Paddle Tennis Vs Pickleball

So, what are these two racquet games? Beginners trying to stand and find their footing in the world of racket-played games get confused, and they sometimes ask the paddle tennis vs pickleball question. If you’re in this read, you may be having a particular interest in both games. You probably want to know their similarities and differences. Don’t worry, though – this read will take care of you. You are about to find out what paddle tennis and pickleball are all about. Let’s get reading.

As a racquet game, pickleball is one sport that uses smooth paddles mostly made of wood. The game includes a net, and the plastic balls used are usually full of holes. Like tennis, pickleball players hit the holed ball over the net and back.

On the other hand, paddle tennis is played in an enclosed court that can either be outdoors or indoors. Many players of the game call it paddleball, and its plays can either do singles or double. This means that in a game of paddle tennis, you can have between two and four players. The set-up and scoring of this game are similar to that of tennis.

The History of the Two Sports

Paddle Tennis

The Episcopal minister, one Reverend Frank P. Beal, is regarded as the source of this game. As a child, he played this game he had created in the year 1898. Then, he took the sport to the city of New York. The Reverend then tried persuading the city officials to add his tennis courts (which he had already modified) to the parks back in 1915. His idea was received well and seen as a brilliant way to make the kids feeling nice. It then went ahead to become an international hit.

By the year 1923, the USPTA, or the United States Paddle Tennis Association, had already been formed. It has evolved through the years, and its equipment and court have both experienced lots of modifications.


Like paddle tennis, this one also began as a children’s entertainment thing back in 1965. Some friends of Joel Pritchard, the then representative of Washington State, created the game and included sports equipment that was vast. The family badly wanted to play badminton, but they couldn’t find a shuttlecock. What happened is that Pritchard got a Wiffle ball, which was the available thing. After adjusting to the playing net and getting a different surface to play on, pickleball entered the game scene with an immense splash. The venture was then incorporated in 1972. The USAPA or the Unites States of America Pickleball Association was formed in 1984.

These days, pickleball is not the backyard game it used to be. Many restaurants and bars have developed leagues for it. It has grown from becoming a mere children’s play to something like a serious sport for adults.

The Versus Section

This section will explain to you the differences between these two racquet games while focusing on specific aspects.

The Texture of the Paddle

Indeed, there is an excellent likeness in the paddle types used for both pickleball and paddle tennis. Even if that is the case, there is a noteworthy difference separating the paddles of the two games. The difference also shapes the gameplays.

For paddle tennis, the paddle’s texture has holes and is, for the most part, rough. This kind of form enables the ball to get compressed into the player’s racquet. There is an automatic bending of strings to offer excellent accommodation. On the flip side, the paddles used in the game of pickleball are very smooth. As a matter of fact, professional leagues or competitions of pickleball include a unique piece of equipment that assists in measuring the paddle’s smoothness. These paddles can be likened to stone walls; they help balls to get deflected. The paddles of the pickleball game have a core, which is in a honeycomb shape. The core creates a non-heavy solid surface and is covered with a solidly smooth material – the one you see all the time in pickleball games.

The Games’ Serving Styles

This is another aspect that differs and sets paddle tennis and pickleball apart. The business that goes on in pickleball is usually under a lot of scrutinies. The rules only allow one serving chance to each player, and the service must be done underhandedly. On top of that, players cannot let the ball touch a special place known as the no-volley zone as they conduct their service. This special place is an area within the court that goes backward and is marked from the net point. On both of the court’s side, it is about 7 feet deep. The area also goes by the name ‘the kitchen.’

On the other hand, paddle tennis is not as restrictive, and players find it more accommodating. While they also get a single chance to serve, they can use whichever style they want. This means that the paddle tennis players can get creative with their serving.

The Balls

Another significant difference is about the nature of the balls of pickleball and paddle tennis. In the game of pickleball, there is the use of small plastic balls. These balls are lightweight and are full of holes. The balls do not compress, meaning that they are tough. This also explains why they offer very low bounces to the players. You can liken them to Wiffle balls.

On the flip side, balls used in the game of paddle tennis are big and depressurized. Actually, they are made of quality rubber and are like regular tennis balls. This means that the balls are bouncier, which can be attributed to the rubber core (which is very hollow). If you see paddle balls, you may think they are ping pong balls, but they are not. The largeness of the ball makes paddle tennis easy to play.

The Design of the Gaming Enclosure

Both games are played in enclosed places, but that does not mean that there are no differences. The enclosure of the game of pickleball has a surrounding fence. This is intentional; the ball needs to stay with the playing space or court. The court is relatively small, and its measurements are 20 feet by 44 feet – something similar or close to a badminton court.

On the flip side, Paddle tennis is dependent on a specialized screen, which ensures that the ball stays in. This is because the paddle tennis ball moves faster than that of the game of pickleball. The court is larger than that of pickleball, which is why the game can accommodate a double style of play (with four players).

The Net in the Games

In the game of pickleball, the net that players use is relatively small. However, that shouldn’t imply that service is easy; players need to make as much effort as lawn tennis players do. For paddle tennis, the net in their court is usually ample. If you have been practicing and playing the pickleball game for a long time, you will be surprised when you switch to the lawn tennis court.

The Scoring Style of the Games

This is yet another central area of difference between paddle tennis and pickleball. Here are the scoring nuances for each game:

Paddle Tennis

The scoring methodology of this game is quite the same as that of tennis. Since you may be a beginner, however, here is its: each game of paddles tennis has scoring chances of 6 points. These chances are scored at either 40, 30, 15, and, of course, game. To form a complete game set, players need six of those games.


Beginners are likely to find pickleball scoring a challenge because it is not very straightforward. The game starts like that of paddle tennis. It goes until the gameplay’s end or when a competitor makes a mistake. Whoever gets to 11 points quicker and first is announced the winner. However, team players can decide to end the game at either 21 and 15 points.

The other rule in winning a pickleball game is that the winner needs two more points – more than the other player. So, many times, the game tends to go above 11.

A Bonus: Pickleball Versus Padel

This last section introduces the game of padel, another racket game. Unlike paddle tennis, padel is played in an enclosed court and in doubles. The courts are smaller than the ones used for playing the game of tennis. Specifically speaking, the court used to play padel is between 33 and 50% smaller than that of a tennis court.

The scoring in padel is the same as that of paddle tennis and lawn tennis. The games are played in sets of two. One of the main differences between padel and pickleball is that the gameplay can be likened to that of the squash game. The ball needs to be played off the surrounding four court walls. On the other hand, a player engaging in pickleball is only focused on the net and getting the ball over it. Then, the paddles (or racquets) used in the padel game are made of a foam-like ethylene-vinyl acetate, which is potent. The paddles have perforations. They are the same as those of lawn tennis, and a beginner would find it hard to distinguish them firsthand.

The other thing is that padel tennis is more popular worldwide as compared to pickleball.

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