The Difference Between Playing Outdoor vs. Indoor Pickleball

The Difference Between Playing Outdoor vs. Indoor Pickleball

You can play pickleball on an indoor and outdoor court. A few factors differentiate these types of courts — some players prefer one type to the other, so it's useful to weigh the pros and cons of each to see which best suits your play style. 

You may favor both, but if you want to make an informed decision, this guide on indoor vs. outdoor courts is what you need.

Pros of Outdoor Pickleball

Outdoor pickleball is the best way to play for people who enjoy the outdoors and value time in the fresh air under the sun. These are some of the reasons to consider playing pickleball outdoors:

  • Harder balls: Outdoor pickleballs are made to suit outdoor factors like weather and court material. Indoor pickleballs are made with 26 holes, and outdoor balls are made with 40 holes. Outdoor balls are made of harder material, improving how much they can bounce and making it easier to reach longer volleys. The best outdoor pickleballs maintain a straight trajectory even in strong wind.
  • Outside recreation: Playing sports outside is a healthy way to exercise, increase Vitamin D intake and enjoy fresh air. Playing pickleball outside could be good for mental health reasons as well. There is nothing else quite like clean, fresh air while you exercise.

Cons of Outdoor Pickleball

There are some notable cons to playing pickleball outdoors that might make the game more exciting and interesting for some players but can serve as obstacles and challenges that others might want to avoid. These are the most influential drawbacks experienced when you play pickleball outdoors:

Cons of Outdoor Pickleball

  • Affected by weather: Outdoor pickleball is dependent on the weather. Wet, wind and hot conditions affect the players and the game. When the court is wet, there is a higher chance of slipping. Rain reduces shot accuracy and creates uncomfortable playing conditions. The wind can affect player mobility, accuracy and the ability to control the ball's trajectory. When the weather is hot, playing long games of pickleball becomes more physically demanding on the players, and heat depletes energy faster.
  • Clothing matters: Players can wear the optimal gear for playing pickleball when playing in the perfect outdoor conditions. However, more layers are required when it gets colder, affecting how freely the players can move. 
  • Court material: Outdoor pickleball courts are made most commonly made of concrete or asphalt, which can put more stress and pressure on a player's joints during long games and over time.
  • Lighting: Indoor pickleball courts have set lighting that remains constant throughout the whole day. Outdoor games can vary depending on the time of day, the sun's position and the effect outdoor lighting has on the court. This affects accuracy and visibility, especially when played in the morning and evenings. This requires players to wear hats and sunglasses to accommodate. Additional accessories can be distracting for some players.
  • Higher skill level required: Highly skilled pickleball players can adjust to the wind and outdoor elements better in less favorable weather conditions, while newer players need to learn how to accommodate these changes. This might make new players less interested in playing on outdoor courts while they start out.

Pros of Indoor Pickleball

Playing pickleball indoors provides a more controlled and consistent environment vs. outdoor courts and conditions. This helps players focus on the game without needing to strategize for external factors. Indoor pickleball is better for players learning the game or who want to practice in a regulated environment. These are some other pros to playing pickleball indoors:

  • Resistant to the weather: You can use an indoor pickleball court at any time regardless of weather conditions, time of day or season. Indoor facilities have optimal lighting and set temperatures, negating the biggest drawbacks of playing on an outside court. There is no wind, rain or sun exposure in an indoor court. Players can expect a more consistent experience when playing indoors.
  • Court material: Indoor pickleball courts can be made of soft wood, rubber or specialized polyurethane sports surfaces. These surfaces are easier on a player's joints, absorb shock, reduce glare, are better suited to novice and beginner players and provide strong traction and grip.
  • Better for competitive play: The regulated conditions of indoor pickleball courts make them better for competitive matches, as players are able to test their skills more reliably without being affected by outdoor factors like wind, visibility and heat.

Cons of Indoor Pickleball

Indoor pickleball courts have their own fair share of cons. While some of these cons may have less of an impact on how the game is played, they can still affect the experience. Keep these potential indoor pickleball cons in mind when choosing where to play:

  • Indoor pickleballs can be more prone to damage: Indoor balls are made out of softer material which can make them more fragile. Finding the right quality indoor pickleball can reduce this risk.
  • Sound issues: From squeaky shoes on indoor courts to the echoing sounds of sharing an enclosed space with multiple adjacent courts, there are a lot of distracting sounds in an indoor pickleball court.
  • Court type: Pickleball is designed to be played on a badminton course because of its size and lines. Some indoor sporting facilities may only offer other types of indoor courts, like basketball courts. The change is fairly easy to adjust but can confuse beginners. Lines are also placed differently on other courts, so deciding if a shot is out of bounds can be more complicated.
  • Booking costs: Generally speaking, reserving outdoor courts can be more cost-effective. Indoor courts tend to be a more popular choice which can make scheduling indoor courts more difficult and more expensive due to their popularity. Outdoor courts are used less often and, in some cases, are free to book.
  • Intersection court lines: When playing in an indoor pickleball venue with multiple adjacent courts, there can be some confusion over which lines affect which court. Due to the limited space, some courts may be close together, making court lines intersect. This can make rulings and technicalities more difficult to declare if multiple games are going on at the same time.

Master Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball With Rhino Pickleball Equipment

Your court preferences as a player come down to how you play and knowing the biggest differences between the different environments. Rhino Pickleball offers quality pickleball gear and equipment for any type of court and all conditions. If you want to start the game on the right foot or master your competitive skills, we can help you.

From paddles to playing accessories, we can give you everything you need to master your indoor or outdoor pickleball skills. Find everything you need by browsing our online store today.

Master Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball With Rhino Pickleball Equipment