Pickleball vs. Paddle tennis: Biggest Difference

Do you ever felt confusing after seeing several racquet games? If you are a newcomer, you might be experienced it. If I ask you to choose a game between pickleball vs. paddle tennis, which one will you pick? You may already know both of them or either of them. Both games have some similarities and dissimilarities.

Knowing the big differences between pickleball and paddle tennis will help you to clear up your confusion and learn deeply about the sports.

pickleball vs paddle tennis

This article will provide in-depth answers to know the differences between these two great sports and highlight some significant points. Just read on!

What is Pickleball?

Do you ever felt tired to explain a pretty strange game like pickleball to your friends? There is a similar dimension between a badminton court and a pickleball court: 44 feet long and 20 feet across. Another essential thing about the game is the “non-volley zone” or “kitchen,” which is seven feet long on each side of the net.

There are two sides on the court:  even sides and odd sides — the right side is known as the “even side while the left side is known as the “odd side.” The net height is supposed to be 36 inches on each side and 34 inches at the middle.

Most players prefer to play double on each side. The paddle of the game is similar to ping-pong sport. Most paddles have 17 inches in height, and they can be up to 24 inches long combined width and length.

Read our detailed post about pickleball and how to play

What is Paddle Tennis?

Paddle tennis or pop tennis is the closest alternative to sport to regular tennis. It has all the makings of tennis but with added elements of racquetball put it together. Everything about paddle tennis is like tennis except the smaller court. The paddle is across between tennis and squash, but it is always played as doubles. The paddle tennis players use a paddle bat instead of a tennis racket, which is 18 inches long.

In one underhand serve, you use a lower compression tennis ball that bounces a little lower, slower, and easier to control. You get longer rallies because it is more fun to play. You can play this pop tennis both outdoor and indoor. The setup and scoring system of this is almost similar to the tennis ball game.

The Differences Between Paddle Tennis And Pickleball

At first glance, you may think paddle tennis and pickleball are almost similar game. However, there are so many variances between these two sports.


There is not much equipment you need to play for a pickleball game. All you need a pickleball ball, paddle, court, and net to play the sport.

On the contrary, to play paddle tennis, you must have a paddle racquet, a ball, and a court. You can use additional accessories if you feel to use them based on your preference.

paddle Tennis And Pickleball equipment's

Paddle Texture

Both games use a similar type of paddle, but the texture is not the same. For paddle tennis, you will notice some holes and a rough design on the paddled texture. On the contrary, the pickleball paddle has a smooth surface. Moreover, the authority will measure paddles’ smoothness level using a special technology to play it for any tournament or championship.

Both paddles feature deflective stone walls to change direction after hitting the ball. The pickleball paddle’s core comes in a honeycomb shape, which makes it lightweight and helps to swing the paddle effortlessly.

paddle Tennis And Pickleball serve

The Style of Serve

The service style is another big difference between pickleball & paddle tennis. For, pickleball game, the serving rule is quite strict —players get only a single chance for serving, and they need to do it underhanded with the paddle below the waist. Additionally, servers can’t let their balls touch the seven-foot non-volley-zone because it is strictly prohibited for this sport.

On the other hand, paddle tennis doesn’t have as many strict rules as pickleball. You can serve your ball in both overhead and underhanded serving style. You are free to do it the way you feel comfortable and self-assured. For paddle tennis, you also get only a single-serve chance, but you can use it in different ways. Failing to serve the ball successfully will lead to passing balls to opponents.


Looking at both games balls will give you a quick difference about them. For pickleball games, players use lightweight balls with 26-40 round holes, and most balls are made from different types of rigid plastic for faster serving without bouncing much. When the game was invented, people used to play the sport with Wiffle balls.

On the contrary, rubber is the primary material for paddle tennis balls. They are bigger than pickleball balls, and the balls’ weight should be between 56.0g and 59.4g like a tennis ball. But paddle tennis balls are not as much depressurized as tennis balls. Most of them are made from quality rubber with a hollow rubber core to make it bouncy.

