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Do Pickleballs Crack in the Cold? What You Need to Know

Do Pickleballs Crack in the Cold? What You Need to Know

Have you come across a situation when a pickleball ball is cracked or broken during a rally? If this happens to you, the USA Pickleball Association Rules: 11.E, in the 2020 Official Rulebook for USA Pickleball, recommends that the rally must continue until the end. The question arises: Do Pickleballs Crack in the Cold?

Pickleball balls can crack in the cold environment due to sudden changes in temperature and high usage on rough courts. The outdoor pickleball is specially designed with 40 small holes that make its tolerance threshold higher in a cold climate. They are more durable than indoor balls.

Outdoor and indoor pickleball is said to be the same in features, but they are not capable of the same courts. Indoor pickleball cannot perform well on the outer courts. It has less number of holes in them which are around 26.

The indoor pickleball is less durable and cannot tackle the harsh external environment of outer pickleball courts. The excessive gameplay using indoor pickleball on the outer courts can cause them to crack, especially in a cold and dry climate. Outdoor pickleball is more durable than indoor ones and is heavier. Outdoor pickleball cracks less if used with proper maintenance.

Outdoor PickleballIndoor Pickleball
They are slightly heavy than the indoor onesThey are lighter in weight.
These balls are affected by the wind and have smaller holes.These balls have large holes and are easy to control.
The outdoor pickleball is durable due to its thick wall composition.They are made up of soft material that results in a long rally.
Outdoor pickleball provides a fast gameplayIt is difficult to hit the indoor pickleball due to less velocity.

Rules of Cracked Pickleball as per USAPA Rulebook:

Let me quote the specific rules set for a cracked pickleball by USAPA:

If a referee is present, players may appeal to the referee before the serve occurs to determine if a ball is broken or cracked. If the appeal is before the serve occurs, the referee will stop play, inspect the ball, and either replace it or return it into play. 

The referee will recall the score. In non-officiated matches, players may replace a cracked ball before the serve occurs. If any player suspects the ball is or becomes cracked after the serve, play must continue until the end of the rally. 

If, in the judgment of the referee, a broken or cracked ball impacted the outcome of a rally, the referee will call for a replay with a replacement ball. In non-officiated play, if the players do not agree that a cracked ball impacted the outcome of the rally, the rally stands as played.

Find in the USAPA Rulebook at section 11.E

Why Are Pickleballs Prone to Cracking?

Pickleballs are more prone to cracking as they vary in brands and durability. The pickleball manufactured by the Dura Fast balls are hard and play better in heat. These balls are less prone to cracking as they do not soften and are less bouncy.

But in the cold and harsh environments, pickleball balls become brittle and are cracked. Other than the material and durability, the choice of surface courts can also lead to cracks. As time progresses, the asphalt surface loses its age and can develop cracks on the pickleball.

Cause-Effect on Cracking of Pickleball:

Keep the pickleball cleanKeeping the pickleball in a clean state prevents them from sudden cracking. It is advisable to wipe and clean the balls with a soft cloth to remove away the moisture and dirt content. The carelessness in such matters can cause cracks on the ball.
Proper storageIf you want to keep your pickleball away from cracks, it is advisable to store them in a cool, dry place. Keep away the balls away from direct exposure to sunlight when not in use. Don’t place them in the back place of hot cars as it can lead to cracks.
Dry the pickleballIn case of direct contact with moisture or water, dry the balls properly to avoid cracking. Wet pickleball balls can rot and are more prone to lose their oils and glued panels.
Avoid rough surfacesPickleball games should be played on proper pickleball courts or tennis courts. Cracks develop more quickly when the game is played on the rough surfaces of hot asphalt, concrete, or gravel roads. These surfaces can cause abrasion and tears in pickleball.

Comparison of Pickleball with Tennis Balls:

The ball used in a pickleball game is compared with the tennis balls, but there are many differences between them.

The ball used for the pickleball game is larger than the tennis ball and is much lighter in weight. A pickleball weighs between 0.78 and 0.93 ounces, while the tennis ball falls in the weight category of 2 ounces.

The tennis ball is only present in its typical green color. Pickleballs are available in different colors like white, yellow, red, green, neon blue, and purple. Pickleballs have small and large holes that provide them with a good bounce. Tennis balls do not have any holes in them.

