Differences of Pickleball and Tennis

Pickleball Vs Tennis – 9 Key Differences

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Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport, yet it has many similarities to tennis. Numerous tennis players are now playing pickleball due to the similarities and distinctions between the two sports. Yet, how does pickleball vary from tennis? So in this post, we will share the major differences between pickleball vs tennis so that you can have a clear idea of both these racquet sports.

What Is Pickleball?

What draws a large number of new participants to pickleball each year?

It blends tennis features and other racquet sports, like badminton and table tennis, and is very popular (ping pong). Furthermore, pickleball players use a small perforated plastic ball (or a wiffle ball), pickleball paddles made of fiberglass and carbon fiber, a net, and the court size approximately one-fourth the size of a tennis court.

Beginners may only need a little expertise, but tennis players typically pick up the technique relatively quickly. Also, a person with tennis background can find it advantageous, as the game is quite similar.

Also, one can play pickleball both indoors and outdoors. Hence, it makes it a fantastic game for individuals looking for year-round activity.

Now let’s have a look at the major differences between pickleball and the tennis game.

Differences Between Pickleball & Tennis

Pickleball and tennis share many similarities.

In both pickleball and tennis, you need a racket or paddle with a handle and a striking face, a ball, and a court with a net. You could also regularly find yourself playing pickleball on a tennis court since many courts have been temporarily or completely modified for pickleball play.

Now, have a look at the differences.

1. The type of ball used

The ball is among the most significant differences between the sports.

Pickleball bounces low and are lighter unlike tennis ball. However, tennis balls are large, bouncing items. The rubber core of the tennis ball compresses upon impact or during fall. Hence, this is why the ball bounces and is normal in tennis.

In contrast, pickleball does not have a high bounce because they lack a solid core. Pickleballs comprises of tough plastic that might be fragile. They are not rubber, don’t compress, and have a low rebound.

Pickleball balls are susceptible to wind since they are just wiffle balls. Therefore, outdoor balls must have significantly smaller holes to stay effective as compared to indoor balls. This makes it less probable for the wind to impact the balls.

2. Pickleball Court vs Tennis Court Size

Tennis courts are significantly larger than pickleball courts. Moreover, four pickleball courts may fit within the footprint of one tennis court.

The pickleball court is 20 feet wide and measures 44 feet from baseline to baseline. Every side of the net has a 7-foot non volley zone known as the “Kitchen.” You cannot touch anything inside this region if you’ve volleyed a shot.

In contrast, a tennis court is 78 feet long and 36 feet wide. Hence, this implies far less space for running on a pickleball court.

Pickleball has several back-and-forth rallies for players of different skill levels. Although these rallies may appear fast since players are much closer together on most shots, you must be alert.

Because of a lack of control, intermediate and expert tennis player frequently engage in lengthy rallies, whereas novices engage in considerably shorter ones. Novice tennis player will spend most of the time between rallies retrieving balls.

This is not the case for beginner pickleball players because of the smaller court and more controlled ball response.

There’s also a substantial decrease in the net. Pickleball nets might appear small, but do not be deceived by their size. The difficulty in getting the ball across the net is comparable to tennis. Since the court and net are so small, it may be annoying when you cannot move the ball.

3. Serving

In pickleball, you serve diagonally across the centre line and past the non-volley zone line onto one portion of the court.

Depending on the score, the server’s turn, and the overall state of the game, you will service from right to left & left to right.

However, when playing tennis, you serve diagonally from right to left or left to right, dependent on the score, but the service box is located at the front of your opponent’s court, not the rear.

In tennis and pickleball, the return of serve may land anywhere within the opponent’s court.

Pickleball courts are the same size for both singles and doubles play, but tennis courts are 4.5 feet wider on every side for doubles play.

4. Pickleball Paddles vs. Tennis Rackets

The next distinction is between the pickleball paddle and tennis racquet.

So pickleball is played using a paddle which is an oversized ping pong paddle. Yet, for tennis, since it is a racquet sport, it uses a tennis racket. Indeed a pickleball paddle is half the length of a tennis racket.

Pickleball paddles are significantly shorter than tennis racquets, yet another key distinction is that tennis racquets feature a string bed. But a pickleball paddle features a solid surface covering the entire face, similar to a table tennis paddle.