You may initially confuse yourself between ping pong balls and paddle balls since both of them look similar. However, paddle balls are a little bit bulky than ping pong balls.

Playing Surface

paddle Tennis And Pickleball court

Like many other aspects, you might mistakenly category both games with similar playing areas. But actually, they are some dissimilarity among them. For pickleball games, a fence is equipped around the playing court to restrict balls from going outside. As we mentioned earlier, the court of pickleball is similar to the badminton court, and the dimension of the court is 44 feet long and 20 feet across.

On the other hand, there is a little bit of flexibility for the paddle tennis court. You can use most tennis courts to play the game, but most courts’ standard size is 50 feet long and 20 feet across. You can use tapes to mark various lines while playing on tennis courts.

The paddle tennis game has a larger court than pickleball to make it fit for four people. There are two zones for a paddle tennis court: service boxes and service zone.

The Net

The net height of pickleball sport is comparatively smaller than paddle tennis. However, you still need to put enormous effort into serving the ball. Since paddle tennis is played on a large court, the size of the net is also bigger. You may feel a little uneasy if you are used to playing in small courts like pickleball game.

The Scoring System

There are a big differences on pickleball scoring system and paddle tennis scoring rules 

If you already played tennis, it will be a breeze for you to understand paddle tennis’s scoring system — tennis and paddle tennis have a similar scoring methodology. However, as a newbie, some of us may don’t understand it.

You have a chance to win 6 points for each game, and you need to score 15 to 30 to 40 and, of course, game to win the match. If you want to win a complete set, you need to lead a minimum of two games over a competitor and tie one game.

For pickleball games, the scoring method is a little bit complex to understand, especially for beginners. The starting point of pickleball is similar to paddle tennis, and players are supposed to play until the game end, or any play does any foul.

For a single-player, a person wins when he gets 11 points before the opponent, and the per point is considered as only one point. But when double players play the game, they can end the game at 15 or 21 points based on their mutual agreement.


Pickleball games gained immense popularity in America because it is very accessible and easy to start as a beginner. You don’t need to have a lot of skill but a lot of athleticism to play the game.

It is one of the most up-growing social sports since a lot of people play close together in various recreational clubs and parks. In addition, it is a swift sport, which incorporates a lot of skill.

Since the pickleball game is easy to play, it is a perfect option for people who don’t have agility or are not fit for other games.

Paddle tennis has not been recognized much popularity like pickleball game. In America, most people play this during the fall and winter season —they even use insulated heaters in snowy conditions to play the game.

 Since it is closely related to agility, many people don’t like to play the game. Also, people may not understand the scoring method and rules of the game properly.

Difference in Playing Techniques

It is easier to play pickleball games than paddle tennis because the whiffle ball moves slowly and less bouncy manner. However, you need more tactics instead of strength to play the game.

On the other hand, the ball of paddle tennis moves quickly than whiffle balls. As a result, you need more technical skills to execute your game plan.

Playing the games is easy because users use a lightweight and comfortable handle to play the game—it gives players a lot of accessibility to control the ball.

However, both sports have some technical difficulties, which you may not understand unless you learn them for years. It is pretty simple to play the game but very difficult to become the master of them.

Singles or Doubles

People often find themselves standing in confusion about whether to play the game singles or doubles. For a Pickleball game, you can play either singles or doubles. However, paddle tennis courts are larger than pickleball courts. If you play with doubles choice, you get a handful of companions to easily and quickly play the game. Also, you create a strong social relationship with other players while playing close to each other. Nevertheless, it is your personal opinion to play the singles or doubles.


Pickleball and paddle tennis may seem similar from the casual perspective, but there are significant differences between pickleball vs. paddle tennis. A comparison between the games makes it look similar yet vastly different.

Since each of them is an entirely different sport, the best way to know them deeply is by playing the game. When you know everything about them, you can differentiate them easily. So, play the game, and experience & explore it more!