While pickleball players hit the ball at a range of speeds and forces, pickleballs can only go so fast. When you’re standing across from a banger who hits the pickleball as hard and fast as possible, it might seem like the ball is hurling at the speed of light towards your face. Thankfully, pickleballs usually don’t go that fast.
Whether you’re the banger trying to drive your pickleball into oblivion or the dinker doing your best to comfort yourself over the limited speeds of a pickleball and it speeds towards you, you’ll probably want to know how fast a pickleball can go. Lucky for you, we have the answer in the article below, so read on!
How fast does a pickleball go?
The speed of the pickleball varies based on how we’re measuring it and what the circumstances are for gauging the speed. If a pickleball is just getting bounced off the ground, it will bounce pretty low and only make it about two feet off the ground. This doesn’t allow for much speed when using a regular bounce with the hand.
With 40 holes, a pickleball can only spin up to 1500 rpm, which is under a third of the speed of a tennis ball. If a paddle hits the pickleball, its speed varies in a limited range. As thedinkpickleball.com points out, “The paddle is solid and small (limited to a combined length and width of no more than 24”).
Its surface texture is regulated to limit enhanced spin. The paddle can produce a ball speed between 25mph and 40mph, a third the speed of that in tennis. As a result, during matches the ball is hit with touch (defensively) 45% of the time and with power (offensively) 55% of the time.”
When you’re playing pickleball, you might be interested in the speed for more than just the ability to whip it out as a fun fact at pickleball tournaments. If you’re a pickleball player, you may wonder how fast the ball is going, so you can plan your moves based on that. You may also want to know the speed of pickleballs compared to other balls in other sports for reference.
As jbrish.com listed out, “Most volleys at the kitchen line are somewhere between 30-40 mph. The reaction time at the non-volley zone would be approximately .24 of a second. Other volleys (not at the non-volley zone) would most likely be somewhere in the 25-30 MPH range with the fastest balls probably approaching the 40 MPH limit.”
When it comes to other sports, jbrish.com shares that tennis serves reach a maximum speed of 167.3 mph while baseball pitches only clock in at 105.1 mph as an average maximum speed. Baseball hits can reach up to 120.5 mph in speed while ping pong balls clock in on a speedometer at 69.9 mph on average for their maximum. A small badminton shuttlecock can soar to speeds of 306 mph at most and golf balls are also able to reach high speeds at 208 mph maximum.
How can you make a pickleball go faster?
If you want to push your pickleball skills to their limits and reach higher speeds on your hits, you’ll want to hit the pickleball harder. This means limiting your backswing, keeping your balance by bending your knees and adopting a closed stance or steady open stance, and hitting the ball off of your paddle’s “sweet spot.” The sweet spot is the center of the paddle.
By hitting the ball from the sweet spot of your paddle, you’ll be able to control the pace of the ball while accumulating all the force in a singular, focused direction.
Alternatively, if you want to hit the ball harder without changing your playing style, simply get a heavier paddle or add lead tape to the paddle to increase its weight and force. Before making any modifications to your paddle, you’ll want to consult the rules and regulations of your pickleball venue. As long as it isn’t prohibited, though, this can be a great way to increase the speed of the ball when it bounces off your paddle.
When you’re going to make your paddle heavier, just make sure to prepare for the added stress and strain on your hand. Since it’ll be heavier, it might cause injury or discomfort if you don’t practice proper form with it or work up to using it.