Further, pickleball paddles are commonly constructed from plastic, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or a mix. Also, the pickleball paddle face is frequently predominantly square, and the elongated forms are predominantly rectangular. Whenever a tennis ball is struck with a tennis racquet, the ball compresses into the racquet, causing the strings to bend slightly. In pickleball, however, this does not occur.

Additionally, tennis players usually prefer the longer variants since the sweet spot is higher and more comparable to what they are familiar with when using a tennis racquet.

In addition, the pickleball paddle is now available in a wider range of grip lengths and thicknesses than tennis rackets.

The paddles are considerably simpler since the hitting zone is much nearer to the hand. Moreover, tennis players must spend considerable effort refining their grip and swing to maneuver the racquet for maximum leverage on the ball properly.

Another distinction between tennis racquets and pickleball paddles is the pickleball paddle’s core. Nowadays, composite pickleball paddles prevail. Composites are components that combine to create a single thing.

A composite paddle has three primary components: the core, the face, and the edge guard. The core is not just a solid material. For making paddles light (between 7 oz and 8 oz), honeycomb-shaped cores are built inside paddles. Further, they are hollow on the interior and have a honeycomb structure. The output is a strong and sturdy material without being too weighty. A smooth striking surface and edge guard enclose this.

5. Pickleball Net vs. Tennis Net

Now, next comes the difference between tennis and pickleball net.

Similar to most of the sport’s equipment, the pickleball net would be smaller than a tennis net. The height of a regulation pickleball net is 36 inches at both posts, with 34 inches in the center. Yet the tennis net height is 36 inches across the whole court. There is just a two-inch gap between the two nets, allowing typical tennis courts to convert into pickleball courts for a pickleball game easily.

6. Pickleball and Tennis Scoring

Surprisingly, the scoring system for pickleball and tennis also vary significantly.

You may score up to 21 points in tennis. In pickleball, though, you can score about 11 points.

Pickleball only allows the server to score points. Only if the server commits an error may the opposing team has a chance to score. Whenever the server scores, both the server and the opponent must change position.

In addition to scoring, if the math hits 10-10 scores, the game will continue. The serving team can collect two more points to win the pickleball game.

7. The Pickleball “Kitchen”

The kitchen is the non-volley zone and it applies to when playing doubles or singles. Within this zone, volleying the ball is prohibited. This prohibits striking the ball out of the air before it has rebounded.

Pickleball prohibits players from standing at the net and hitting the ball over. Moreover, this is owing to the tiny size of the court. From the net backward, the non-volley zone begins. There is a 7-foot-deep no-volley zone on both sides. Although its official name is the non-volleyball zone, everybody calls it the kitchen.

It’s a basic rule. A pickleball player cannot strike a volley from the non-volley region. Such shots are frequently the deciding factor between winning and losing.

This makes it possible to play the sport using the non-volley or kitchen rule. The kitchen distinguishes pickleball from many other racquet sports.

8. Positions to Play Pickleball vs. Tennis

Positions are also the most important differentiating feature between these two sports.

Pickleball requires that the game be played in the non-volley region. But in tennis, you are not restricted to a particular position, so you can move freely and win shots from any location.

Another important distinction to remember is how to strike the ball in pickleball and tennis. The pickleball must be struck when it is right in front of you. Yet, to hit a shot in tennis, you must travel from side to side.

9. The Double Bounce Rule

The last distinction is the double bounce rule (which isn’t applicable in tennis).

This rule’s name is quite misleading. In actuality, it has an altogether different meaning. Remember that when the ball bounces twice, the game is over. This is a crucial rule.

This rule mostly relates to the initial shots of the game. Under the double bounce rule, a ball should bounce once following the serve and again following the return.


So this is all about the differences between the two sports.

Pickleball’s popularity stems from its flexibility and accessibility. This is an easy sport to learn for those who wish to give it a shot. Even without athletic prowess, playing and enjoying yourself is possible, and a talented player may develop a rich professional career.

Moreover, pickleball games are often shorter than tennis matches, and children, adults, and senior citizens can participate. A flexible speed of play allows the game to be as leisurely, calm, and lighthearted as the player desires. Or, it may be as intense as professional sports.

However, pickleball also meets the criteria if you’re looking for a rapid, intense, and professional activity. To develop into a professional pickleball player, you must possess the same agility as tennis players. No matter what you play, enjoy the game, stay fit, and have fun!

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