How is Pickleball Different From Tennis? Pickleball Vs Tennis

Longevity and Cost of the Pickleball:

Pickleballs can last longer than usual without cracking if they are appropriately played on the court. Balls become less bouncy after some months, and cracks start to develop on them, which is not because of the winter season. The reason behind this is the lack of maintenance.

If you want to last your pickleball for longer than usual, handle them with care, and don’t use the indoor pickleball for the outdoor ones. Pickleballs are not so expensive and come at $2-$4 for each ball according to their demand.

The prices can fluctuate according to the brand, and Onix and Dura pickleball are considered the best ones.

Do Pickleballs Crack in the Cold

Specific Features of Pickleball:

Pickleballs are divided into indoor and outdoor balls that can last longer if handled with care. Pickleballs can crack in cold weather, especially outdoor balls due to the rough surface of the court and environmental exposure to UV rays. 

The USAPA regulations have explained that pickleball should be equipped with the following characteristics that can help them to avoid cracking.

  • The pickleball should be made up of durable material that can be molded. It should have a smooth surface and no texturing, so that bounce can be produced.
  • The ball should have a uniform color without any gradient or texture.
  • The ball can also have a slight ridge at its seam side. It is not compulsory to have such a thing as it can impact the ball’s flight characteristics.
  • The estimated diameter for the pickleball is between 2.87 and 2.97 inches, and an average ball weighs about 0.78 – 0.93 ounces.
  • Ensure that the ball bounces between 30-and 34 inches when dropped from a certain height of 78 inches. You can perform a specific test by dropping the ball on a granite surface.
  • The hardness of the ball can also be tested for proper gameplay.
  • The minimum circular holes for the pickleball are 26, and the maximum can be 40. The spacing between the holes and their design are linked with the ball’s flight characteristics.

Pickleball Differences and Cracking:

Whenever we talk about cracking in pickleball, the temperature matters a lot in this aspect. Pickleballs are affected by temperature and crack in winters. The rough and dry conditions in winter make the court and environmental conditions harsh, and balls tend to more cracking.

The roughness and material of the ball also lead to cracking in the winter season. The rough balls provide a different game from the paddle and cracks earlier.

Finding the Perfect Non-Crackable Pickleball:

If you are looking for pickleball that is non-crackable and that can last longer, then here are the key details:

  • It is recommended to look for a ball that is made up of durable and robust material. Always consider the ball made of smooth and non-textured surfaces as they last longer than usual without cracking in winters.
  • The ridge or seam on the ball does not interfere with the flight characteristic of pickleball.
  • Go for the ball having the diameter and weight as mentioned by USAPA Pickleball guidelines.
  • According to the Durometer D scale, look for the ball to have the hardness between the 40-50 range.
  • A good pickleball should have a minimum of 26 holes, and a maximum of 40 holes is enough for the perfect bounce.
  • The tournament director selects Pickleballs during the official game, and the USAPA should approve them. The approval helps to choose the non-cracked pickleball having good material.

Outdoor and Indoor Pickleball and Their Types:

The outdoor and indoor pickleball hold some differences that make them capable of performing in the best way in their respective courts. Each category has a wide range of pickleball collections from various brands enabling them to perform well.

Outdoor Pickleball:

The outdoor pickleball is made up of durable material so that they can deal with the harsh environment without cracking up. Outdoor pickleball weighs about 0.88 ounces and is less affected by wind. They become soft after certain games, and there are chances of cracking up, so outdoor pickleball requires proper maintenance.

Do Pickleballs Crack in the Cold

Popular Brands:

Outdoor pickleball has various brands that offer their best pickleball balls for the outdoor courts.

Dura Fast 40

Franklin X-40

Onix Fuse

This brand is one of the prestigious brands for pickleball. Dura pickleball is considered the original pickleball.

This brand offers seamless pickleball and is light in weight.

Onix fuse pickleball is also light in weight and weighs about 0.93 ounces.

The balls from these brands were used officially in the US Open pickleball championship in 2019.

These balls are approved by USAPA for various tournament plays.

These balls are best for local pickleball tournaments as well as for international ones.

The pickleball offered by this company has single-size holes that are best for a consistent flight.

