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You would not expect a court-based sport like pickleball to have any similarities to the baseball like sport of wiffle ball. The strategy for playing both of the sports and even the number of people needed to play a game are very different.

But the enjoyment of the sports and the balls used to playout the games follow similar ideas and constructions.

When looking at pickleball vs. wiffle ball, you can see how certain similar features connect the two sports despite their differences.

Playing the sports

There are many sports similar to pickleball and wiffle ball, but these two are not often associated together.

Rather they are on different playing fields of sport classification due mostly to the equipment needed to participate and the area needed for them to be performed.

Even the rules of the two sports are different when looked at closely.

Both sports pit a team against another, consisting of either one or more players each.

Even a game of wiffle ball can be played with just two people, though the rules to the game adjust greatly whenever there are such small numbers.

Each required teams to score points closely associated with the wiffle or the pickleball ball.

Once a team reaches a set number of points, then they win the game or match.

Pickleball scoring and rules

Pickleball can be played either indoors or outdoors on a badminton field. The ball is served across the dividing net which separates the boundaries of the opposing player’s sides.

The ball is designed to bounce on the court and be hit with a pickleball paddle.

Points are earned whenever a player commits what is known as a fault.

These include things like improper serving techniques, balls falling out of bounds, etc.

Once a player or team has reached 11 points and are 2 points ahead of their opponent, then the set is concluded. Players continue to play, best 2 out of 3.

Teams can either consist of one player each, which is known as singles, or with two players on each side, called doubles.

To learn more about how to play pickleball, check out the following video.

Playing wiffle ball

While wiffle ball can be played indoors, as the ball is designed to cause less damage to things like glass and works well in confined spaces, it is most commonly played outdoors.

Teams can range up to 5 players each and much lower. Even teams of only a single player each can participate in the game, though the rules of the game are changed by the low numbers.

Each player must stay within their zones while on the field, and when batting they must travel from base to base in order to reach the home base.

The game itself is a simplified version of the classic and beloved game of baseball.

Similar equipment and rules from baseball are transferred over to the sport.

All you need to play is a bat, ball, and a field. These fields can be established in your own back yard. So long as you have something to act as bases and boundaries, then you have a field.

To win, a team must score more runs than their opponent, must like in pickleball. Points are scored with runs, which occur when a player reaches the home base after a hit from their teammate.

Players move from base to base depending on the section in which their wiffle ball is hit.

Winning the game occurs after the innings are completed, usually restricted to 6 innings. Whichever team has the most points at the game’s conclusion wins.

What ball to play with?

The major similarity between the two sports is their ball. Both are made with a durable plastic material that can withstand long play time.

Even though the plastic material is durable and can handle being hit by either a pickleball paddle or a wiffle ball bat, they will need to be replaced on a regular basis.

Both balls also feature holes in their construction to allow for a stable flow of air through the lightweight plastic. This allows it to travel through the air in a straight formation without interference from the wind.  

Ball for pickleball

The size of a pickleball is regulated by the USAPA rules which requires the ball to be 73 millimeters in size, the same regulated size of a baseball.

The ball should weigh only 22 grams as well, just two thirds of an ounce, in order to be used for proper pickleball technique.

To see if a ball is working properly, drop it from a height of above 6 feet and the ball should bounce just under 3 feet in height on the solid surface.

The holes in the ball are 0.75 inches in an oblong shape. The holes are cropped from the smooth plastic surface.

Whenever a pickleball ball is designed for outdoor use, the ball will be made thicker and holes all the way around it’s circular shape to work better against the wind.

Indoor balls are lighter and thinner in nature with less holes, larger in size on their surface as they will not need to fight against any tempering air currents.

Ball for wiffle ball

The wiffle ball uses the same hard plastic material as those of the pickleball.

This material is designed to act as a replacement feature for a baseball, as it travels through the air allowing you to manipulate the path the ball takes.

This works well for pitchers who will need to supply a lot of different throwing patterns beyond just a straight shot, such as a curve ball in order to win the game and throw batters off their rhythm.

The material is lighter and less damaging than that of an actual baseball, the key to wiffle ball’s invention.

It will not cause as much damage whenever it hits something, such as a person or window.

The balls are designed to fly about 100 or more feet when hit properly and fly straight through the air.

There are holes on one side of the wiffle ball, though occasionally you can find those with two sides of holes.

Paddle vs. bat

Whether you are playing pickleball with a paddle or wiffle ball with a plastic bat, this piece of equipment will work to control the majority of the ball’s movements.

The ball’s speed and placement are the major areas that you control with either your paddle or bat.

Paddles for pickleball are designed to have no texture, rather a smooth surface. They are composed of wood for heavier paddles and composite or graphite for lighter weight paddles.

they come in a coupe different shapes for you to choose from and also offer various grip sizes to better fit your hand.

Wiffle ball bats are made with plastic just like their balls. They are often designed to be long and thin in with limited surface area for you to hit the wiffle ball with.

But there are other bat options for you to choose from as well in order to increase the surface area of the bat, better grip, and various color options.

Pickleball vs. Wiffle Ball: Which is right for you?

The main similarity found between these two sports is their ball. Used as a major device to gain points, the ball is designed to be lightweight, durable, and built to travel through the air even with its low weight and added holes.

The material used for both of the balls is a hard, durable plastic. This plastic helps control the bounce and movement of the ball.

The plastic is designed to last a long period of time which works well for frequent players.

Even with its strong durability, the ball will still need to be replaced regularly in order to ensure you are using a ball that is still functioning properly.

Damaged and overused balls may become misshapen or begin to break.

This can make the ball difficult to manage and hit. It may not work with your shots or hits.

The flight pattern it takes as it travels can also change due to over use which can affect both sports.

The hole patterns in the balls are also similar.

Though outdoor pickleballs can sometimes come with holes constructed into both sides of the ball, both sports usually rely on and play with single sided holed balls.

The hole is constructed into the balls as a way to help the ball travel straight despite its lightweight nature.

This is beneficial for outdoor use as the wind will not be able to greatly affect the ball and therefore disrupt a game.

The differences in pickleball and wiffle ball are more numerous than the similar traits of their balls.

While pickleball is played on a set court with either a hard gym or outdoor surface, wiffle ball can be played on a field either professional or homemade.

The field and court are set up very different though.

Pickleball consists of a set area with boundary lines on a court with a net dividing the two opposing sides.

A wiffle ball field allows players to switch from field to batter with lines acting as boundaries for both the ball and players.

Unlike pickleball courts, which have either concrete or gym floors as their surface, wiffle ball fields are outdoor areas usually set up like baseball fields.

The equipment is also different. Both sports need a way to hit and control the ball and therefore rely on either a bat or a paddle.

Both the paddle and bat will control the speed, direction, and placement of the ball and are operated by the player.

Paddles offer smooth, wooden or composite surfaces, where wiffle ball bats are made most commonly from plastic and are long and thin in nature.

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