, the outdoor pickleball balls are more prone to wearing out and forming cracks than indoor balls.
That’s why outdoor pickleball balls can only last for less than ten matches on cold days and need frequent replacing every week in the winter season. So, what can you do to prevent your pickleball balls from cracking in winter?
You can wrap them in duct tape when not in use to keep them warm. You can also keep them in your pant pockets or in an insulating bag until you’re ready to play. Don’t ever leave your pickleball balls in a cold vehicle, garage, or simply outdoors in the cold season. Protect them and keep them warm to make them last longer.
How Long Does Pickleballs Last?
Whether your pickleball ball will last longer or not depends on a number of circumstances. The two kinds of pickleball balls have different longevity according to their materials, weight, sizes, etc.
Here’s how the two types of balls differ in durability –
The outdoor balls are made of smoother plastics, making them harder and with greater resistance to wind, essentially allowing them to last longer.
On the other hand, indoor balls are made of softer plastics, making them more suitable for indoor play.
Whereas the outdoor balls are harder, stronger, and can easily be cracked open, the indoor ones will wear out slowly.
Structure and Shape
There are numerous small holes on the outdoor pickleball balls, which allow faster and more hard-hitting shots. But, they are a bit more difficult to have control over during play.
The indoor pickleball balls are larger in size but have fewer holes drilled into them, so they won’t bounce too high or bend out of shape. Plus, the indoor balls wear out very slowly. First showing signs of softer areas then gradually resulting in longer rallies. They definitely offer better longevity than outdoor ones.
The longevity of each pickleball type is also dependent on other factors such as temperature or the player’s habits on the court and style of striking. A professional athlete’s pickleball ball will not last very long as regular and prolonged use will cause faster deterioration in durability.
Chances are, if you play on a hard outdoor court, the outdoor ball will last longer. Similarly, the indoor pickleball balls tend to wear out slower when they’re used inside. This is all because of the way each kind of pickleball ball is manufactured.
Can I Play Outdoor Pickleball in the Winter?
Picture this: you are standing outside in freezing weather as chilling winds waft by. You have ice and large piles of snow all around you, and the temperature is below 0 degrees. Wondering whether you can play pickleball with your friends and family in this teeth-chattering weather outdoors?
The answer is YES.
All you have to do is grab a shovel and clear up the snow covering your backyard or the ground of wherever you want to play. You can’t possibly get rid of all of it, but keep shoveling until the ground is suitable for a couple of people to move around.
If you don’t happen to have a helping hand around, or you simply don’t have the energy or resources to clear up the snow, you can simply put your skates on and play on the ice. So, in the coming winter, don’t be afraid to play pickleball on the ice with your ice skates on.
This way, you can make the most out of winter days instead of being stuffed inside an indoor club.
But make sure your pickleball paddle is made up of sturdy and hard material such as aluminum or graphite, and your outdoor pickleball balls are of hard rigid plastic. This will make it easier to make a hard hit despite the strong winds beating against you.
What Are Pickleball Balls?
If you’ve ever seen a Wiffle ball, you’ll notice that pickleball balls are very similar to it. To put it simply, pickleball balls are those round plastic balls with drilled holes (roughly around 25–40). Without them, you can’t really enjoy a pickleball match with your friends or family.
The most popular pickleball balls available in the market are generally constructed from hard plastics or softer, smooth plastics. These balls have holes drilled in them, which allow them to navigate or maneuver in the air with more stability. There are basically two types of pickleball – indoor and outdoor.
As suggested by their names, outdoor pickleball balls are more suitable for playing outside on a tennis court or a basketball court or just casually in your backyard on grass and your driveway. Most people prefer to play pickleball in indoor tennis clubs. But for that, you have to make a private group reservation beforehand.
Indoor pickleball balls are generally built using an injection-molding procedure, where the two halves of the ball get welded together to form one.
However, when it comes to outdoor pickleball, they are manufactured through a process called roto-molding. Due to this method of manufacturing, outdoor pickleball balls have higher durability and air resistance than indoor pickleball balls.
Differences between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball Balls
As we’ve already discussed, there are two basic types of pickleball balls: outdoor and indoor. Both types of pickleball balls are designed to be best suited for the environment and weather you are planning to play in.
Since they are manufactured according to their own purposes, they differ distinctively.
Outdoor Pickleball Balls
This type of pickleball ball is harder and oftentimes heavier. The material used for manufacturing these balls is plastic, making them smooth and easy to flow through in the air. It also has nearly 25 to 40 drilled holes.
These distinctive features ensure increased air resistance, bounce, and durability. It also allows the pickleball balls to be hit with a greater force because of less drag.
Outdoor pickleball balls are barely used for indoor purposes as they have a tendency to skip off from the ground. This results in high bounce tendencies, making them less suitable for indoor activities.
As the outdoor pickleball balls are heavier and stronger, getting accidentally hit by one will be more intense than any indoor pickleball balls.
Indoor Pickleball Balls
These ones tend to be softer, lighter, and less bouncy than the outdoor pickleball balls because they are made of soft plastics. The indoor pickleball balls have fewer drilled holes but are much larger.
You will find them easier to control but harder to hit because of the increased drag. As they are slightly smaller and lighter, they are more affected by the wind. But, this will not be a problem if the game is played indoors. Issues arise outdoors because of high drag due to wind.
When these pickleball balls start to wear out, the soft spots start to appear. Aside from this, they are highly durable and are nearly impossible to crack or split.
Indoor pickleball balls tend to last longer than outdoor pickleball balls in general. But regardless of their longevity, we recommend using each type according to their intended purpose.
Meaning using outdoor pickleball balls for playing outside and indoor ones for inside. This will ensure they do not wear out faster than they are intended to.
Do pickleball balls crack in the cold after all?
To sum it all up, yes, pickleball balls can crack in the cold if they’ve worn out for a while and have been hit at a high force. Out of the two types of pickleball balls, outdoor ones are the weakest and therefore have a higher chance of cracking open in comparison to indoor ones.
Despite their differences in durability, we still recommend using outdoor and indoor pickleball balls according to the environment they are manufactured for. They work best in their intended areas and, as a result, will wear out slower.
Do pickleball balls wear out?
Yes, all pickleball balls eventually wear out with time and usage. Their longevity is impacted by the material of the pickleball, how frequently they are used, and more. Check out our How Long Do Pickleballs Last? section for more details.
Can you play pickleball in the winter?
You can play pickleball during any season as long as your safety isn’t at risk.
Can you use indoor pickleball balls outdoor?
It’s highly discouraged to use indoor pickleball balls outdoors as it would cause them to wear out quicker or even break.
What do you wear to pickleball in cold weather?
Pickleball pants are a good option for playing in cold weather.
How often should you replace pickleball paddles?
Once a year if you play regularly.