pickleball vs paddle tennis

Paddle Tennis Vs Pickleball: What’s The Difference?

Paddle tennis? Pickleball? Hmmm.

Both are fun to play. Both use paddles. Both have similar goals.

Paddle tennis (sometimes called “padel tennis”) and pickleball are two popular racket sports that share several similarities yet have some distinct differences.

Both games involve propelling a small ball over a net using a paddle, but there is much more to be considered when comparing these two activities.

For those who want to know what distinguishes paddle tennis from pickleball, this article will explore each sport’s unique rules and dynamics.

With an in-depth look at both games, readers can gain insight into which game might best suit their interests and allow them to belong within their respective communities.


What’s the Difference Between Pickleball and Paddle Tennis Court Size Dimensions?

Pickleball and paddle tennis, both racket sports, have been gaining popularity in recent years. While they share similarities with traditional tennis, they each have unique court dimensions and rules. So, what’s the difference between pickleball and paddle tennis court size dimensions? Let’s explore.

Paddle (padel) tennis court
paddle tennis vs pickleball

Paddle Tennis Court Size

Paddle tennis, also known as padel tennis, is a popular sport that combines elements of tennis, squash, and table tennis. According to the International Padel Federation (FIP), a paddle tennis court is rectangular and must measure 10 meters in width and 20 meters in length, with a tolerance of 0.5 percent. This translates to approximately 23 m x 13 m. The walls of a paddle tennis court are 3 meters high, and the net is 10 meters long, with a height of 88 cm in the middle and 92 cm at the ends. The distance between the net and the side setback lines is 6.95 meters per side. Paddle tennis is played with solid wooden paddles and a perforated plastic ball, slightly larger than a tennis ball. The game is played on an enclosed court, allowing players to use the walls to their advantage, much like in racquetball or squash.

The dimensions of a pickleball court. The kitchen line is 7 feet from the net on both sides.
The dimensions of a pickleball court. The kitchen line is 7 feet from the net on both sides.

Pickleball Court Size

On the other hand, Pickleball was founded by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum in the summer of 1965. The sport combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. A standard pickleball court is around the same size as a doubles badminton court, measuring 44 feet long (inclusive of lines) and 20 feet wide (inclusive of lines). The net height of a pickleball court is 36 inches high on the sidelines and 34 inches high in the middle. A pickleball court is striped with right and left service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone in front of the net, often referred to as the kitchen. Pickleball is played with a paddle that is larger than a table tennis paddle but smaller than a tennis racquet, often referred to as a pickleball paddle. The ball used in pickleball is a plastic ball with holes, similar to a wiffle ball.

Major Differences

The major difference between pickleball and paddle tennis court size dimensions is that a paddle tennis court is larger than a pickleball court. Another major difference is the enclosed court in paddle tennis, which allows for a different style of play, as players can use the walls to their advantage.

In conclusion, while pickleball and paddle tennis are similar in many ways, they are distinct sports with their own unique court dimensions and rules. Whether you’re a tennis player looking to try something new, or a racket sport enthusiast interested in exploring other paddle sports, both pickleball and paddle tennis offer a fun and challenging alternative to traditional tennis.

Paddles & Balls

When it comes to equipment costs, paddle tennis and pickleball, both require the use of a paddle and a ball. However, due to its size, pickleball often requires larger courts than those commonly used for paddle tennis. This can incur additional expenses in terms of court rental or construction.

Additionally, paddles used for each sport differ significantly in terms of material composition and cost; however, many players opt for specialized ‘hybrid’ paddles that are suitable for use in either activity.

pickleball balls
paddle tennis vs pickleball

The type of balls utilized also differs between paddle tennis and pickleball. Paddle tennis is typically played with smaller yellow rubberized balls, while pickleball uses perforated plastic balls like wiffleballs. The latter are more durable but tend to be slightly slower-moving than their counterpart due to air resistance through the holes in their surface. Consequently, players must adjust their strokes accordingly when transitioning from one game to another.

paddle tennis vs pickleball
padel tennis balls

There may be significant differences in the types of equipment needed depending on which sport the player chooses – financially and physically – so it’s important to consider these factors carefully before deciding which is best suited for you.

