Pickleball is the second fastest-growing sport in the world. Popular with people of all ages, it is played in a similar way to Tennis and Badminton. What makes Pickleball unique is its use of a hollow polymer ball that is heavier than a tennis ball and requires much more force to hit further, decreasing the speed that the ball travels and therefore decreasing the pace of the game.
A Pickleball travels between 25mph and 40mph, about a third of the speed of a tennis ball. This speed is achieved because of the lightweight hollow polymer construction of the ball but is decreased by the use of solid paddles that absorbs much of the ball’s energy.
But just because a Pickleball travels slower than a tennis ball doesn’t make it a less demanding sport when played on a professional level. There are many factors that influence how fast a Pickleball travels, and you have the ability to increase the ball’s speed by improving your serving speed and adopting techniques used by professional Pickleball players to improve your competitiveness.
Why Does A Pickleball Travel So Slow?
A Pickleball has a relatively simple construction: it is made of a hard polymer and is hollow on the inside, with the shell of the ball being perforated by pencil-sized holes that allows air to pass through the ball when it is being hit. This design is meant to reduce the speed at which it travels during flight, reducing the pace of the game substantially and having a similar speed to a badminton ball.
Polymers have a low amount of energy absorption, and this limits the amount of force that can be applied to the ball. A Pickleball also has relatively poor aerodynamics, with the large frame of the ball increasing drag, along with the perforations through the frame, allowing air to become trapped and slowing the ball down.
The paddles used in Pickleball also play an important role. The paddles used are made from a hard material, such as plastic or wood, which absorbs a lot of the ball’s energy and limits the force that can be applied to the ball when hitting it hard. This further decreases the speed at which the game is played.
Pickleball is not meant to be a fast-paced sport, and this lack of speed in the ball can be advantageous to younger or older people looking for a relaxing physical activity that is not too demanding or puts a lot of strain on their bodies.
Does A Pickleball Travel Faster Than A Tennis Ball?
Tennis and Pickleball are played in a similar way. Both are played by hitting a ball back and forth over a raised net with paddles. The difference is that Tennis is a much more demanding sport, as the equipment used leads to a much faster game that is played over a larger court. Pickleball is a slower sport because it uses hard plastic or wood paddles and a ball that absorbs less energy than a tennis ball.
Tennis balls move around three times faster during play than Pickleballs. This is because a tennis ball is able to absorb much more energy from a tennis racket due to increased compression, as it is made of flexible rubber. A tennis racket is also designed to transfer as much energy as possible to the ball, allowing the ball to move extremely fast when a professional tennis player serves.
On the other hand, A Pickleball moves at between 25mph and 40mph. This makes Pickleball a much slower sport than Tennis, and therefore a smaller court is used with lower nets in order to compensate for the slower speed and forces players to play in a much different way compared to Tennis.
Although Tennis balls move faster than Pickleballs, that doesn’t make Tennis a superior or more challenging sport. One advantage that having a slower ball speed has is the fact that Pickleball can be enjoyed by people that have poor hand-eye coordination, such as the elderly or children.
How To Increase Pickleball Travel Speed
While Pickleball can be a relaxing sport, you may want to increase your ball speed to pose more of a challenge to your opponents. There are a few tips that you can implement in order to drastically improve your Pickleball skills.
Firstly, make sure that you have a compact swing when you hit the ball. Don’t follow through with your swing like you would in Tennis. Instead, swing the paddle with as much force as you can until it makes contact with the ball, then bring your hand back to a ready position. This will allow you to hit the ball faster, as well as more quickly, preparing you for the next swing.
Secondly, keep the paddle in front of your body and don’t hold it too far away in order to hit it quickly and have a faster reaction time. Thirdly, use your legs and core when you hit the ball. This will transfer more power to the ball when compared to simply using your arms. Fourthly, make sure to hold the paddle at the top of the handle to have a faster and more compact swing.
Lastly, make sure that you often practice with a sparring partner. Following these tips is important, but arguably it is more important to become familiar with your equipment and how your body moves. The only way to become better at Pickleball is to spend hours on the court. Casual players may benefit from spending a few sessions with a professional coach that will help them play even better.
While Pickleballs travel about three times as slowly as tennis balls during a game, it doesn’t make Pickleball any less challenging or entertaining. Pickleball has gained a large amount of popularity over the past few decades, as people enjoy the more relaxed and laid-back playing style. The speed of the ball itself contributes a great deal to this, and that makes it more enjoyable for the elderly.
Professional Pickleball is also increasingly popular, with discussions being had to insert it into the Olympic games in the future. It is a sport that will definitely become much larger over the next few years.