What Is The Difference Between Pickleball And Paddle Tennis?

Pickleball and paddle tennis are both great recreational games that can be played by anyone; although they look similar, there are some key differences between the two sports. Pickleball is a game for all ages, while paddle tennis is more of an adult game. 

Are there any differences apart from that aspect? What is the difference between pickleball and paddle tennis in terms of court size, racquet type, ball, scoring? Read this post if you are curious about the two!

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a game that brings together elements of badminton, racquetball, and tennis. The game is played on a two-walled court, with players alternating between serving and returning shots using paddles. Players can either hit the ball by hand or paddles.

This sport was invented in 1965 in the state of Washington by Joel Pritchard and Bill Bellamy. They created this great sport when both were looking for ways to play tennis outside during their break time teaching at the University of Washington.

However, it only started to become popular until 1972 when The United States Amateur Pickleball Association published the first pickleball rulebook in 1984. They are committed to the growth and advancement of the sport.

Also Read:

What Is Paddle Tennis?

Paddle tennis

Paddle tennis is a game where you use a paddle to hit the ball; it is similar to an old British game called “shipboard” that was played on ships in the 1890s. In fact, the sport has been around for over 100 years and was originally created in the US by George de Forest Brush in 1887. People started playing this sport on playgrounds in New York City in the 1920s.

The game consists of two people per team, who alternate hitting the ball over a net with a paddle, which can be held with one or two hands. The game originally used balls that were like tennis balls, but they changed to rubber as this material is less likely to hurt players if they accidentally get hit by the ball. Also, players can keep track of the ball direction by hearing better.

What Is The Difference Between Pickleball And Paddle Tennis?

After you’ve read basic information about each type of sport, let’s jump to the core part of this post – the difference between two sports!

Difference in Court

Playing paddle tennis

The original game of paddle tennis was for children. They started this fun and exciting sport with a field that is 39 feet long by 18 inches wide.

However, some adults also enjoyed playing it, so the association made changes which resulted in an increase to 50 feet long and 20 feet wide. The line behind the net was 3 feet from the baseline, which created a service box of 10 x 22 feet. The net is 31 inches high on the west coast, with a restraint line drawn 12 feet back parallel to the net.

Playing pickleball

A pickleball court is the same size as a badminton court. It measures 44 feet long and 20 feet wide, with nets measuring 36 inches high on sidelines or “service boxes” and 34 inches in the middle.

The lines are similar in tennis – they are striped into service courts, left and right. There is also a 7-foot zone in front of the net that people cannot hit you in, called “the kitchen.”

Difference in Racquet

In both sports, you use a racquet to play both offense or defense. Both sports have rules about the size of racquets allowed for play. 

Pickleball limits the height to 17 inches; the other does not allow any racquet that is taller and shorter than 17.5 inches. It also makes pickleball more difficult to play well because you have less control over where you hit the ball when your racquet is lower to the ground.

Moreover, pickleball paddles are different from the other’s paddles. They have to be smooth totally, while the latter’s paddles can have texture or holes. Pickleball leagues use a special tool to measure how smooth it is because if the paddle has too much texture, players may have an unfair advantage.

Difference in Ball

Pickleballs are similar to Wiffle balls, which have small plastic balls and holes in them. Meanwhile, Paddle tennis is different because it uses rubber balls that don’t have as much pressure as standard tennis balls. You should look at the ball to get an idea of what the difference is.

Pickleball balls are lighter

Pickleball balls are smaller and lighter and provide lower bounce thanks to holes designed on their paddle body. The tennis ones are bigger and made from rubber, so they have more bounces than the other because of the hollow rubber core inside each ball.

Difference in Scoring System

Paddle tennis has rules that are the same as regular tennis. You can use a single or double match on the court. The service line is 3 feet from the end of the court. One difference between these games is that you must serve underhand instead of over your head; you only get one shot as well.

Pickleball has an underhand serve that you can’t bounce before hitting. Where you stand changes based on what the score is.  If it’s even, then you start on the right side of the court and go left for your opponent. In case it’s odd, start at the left side of the court and go right for your opponent (this continues until one of you commits a mistake).

The person who gets 11 points will win the game. There are also other games with different scores, like 15 or 21 points.

Difference In Serve

The serving rules for pickleball are different from the other ones. You only get to serve once, and you have to serve underhanded. Also, you can’t let your balls touch the no-volley zone when you serve. In particular, the no-volley zone is an area on the court where you can’t hit a ball from the front of your side of the net. It goes back 7 feet on both sides of the court and is called “the kitchen.”

Paddle tennis is a sport that accommodates many different styles. In this sport, you only get one chance to serve, but you can serve whichever way you want. This helps you with your strong serve style!

Paddle tennis accommodates different styles


After reading this blog post, you should have a better understanding of the difference between Pickleball and Paddle Tennis. In summary, pickleball is a great sport for those looking to stay active and have fun. It’s easy enough that anyone can do it, but difficult enough that you’ll never get bored of playing! You don’t need to be an athlete or even know how to play tennis before trying out pickleball. 

One of the most noticeable differences is that in pickleball, players use a perforated plastic ball which makes it easier to control than with a solid rubber ball. However, they both have similarities, such as their court size and scoring system. So, which sport do you think is more interesting and suitable for you?

Further reading:

Paddle tennis – Wikipedia

Paddle tennis – Wikiwand

Meet Pickleball, the next great American sport – Vox

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