Pickleball – what’s not to love about this fun and fast-growing sport? Yet, many players are left guessing the speed at which a pickleball travels during a match. Did you know that pickleballs travel around 25mph to 40mph, just a third of the speed of a tennis ball? This information can greatly influence your approach toward improving your shots and overall performance on the court.

Prepare yourself as we serve up some fascinating facts about pickleball’s speed, influencing factors, and exciting comparisons with other traditional racquet sports. Let’s get right into it!

Key Takeaways

  • Pickleballs can travel between 25mph to 40mph.
  • The type of paddle you use and how you swing it affects the speed of the pickleball.
  • Weather conditions like wind and humidity, plus where you play (high or low altitude), can change how fast the pickleball moves.
  • To make your pickleball move faster, grip your paddle tightly and keep your swings small and quick.
  • Compared to tennis balls that can exceed 100 mph, Pickleballs travel at more than half less speed!

Understanding the Speed of a Pickleball

Pickleball gets its signature pace from a ball that weighs less than a tennis ball but is slowed down due to its hollow polymer construction. With the density of air inside, it tends to float and move slower even when strongly hit.

The speed of the pickleball can range from 25mph to almost 40mph under ideal conditions and powerful swings by skilled pickleball players.

The energy absorption properties of both pickleball balls themselves and the pickleball paddles used in striking them contribute greatly to their overall velocity. Paddles made of hard materials like plastic or wood possess high energy absorption potential, which slows down the speed at which the ball travels.

This factor should remind us that how you swing your paddle plays an important role as well because more force means that your hits will propel the pickleball faster.

Factors Affecting the Speed of a Pickleball

Various factors can impact how fast a pickleball travels, including weather conditions like wind and humidity, as well as the elevation where the game is being played.


The speed of a pickleball can be influenced significantly by wind. This natural element has the power to change not only the ball’s velocity but its direction too, making it unpredictable and challenging.

A gusty day forces players to adjust their playing style and formulate new strategies based on how fast or slow wind currents push the lightweight ball around.

Players must adapt quickly when they engage in games outdoors where weather conditions vary. Strong winds may cause pickleballs to travel faster downwind while upwind movements result in slower travels..

The noticeable impact of wind sometimes makes matches thrilling and competitive, as each serve or hit becomes crucial due to changing aerodynamics introduced by nature’s unpredictability.


Humidity plays a significant role in determining the speed of a pickleball. High levels of humidity make the air denser, ultimately causing resistance and reducing the ball’s speed.

This denseness changes how lively the bounce is, slowing down the pace of play. Notably, this can fundamentally alter game strategy and techniques as players will need to apply more power to compensate for decreased pickleball travel speed in damp conditions.


Playing pickleball at different altitudes can significantly impact the speed of the ball. At higher altitudes, where air is thinner, a pickleball moves faster than it does at lower elevations.

The decreased air pressure gives less resistance to objects in motion, allowing them to travel quicker with less energy. This phenomenon is not exclusive to pickleball but applies universally across all sports.

How to Increase Your Pickleball Travel Speed

Increasing the pickleball travel speed requires mastery of specific techniques and regular practice. Here are some tips to step up your game:

  1. Keep a firm grip on the pickleball paddle: The way you hold your pickleball paddle can directly influence the speed of the ball. Hold the paddle at the top of the handle for a faster, more compact swing.
  2. Maintain a compact swing: A big, slow swing with lots of wind-ups telegraphs your intention to opponents and doesn’t add much power. Get quicker hits by keeping your swing tight and compact.
  3. Use your legs and core: Transfer energy from your body into your hits by engaging your core and legs while swinging your pickleball paddle.
  4. Improve hand-eye coordination: Spend time improving your hand-eye coordination. This allows you to hit the ball hard consistently without missing or making unforced errors.
  5. Practice with a partner or professional coach: Regular practice dramatically improves any player’s speed and accuracy.
  6. Test different paddles: Solid paddles made of hard materials tend to add speed, while soft-material paddles such as plastic or foams, decrease it since they absorb much energy upon impact.
  7. Work on Your Timing: Hitting a pickleball also needs excellent timing in order for it not just to go fast but also to land in bounds on an opponent’s court.

Pickleball vs. Tennis Ball: Which Travels Faster?

A comparison between the speed of a pickleball and a tennis ball reveals intriguing differences. The following table provides a detailed breakdown:

PickleballTennis Ball
Travel speed when hit by a paddle/racketUp to 40mphCan exceed 100mph


You now have the knowledge to appreciate why a pickleball behaves like it does. This understanding of speed and force in pickleball will invariably enhance your game strategy.

So go out, take your paddle, and enjoy this unique sport that values precision over pace! Happy playing!

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast does a pickleball travel when playing the game?

A pickleball can travel between 25mph and 40mph, depending on how hard the player hits it with the paddle.

Does the size of a court affect how fast a pickleball travels?

Yes, because smaller courts as in pickleball often result in slower speeds than larger courts like tennis where balls are made to travel faster and further distances.

Can players increase their pickleballs’ velocity despite its poor aerodynamics due to holes?

Definitely! While pickleball’s lightweight hollow polymer constructions contribute to slower speeds compared to other sports like baseball or tennis, better techniques can effectively increase an individual’s skills for increasing ball speeds.