Pickleball Vs Wiffle Ball: 10 Differences

Pickleball and Wiffleball are two popular paddle sports that have gained immense popularity in recent years. While both games are played with plastic balls with holes in them, there are subtle differences that set them apart. 

The most notable difference between the two lies in the focus of the ball. Pickleball balls are designed to bounce off the ground and make contact with a paddle, while Wiffle Ball balls are designed for curved throws. 

Another difference is the number of holes and surface area. Pickleball balls have fewer holes (26-40) and a larger surface area, making them heavier than Wiffle Ball balls. On the other hand, Wiffle Ball balls have larger holes (18-26) and less surface area, making them lighter.

It is important for players to be aware of these differences, as using a Wiffle Ball ball for pickleball or vice versa can significantly affect the game. 

While both games cater to players of all skill levels and are played with plastic balls, pickleball balls are slightly lighter and brighter in color. Additionally, pickleball is played with paddles, while Wiffle Ball is played with bats. 

Despite the similarities, there are specific ways in which pickleball and Wiffleball relate and differ from each other. In fact, pickleball is often played using a ball that looks like a Wiffleball, but they are not the same thing. 

In this article, I will explore the Pickleball Vs Wiffle Ball to help you better understand which game suits your interests and skill level.

Pickleball Vs Wiffle Ball

Pickleball and Wiffle Ball are two popular paddle and ball games that are often confused with each other. While they share some similarities, there are subtle differences that distinguish them from each other.

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Differences between Pickleball Balls and Wiffle Balls

Pickleball balls must meet specific requirements set by the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA) and International Federation of Pickleball (IFP). These requirements include weight, diameter, and number of round holes. 

Tournament games sanctioned by these associations must use pre-approved balls. Additionally, indoor and outdoor pickleball balls differ in their hole sizes, weight, and composition. 

Outdoor pickleballs come in three distinct weights and sizes, and the TOP and Dura Outdoor Pickleballs are favored by high-level competition players.

Curving Ability of Wiffle Ball

On the other hand, the Wiffle ball is hollow, lightweight, and made of durable plastic with eight oblong holes. These holes are evenly distributed across the surface of the ball. Unlike pickleball balls, the wind affects Wiffle balls due to their design. 

The pitching speed and spin applied determine a Wiffle ball’s trajectory, and the ball’s curving ability is a significant factor in the game’s strategy.

Surface Area and Weight of The Ball

In terms of surface area and weight, pickleball balls are slightly heavier and have a smaller surface area than Wiffle balls. 

The smaller surface area of the pickleball ball makes it easier to control during play. The colors and visibility of pickleball balls are also different from Wiffle balls. Pickleball balls come in bright colors like yellow, orange, and green, while Wiffle balls are typically white. 

The bright colors of pickleball balls help players see them better, while the white color of Wiffle balls provides a visual contrast against the green grass.

Origin of Pickleball ball

Pickleball, a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. 

According to legend, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum created the game when they couldn’t find the equipment to play badminton. They improvised with some paddles and a perforated plastic ball, and the game of pickleball was born. 

The origin of the name “pickleball” is disputed, but some say it was named after Pritchard’s dog, Pickles, who would chase the ball.

Specifications of Pickleball ball

Pickleballs are similar in structure to wiffle balls, which are hollow, lightweight, and durable plastic balls with oblong holes. However, pickleballs have a specific set of guidelines established by the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA) for their material and surface.

The diameter of a pickleball must be between 2.874 and 2.972 inches, and official balls weigh between .78 and .935 ounces. Pickleballs must bounce up to a height between 30 and 34 inches when dropped from a height of 78 inches. Pickleballs have between 26 and 40 holes, with outdoor balls having smaller holes to minimize the effect of wind.

Differences Between Indoor And Outdoor Pickleball Balls

Indoor and outdoor pickleballs differ in weight, plastic composition, and hole sizes. Indoor balls are lighter and have larger holes, making them slower and easier to control in a smaller indoor court. 

Outdoor balls are heavier and have smaller holes, making them more resistant to wind and faster on larger outdoor courts. High-level competition players prefer outdoor pickleballs with a range of hole sizes and a more robust material for speedier play.

The USAPA maintains an approved list of balls for sanctioned tournaments, which must meet specific criteria for quality and performance. Only balls on the approved list may be used in USAPA-sanctioned events.

Specifications of Wiffle Ball

The Wiffle Ball, which was first introduced in 1953, also has a unique design that allows pitchers to throw a wide range of curveballs and risers. The perforated half of the Wiffle Ball has eight 0.75-inch holes, while the non-perforated half has none. The ball is 1/8 inch thick and made of durable plastic.

Playability of Pickleball Balls and Wiffle Balls

Flight and Trajectory of Pickleball Ball:

Pickleball is a popular racquet sport played with a hard paddle and a small plastic ball with holes. The flight and trajectory of the Pickleball ball depend on several factors, including the force applied, the angle of the paddle, and the spin given to the ball.

When a player strikes the ball, the force applied to the ball determines the speed and trajectory of the ball. The angle of the paddle used to hit the ball can also influence the trajectory. 

