4 Key Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Pickleball Play

With pickleball being the fastest growing sport, there are new courts and facilities popping up everywhere. Unless you live in the few places where it is warm enough to play outdoor pickleball all year round, you probably have to convert to indoor pickleball for a period of time every year. Pickleball is the best sport ever, indoor or outdoor but there are a few main differences.


The first main difference between indoor and outdoor pickleball is the weather. Indoor pickleball has perfect weather 24/7 and never varies. However, outdoor pickleball has a few variables when it comes to weather.

  • Wind is a major factor due to how light the pickleball is. Drives, drops, and lobs are all affected by the wind.
  • Rain is obviously a nuisance as you can’t play outdoors in the rain. But even if it isn’t actively raining, the side effects can linger for hours or even the whole day. Depending on the drainage system, drying resources and temperature, the courts may not dry off for the rest of the day.
  • Sun can cause it to be almost impossible to see the ball, especially in the morning or evening when the sun is low. Due to safety reasons, the sun or lack thereof can cause a game to be unplayable.


There are more and more pickleball dedicated indoor facilities as the sport has grown in popularity. Also, many tennis facilities are converting to pickleball. These dedicated facilities are the same as outdoor pickleball courts. However, there are still many indoor pickleball facilities that use basketball courts or multipurpose courts made from various types of material. Each type of court has unique differences. If you are used to playing on dedicated pickleball courts, you will really notice how much the ball skips off of a hardwood court.

Speed of Play

Everyone can probably agree that the speed of play is much faster indoors. There are a lot of reasons people think this is so but I believe it is due to the weather conditions. When you don’t have to think about whether the wind is coming at you or blowing hard left to right, you can attack the ball with much more confidence. The ball is also never being slowed down by the resistance of the wind leading to more powerful drives, speedups and counterattacks. In addition to wind, air pressure can also play a factor in speed of play for indoor vs outdoor pickleball.


No matter what the temperature is outdoors, the temperature is always perfect once you get inside of an indoor pickleball facility. It may vary a few degrees depending on the facility but there are never any extremes. The temperature has a major effect on outdoor pickleball. When it is 90+ degrees in the middle of summer, just a few games of pickleball can lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion. On the other end of the spectrum, those freezing cold days in early spring or late fall also present a different set of variables you have to prepare for.