Scoring & Serving

Scoring and serving are two important aspects of the ruleset comparison between paddle tennis and pickleball.

Scoring in both games is similar; however, subtle differences can affect how a game progresses.

In paddle tennis, points are scored when one team fails to return the ball within the boundary lines of the court or commits a fault. A single game consists of 11 points or more with at least a 2-point difference for victory.

In pickleball, each side serves twice consecutively before switching sides, and the first team to score 11 points (with at least 2 point advantage) wins the game.

The main difference between paddle tennis and pickleball lies in their respective serving protocols:

  • In paddle tennis, players alternate services from different courts every five points while alternating servers after every two consecutive serves by either player or team.
  • Pickleball, on the other hand, has an established diagonal pattern for serving – starting from the right side of the court, then the left side diagonally across until reaching the opposite court’s right side, followed by returning back to the original position, thus completing one round of serve rotation cycle per game.
Your serve needs to land in the diagonally opposite service court to yours.
Your serve needs to land in the diagonally opposite service court to yours.

Players switch servers after each point scored instead of every two consecutive serves, as it is done in paddle tennis. Additionally, all serves must be made underhand in pickleball, which differs from the overhand serving permitted in paddle tennis.

These variations create unique experiences for players who enjoy either sport, providing them with distinct playing styles that cater to their individual preferences.

Strategies & Techniques

Paddle tennis and pickleball are both forms of racquet sports that have grown in popularity over the years. While they have similarities, there are also many differences between them.

Regarding skill development, paddle tennis requires more focus on hand-eye coordination and good reflexes due to its higher speed. Pickleball is considered a slower game than paddle tennis, and thus some players find it easier to learn basic skills such as serving, returning shots, and volleys.

In terms of team play, paddle tennis is typically played with two teams of two players each, while pickleball can be played with two or four people depending on whether you choose doubles or singles, respectively.

Paddle Tennis has an element of strategy involved where players must outwit their opponents by changing the pace or spin when hitting the ball; this makes for a much more strategic game than pickleball, which relies more heavily on accuracy.

No matter what sport one chooses to participate in, both require dedication and practice to improve technique and hone strategies necessary for success at either sport. With regular practice and determination, any player can become skilled enough to compete against experienced opponents at either paddle tennis or pickleball.

pickleball vs paddleball
padel ball community
Pickleball is an fun and physical game. Make sure you have the right shoes to play your best!

Popularity & Community

The popularity and community of paddle tennis and pickleball have grown in recent years as people begin to recognize each game’s unique advantages.

On a more global scale, these two sports are both widely popular across many countries due to their ease of play and fun nature.

Pickleball has become particularly popular amongst older players because it requires less movement than other racquet-based sports, making it easier for them to enjoy active recreation.

Meanwhile, paddle tennis is known for its competitive play compared to pickleball. It has built an enthusiastic online presence on social media platforms, with tournaments held at various locations.

Although different in scope and ruleset, both games offer plenty of recreational or competitive play opportunities, depending on one’s preference.

Players looking for the friendly competition will find that either sport can provide ample challenge while rewarding those who invest time in mastering its nuances.

With communities surrounding each game continuing to grow thanks to technology connecting individuals worldwide, there’s no telling what new heights they may reach in the near future.


In conclusion, paddle tennis and pickleball have become increasingly popular.

Despite their similarities, the two games have several key differences that make them unique.

Court size and dimensions vary, as do paddles and balls used in each game.

Scoring systems are different, too, with rules governing serving being distinct for each sport.

Various strategies and techniques set these games apart from one another, resulting in a competitive edge depending on which game you excel at.

Lastly, there is an active community of players dedicated to either paddle tennis or pickleball – so you can easily find others who share your enthusiasm for this classic throwback to the 70s!

So whether you’re looking for a challenge or just some fun physical activity, it’s time to grab a racket and get out there – let the ‘paddle’ wars begin!

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