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Indoor VS Outdoor Pickleball: Which is better?

Indoor vs outdoor pickleball can quickly become a touchy subject for many avid players. One camp swears by outdoor play as it was how the sport began and how competitive pickleball (tournaments) are played. The other blissfully enjoy their games without being subjected to the elements such as rain, sun, and wind. Whichever you prefer there are pros and cons to both so let's take a look at them.

Outdoor Pickleball:

The appeal is undeniable, being able to play your favourite sport in the glistening sun on a gorgeous day is something we should all get to experience! After just having played my first tournament the NPL Championships on the Gold Coast this past weekend I can see what all the fuss is about for playing outdoors. It was perfect 25-degree days on immaculately maintained, permanent pickleball courts. Reminiscent of my old tennis days I thoroughly enjoyed playing out in the elements.

That being said you certainly were playing in the elements. The wind proved to be an interesting factor as many a lob or slice was carried just that little bit further by the wind occasionally making for some extra unforced errors. Additionally, the glare of the sun posed a challenge on volleys at varying points of the day. Whilst it's generally a safe bet that the Gold Coast will be bright and sunny the chance of rain is always a factor and I can imagine how frustrating it would be for a tournament organiser or player to see their tournament become a washout. The above are all common arguments that indoor players will make as to why their chosen method is preferred.

Indoor Pickleball:

Indoor Pickleball is like the Goldilocks of Pickleball, not too hot, not too cold, it's just right. Wind does not come into play and whilst some courts may be lit better than others this is seldom an issue. Whilst this method is often for non-permanent courts meaning you have to set up nets and occasionally line markings, you know it will always be on irrespective of the weather.

For me indoor pickleball is all about consistency, consistency of play (the ball isn't affected by external factors), and consistency in always being able to get on the court. For places such as Sydney and Melbourne which can often have patches of consistent and dreary rain, this is fantastic as it means you are still able to hone your skills year-round. Furthermore, because the ball is unaffected by external factors it can be fantastic for practicing skills.

My verdict:

Why not both? I love being able to play in the sunshine but I also love the consistency indoor pickleball provides. I would certainly encourage any interested in playing tournaments to get in a reasonable amount of playing and training outdoors as that is the preferred type for tournaments. Check out your local pickleball clubs and see if you can get a mix of both and I promise you will become a far more well-rounded player for it. Additionally, I am lucky enough that my local council in Meadowbank (Sydney) has put the court markings down so all I need to do is grab a starter kit or net and head down with my friends for a hit anytime.

Happy balling everyone!

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