Can You Play Pickleball in the Rain?

“For man so loved pickleball that he had to play even on rainy days”.

No, that’s not a biblical verse. But I won’t be surprised to know if some of y’all love pickleball that much. 

If you live in Seattle or somewhere rainy, you might wonder, “Can you play pickleball in the rain?” The truth is that you can play pickleball in the rain but should you though. 

In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about playing pickleball in the rain: The effect of rain on the game, and tips to use when pickleballin’ in the rain.

Can you play pickleball in the rain?

rain on tennis court

Yes, you CAN play pickleball in the rain if you have a willing partner. Your best option is to play indoor pickleball in the rain. But, we don’t recommend that you play outdoor pickleball in the rain due to playing, injury and health risks.

Problems with playing pickleball in the rain

Playing outdoor pickleball in the rain is fraught with many challenges. These issues may affect pickleball play, injure you or impair your health. The major problems with playing pickleball in the rain include:

Injury

man holding injured elbow

Playing pickleball in the rain reduces the grip on the court. The wet surface may cause slips, and these can lead to falls. Falling or sliding on a hard pickleball court surface may lead to cuts, abrasions, fractures and even concussions in rare cases. 

Related: Pickleball Elbow

Visibility

rain

Pickleball demands hand and eye coordination. A major downpour can reduce the visibility (darkness, plus rain droplets in your eyes) on the court making it much harder to see and anticipate the movement of the ball, your opponent and even impair your ability to judge distances. Overall, poor visibility will definitely suck the joy out of the game.

Cold / Pneumonia

woman wrapped up in blanket from feeling cold

Playing pickleball outdoors in the rain will get your body soaked and increase the chances of you catching a cold or even getting pneumonia. This could be just a short term illness or may last long enough to miss school or work. That’s a very high cost for playing pickleball in the rain.

Effect of rain on pickleball surface

pickleball-court-surface-showing-boundary-lines

There are many types of pickleball court surfaces from soft to hard. In general, rain makes the playing surfaces slippery and loose. 

This also reduces the player’s grip on the court and makes it harder for a player to move freely and change direction confidently. The wet pickleball court surface can lead to minor or serious injuries.

Related: Can you play pickleball on grass?

Effect of rain on pickleball ball

many-pickleballs-on-purple-and-orange-court

The rain brings with it two things that affect a pickleball ball. One is wind and the other is wetness. 

The wind carries the ball and adds speed and unpredictability due to the lightness of a pickleball. 

While the wetness of the court makes a pickleball skid and can make a pickleball abruptly lose speed or stop in a puddle. 

All these make a pickleball harder to read and anticipate in the rain.

Effect of rain on serve and returns

Windy rain will increase wind resistance during serves and returns for some players, making their arm motion less efficient. This may make it more difficult to hit the ball hard and through.

Pickleball paddle damage

two-pickleball-paddles-with-three-pickleballs-on-the-court

Like most things, pickleball paddles aren’t indestructible. Moisture is the natural enemy of a pickleball paddle. 

No matter the type of paddle you have, playing pickleball often in the rain will reduce the durability of your pickleball paddle.

If the moisture from the rain manages to seep into the core of your paddle, over time, it will wear the paddle down and you’ll need a replacement sooner rather than later. 

Related: Best affordable pickleball paddles

How does rain affect pickleball play?

Rain affects almost all facets of pickleball play negatively. It reduces visibility for the players. It makes the pickleball’s path more unpredictable due to wind and wetness.

Rain makes the pickleball court slippery and makes pickleball play more dangerous for all players due to puddles and reduced surface grip. Wind resistance may also affect the swing and serve efficiency of some players.

Tips for playing in the rain

Don’t run

A major risk when playing pickleball in the rain is the risk of falling. To reduce the chances of this, DON’T RUN. 

Walk slowly or quickly to the ball. Doing this reduces your range of motion and the chances of you falling and potentially injuring yourself.

Focus on not making mistakes

Playing in the rain is significantly harder than playing in dry conditions on most pickleball surfaces. As such, the best way to win is to avoid mistakes. Keep the ball in play and keep it simple, and you should be fine especially if your opponent tries more difficult shots.

Wear appropriate gear for rain

To mitigate the wetness and visibility issues on a rainy day on the court, you’ll need to wear a rain & wind light jacket, a good paddle for the rain, rain-resistant eyewear or cap and grippy pickleball shoes.

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All these will improve your chances if you still decide to go ahead and play in the rain.

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Should you play pickleball in the rain?

Elderly lady playing pickleball indoors
Consider playing pickleball indoors when it’s raining.

You shouldn’t play pickleball outdoors in the rain due to playing, health and injury risks from a downpour. 

However, if you must play pickleball when it’s raining, play indoors. If you can’t find an indoor court, then only play pickleball outdoors when it’s light rain. 

Whenever it’s too dark, windy or puddles begin forming on the court, call it quits.

Alternative to playing pickleball in the rain

The best alternative to playing pickleball in the rain is to play indoor pickleball or any other racquet sport indoors like ping pong, or racquetball or squash.

Conclusion

In summary, you CAN play pickleball in the rain. As much as possible, play indoor pickleball when it rains. 

If there isn’t an indoor pickleball court near you, then only play outdoor pickleball in light rain with the correct gear for maximum visibility, traction and safety. Be cautious, don’t run and keep your game simple to win at pickleball in the rain.

Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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