They have small holes and offer durable pickleball.

Indoor Pickleballs:

The indoor pickleball is made especially for indoor courts and cannot bear the harsh environment of outside courts. This pickleball is soft and plays smoothly on a paddle. These balls are easier to control, and they crack less than outdoor pickleball. They are also light-weighted, about 0.8 ounces, and vary in color. They are offered in white, lime green, and yellow, and cracks have larger holes.

Popular Brands:

Onix fuse Indoor PickleballsGamma photon indoor Pickleballs
The pickleball offered by them has large holes in them.The pickleball by Gamma photon is made especially for indoor games and has a balanced two-piece construction.
These indoor pickleball balls can bounce easily and are more durable. Thus, they crack less than usual.They have thick construction material that can control them and provides more bounce and flight.
These are light-weight pickleball balls and weigh about 0.92 ounces.These balls weigh about 0.85 ounces and are much lighter than outdoor pickleball balls. 

Also Read:

How to Practice Pickleball Alone? The 7 Must Have Drill
How to Become a Pickleball Pro? 
Pickleball When to Switch Sides? What You Need to Know
What Does 4.0 Mean in Pickleball? All You Need to Know
How Did Pickleball Get Its Name? Amazing Facts

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

At what temperature does the surface of pickleball crack?

The pickleball balls often crack when the temperature drops below 50 degrees. The cracking rate is higher at such a temperature, and balls bounce less. You can switch to Franklin X40 if you want a pickleball for your early cold weather play, as it is known to crack less and provides a good bounce even at low temperatures.

How long can the outdoor pickleball last?

The outdoor pickleball can last at least ten games before showing the signs of cracking. The longevity and durability of pickleball balls depend on their usage and maintenance of the balls.

What is the composition of the balls used in pickleball games?

The balls used in pickleball games are made up of lighter plastic. The balls used in a pickleball play are often compared with the Wiffle ball. The durability of pickleball depends on the usage and maintenance of the player. Pickleballs used for indoor games are much smoother than outdoor ones and have 26 holes, making them light in weight.

What kind of pickleballs are considered best for the outdoor cold weather?

 The best pickleball balls that you can choose for the outdoor play in cold weather are:

  • Onix fuse outdoor Pickleball
  • Outdoor Pickleball for Penn 40
  • Outdoor Pickleball for Wilson Tru Pro

What signs indicate that the pickleball is worn out?

The soft spots on the pickleball suggest that it is worn out. During gameplay, when the ball is not capable of making a rally, it is also a sign that pickleball is worn out.

Which kind of pickleballs do pro players use?

The pro players used Dura Pickleballs for their official outdoor gameplay. Dura Pickleball is considered one of the best and USAPA-approved pickleball balls for tournament play.

Is there any pickleball that does not produce noise?

It is often said that pickleball balls produce noise. The Gamma foam Pickleballs are the best for those who prefer a quiet game. These balls are made of soft foam instead of plastic but are not approved for a tournament play.

How often is it advisable to replace the pickleball?

It is advisable to replace the pickleball about once a year. The outdoor pickleball balls often get cracks, so replacing them for fair gameplay is good.

Can a player enjoy the pickleball game in the winter season?

You can play pickleball at any time of the year. Pickleball can be played inside as well as outside on the courts.

Are all the pickleballs equipped with the same features?

The balls used in pickleball games are of different brands and companies. Each one is equipped with different composition. The Dura company has one of the best pickleball with varying sizes and holes.

Can a player play a pickleball game on a carpet?

You can play pickleball on any hard surface, including a rug or ground. You can also play pickleball on surfaces like gym floors, tennis courts, and concrete floors.

Do the pickleballs lose their bounce during the gameplay?

The Pickleball game requires several months of practice to play consistently. There are chances that players can lose the bounce of pickleball during their gameplay, so this game requires practice.

Which color is considered the best one for the pickleballs?

Pickleballs often come in standard colors, but the red color is regarded as an easy one for playing indoor pickleball games. The red color gives a gentle feel and bounce and is best for indoor pickleball gameplay.

Is the pickleball game easier than the tennis game?

The Pickleball game produces a popping sound during the gameplay. The balls in the pickleball game are made up of material that produces a loud noise than a tennis game.