For example, a flat hit with the paddle parallel to the ground will produce a straight shot, while a hit with a vertical paddle will produce a high-arching shot.

Spin is also an important factor in the flight and trajectory of the Pickleball ball. Topspin and backspin can cause the ball to drop or rise, respectively, and can also affect the speed and direction of the ball.

The wind can also affect the flight and trajectory of the Pickleball ball. A headwind can slow down the ball, while a tailwind can increase the speed of the ball. Crosswinds can cause the ball to move sideways and make it harder to predict its trajectory.

Overall, the flight and trajectory of the Pickleball ball depend on several factors, including the force applied, the angle of the paddle, the spin given to the ball, and the wind conditions.

Wind Impact on Wiffle Ball:

Wiffle ball is a popular backyard game played with a lightweight plastic ball with holes. The wind can have a significant impact on the flight and trajectory of the Wiffle ball.

A headwind can slow down the ball, making it easier to catch. A tailwind can increase the speed of the ball, making it harder to catch. Crosswinds can cause the ball to move sideways, making it harder to predict its trajectory.

The size and weight of the Wiffle ball also make it more susceptible to wind impact. The holes in the ball allow the wind to pass through, causing the ball to wobble and change direction.

Players can use the wind to their advantage by adjusting their throwing technique. For example, throwing a pitch with a tailwind can make it harder for the batter to hit, while throwing a pitch with a headwind can make it easier for the batter to hit.

Effects of Holes on Wiffle Ball Trajectory:

The holes in the Wiffle ball also have a significant impact on its trajectory. The holes reduce the weight of the ball, making it more susceptible to wind impact and allowing it to move more unpredictably.

The holes can also cause the ball to change direction more quickly, making it harder for batters to hit. Pitchers can use the holes to their advantage by throwing pitches with different spins and angles, making it harder for batters to predict the trajectory of the ball.

Overall, the holes in the Wiffle ball play a significant role in its flight and trajectory, making it a unique and challenging game to play.

Range of Throws Available in Wiffle Ball:

Wiffle ball offers a wide range of throwing techniques, including fastballs, curveballs, and sliders. The lightweight nature of the ball and the holes in it make it easier to throw different types of pitches.

A fastball in Wiffle ball can reach speeds of up to 80 miles per hour, making it a challenging pitch for batters to hit. Curveballs and sliders can also be thrown effectively, with the holes in the ball causing the ball to move unpredictably.

Pitchers can also use different grips on the ball to create different pitches. For example, a four-seam grip can produce a straight fastball, while a two-seam grip can produce a sinking fastball.

Frequently Asked Questions: Pickleball Vs Wiffle Ball

What are the differences between Pickleball Balls and Wiffle Balls?

Pickleball balls are specifically designed for the sport of Pickleball, while Wiffle balls were originally designed for backyard games. Pickleball balls are larger, denser, and heavier than Wiffle balls, which allows for more control and spin during play.

How many holes do Pickleball Balls and Wiffle Balls have?

Pickleball balls have precisely 40 holes, while Wiffle balls can have anywhere from 8 to 32 holes, depending on the model.

How do the colors of Pickleball Balls and Wiffle Balls differ?

Most Pickleball balls are yellow, although some brands produce white, orange, or other colored balls. Wiffle balls are typically white or orange.

Can Wiffle Balls be used for playing Pickleball?

Technically, yes, but Wiffle balls are not designed to meet the specific requirements of Pickleball gameplay, and may not perform as well as Pickleball balls.

What is the difference in weight between Pickleball Balls and Wiffle Balls?

Pickleball balls weigh between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces, while Wiffle balls weigh between 0.32 and 0.5 ounces.

Do Pickleball Balls curve during play?

Pickleball balls can curve during play due to their aerodynamic properties, but the amount of curve is typically minimal compared to other sports like baseball or softball.

What are the specifications for Pickleball Balls?

According to the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP), a Pickleball ball must have a diameter between 2.874 and 2.972 inches, weigh between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces, and have precisely 40 circular holes that are uniformly distributed.

What are the approved balls for sanctioned tournaments by USAP and IFP?

The USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) and IFP (International Federation of Pickleball) have approved a number of Pickleball ball brands for use in sanctioned tournaments, including Onix, Dura, Franklin, and Engage.

How do the holes in Wiffle Balls affect their flight trajectory?

The number and placement of holes in a Wiffle ball can affect its flight trajectory, speed, and spin. More holes generally make the ball slower and more susceptible to wind, while fewer holes increase speed and stability.

What are the different throws available in Wiffle Ball?

Some popular Wiffle ball throws include the fastball, curveball, slider, knuckleball, and screwball. These throws rely on various grips, release angles, and spin to create different flight paths and deceive the batter.

Tyson Moore
Tyson Moore
Hello, my name is Tyson Moore and I am a professional pickleball player. After many years of playing the game, I have started to do some depth research and testing related to pickleball. I have also interviewed many experts in the field. You can check my latest findings on my blog. I hope you find my information helpful. Thanks for reading!