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How Bouncy are Pickleballs?

Pickleball is being played outside.

Since I’ve never played a sport requiring the ball to bounce before it can be played, I find bouncing pickleball rules a little confusing. The official rules say the ball must be dropped from a height of 78 inches before it can be hit. The ball must bounce 30 to 34 inches before being hit.

Seventy-eight inches is the height of a man (or woman) who stands six feet, six inches. Thirty to thirty-four inches would be at this individual’s knees. The poor guy would have to bend or squat down in order to hit the ball, so he wouldn’t have much power behind his serve.

Not many of us are that tall, so we resort to other ways of serving a pickleball. Grab a coffee and get comfortable while we discover how bouncy pickleballs can be.

If The Official Rules Say The Ball Has To Be Dropped From 78 Inches, How Do Other Than Tall People Play Pickleball?

A player serves during a pickleball tournament match.

Obviously, the rules have changed over the 60 years the sport has been played. Players are allowed to serve the ball by tossing it or dropping it. For other than tall people, the requisite 30 to 34 inch ball bounce puts the ball right at the waist.

Lots of people can get some power behind a backhand at that height. Much depends on the quality of the ball.

How Do New Pickleball Balls Perform?

New balls just out of the box might bounce higher than the requisite 30 to 34 inches. This means inconsistency as the ball is played. That throws players off their game. Other balls come out of the box softer, which means more bounce.

Players don’t need to hone their skills on a soft ball that bounces better than a properly weighted ball.

Pickleball Balls versus Playing Surfaces

Then you have balls used in indoor and outdoor play. The balls are made differently due to the various playing surfaces. Indoor pickleball courts are generally floating wood gym floors and require a lighter ball.

Outdoor pickleball surfaces are either concrete or asphalt. Harder balls should be used on this court. The balls meant for each location are made differently to accommodate the floor.

What Bounce Means To The Game?

Colorful Pickleball collection.

Pickleball Master Course by Steve Dawson ($199)

Pickleball ball engineers seek to design a ball that retains its integrity even after thousands of hours of smashes and hard-driving play. The quality of both the mold and the plastic is vital to this design. The ball has to refrain from cracking, sail through the air in a predictable manner, and not go out of round.

Play during wind and cold weather also enters the picture. Now, design a ball that can endure all that plus bounce at the requisite height. That’s not so easy to do.

If the ball is too soft, players won’t need to call upon all their hard-won skills to play it. These players using this ball against non-seasoned players find the other team doesn’t even have to try hard, which spoils the game for the seasoned players.

What Brands Of Pickleball Balls Bounce The Best?

Small yellow Pickleball in a large background.

The USA Pickleball Association or the USAPA must approve balls used in professional and tournament play. To that end:


This ball has weight added to it so it will fly in windy weather. It’s also designed to resist cracking and other damage. The good news: the ball uses bounce technology.

The bad news: it’s not a sanctioned brand of ball.


This ball is USAPA sanctioned, is strong enough to withstand the roughest play, and can be used in all sorts of weather. The package contains 100 pickleball balls with 40 holes. The only disadvantage is that it’s too many balls for most players.

Day 1 Sports

Need a ball that’s tournament-sanctioned? This one is because its resin construction maintains consistent bounce and flight and is also bright neon-colored, so you’ll see it plainly.


The also-mentioned ball is USAPA sanctioned. It’s the most expensive, but its virtues lie in its molding (durability,) its 40 holes (for straight flying,) and it comes in a 12-pack instead of three or six.

How Bouncy Are Pickleball Balls? (FAQs)

How Bouncy Is A Pickleball Ball?

It’s not so much about the bounce as it is about the height when the ball bounces. Regulations say the ball should bounce between 30 and 34 inches high. There are standardized tests for bouncy pickleball balls, with the controversy being the balls bounce too high on the test.

Can A Pickleball Ball Lose Its Bounce?

Yes. However, it takes months of hard-driving play for a ball to lose its bounce. You’ll recognize the time when the ball runs out of strength.

How Many Times Can A Pickleball Ball Bounce In A Game?

Twice: once when the opposing team lets it bounce before returning it and when the serving team lets it bounce before returning it.

Are Indoor Pickleball Balls More Or Less Bouncy Than Their Outdoor Brethren?

Indoor pickleball balls have fewer and larger holes than outside balls. They’re lighter, softer, and bounce a little less than outdoor pickleball balls.

Do Quiet, Foam Pickleball Balls Bounce?

They do, although they’re not sanctioned for official play. They bounce at the usual 30 to 34 inches in height. Using a quiet, foam pickleball ball is necessary when the noise of the ball being played upsets neighbors or anyone else.

Can You Play The Ball If It Bounces Into The Kitchen?

Yes, you just can’t volley it from the kitchen. You can return a shot in the kitchen at any time during the game, but not a volley.

Can The Ball Bounce Twice In Pickleball?

No. You’ll lose the point. The ball must bounce once to the opposing team and once to the serving team.