Paddle Tennis vs. Pickleball: What’s the Difference?

Initially, both of these racquet sports appear identical. They all involve the use of a ball and paddle on a defined court. Games within the genre have significantly influenced both of these games. However, the parallels between paddle tennis vs. pickleball end there.

They both have a devoted following of players of various ages, which is one thing they have in common. These games may seem similar, but they are actually quite different. 

When you understand the differences, you might find that one appeals to you more than the other. What sets these games apart? Let’s take a look.

What Are Their Similarities?

Both paddle tennis and pickleball are variations of tennis. They play in the same way. The ball must be lobbed by players on opposite sides of the court. To score a point, they must hit the ball with a racket.

The ball must touch the court within its boundaries. The field is blocked by a net, which creates an obstruction. There are no double alleys on the court, so regardless of how many people are using it, they can still use all of it.

They also share other elements that help them stand out from their predecessors. Tennis rackets have traditionally had solid frames and taut strings running through the interior.

Pickleball and paddle tennis retain the same overall design, omitting the strings. Pickleball and paddle tennis use the same structure instead of air holes or a solid paddle.

The dimensions of tennis courts are more significant than those used in either sport, making them more appealing to families with younger players.

These are some of the similarities between these games.

The Style of the Game

These sports are often confused. These two games are played in the same way. These games use paddles, while other similar sports use racquets. People who aren’t familiar with the differences may assume that pickleball or paddle tennis are the same things.

The games are also very similar. You can hit a ball back-and-forth over a net and keep score. But those who are more familiar with both will recognize the differences between them.

The Court’s Size

Although the courts may look similar to inexperienced players, this would be incorrect. Both games are appealing to players who want to change up.

The size of a paddle tennis court is 44’x20′. The court is divided into two service zones and two service boxes. It is situated on a raised platform. The court for pickleball is different. It is played on a badminton court. It must be at least 30’x60′.

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The net is 34 inches lower in the middle. The kitchen is the “no-volley zone” that extends from the net, which you cannot return a volley from this area. If you want to score, the ball must bounce first.

Basic Paddle Design

As previously stated, both paddle tennis and pickleball can be played with racquets. These racquets may look very similar. They are often made with the same materials and in similar styles. The games can be easily confused because of this.

It’s worth a second look if you spot a tennis-like game played with a paddle. You’ll likely notice some key differences if you look closely at the court or equipment. It can be fascinating to observe the differences.

Paddle Tennis vs. Pickleball: What Makes Them Different?

These are similarities between paddle tennis and pickleball, which may seem almost identical at first glance. They do, however, have many differences. Some of these distinctions are only apparent when you are in the middle of a match. Below are some of the most notable differences.

Court Dimensions

The standard size for a paddle tennis court measures 50 feet in length by 20 feet in width. A standard or purpose-built pickleball court can be as comprehensive as a paddle tennis court, but it can be six feet shorter.

This is according to regulations. Converted courts initially made for tennis might be longer than those designed for paddle tennis. They can measure 60 feet in length and 30 feet in width. They may also be used for tournaments.

Court Layout

Standard pickleball courts are slightly shorter than paddle tennis courts. They increase the difficulty by giving players less room to hit the ball. The “non-volley area” is seven feet to either side of the center. Moreover, this zone prohibits players from hitting the ball back over the net.

Paddle tennis does not have a central area, though players on the west coast might use one. The court does have a “backcourt,” which is the third of the court’s length and bracketed by a baseline and a service line. The layout is similar, with four service zones and no double alleys.

Rackets and Balls

Pickleball and paddle tennis have a single form of defense and offense. Curiously, both sports have rules regarding the size of rackets that can be used. They are limited to 17 inches in height. The second is stricter and requires that racket height cannot be greater than 17.5 inches.

Paddle Tennis vs Pickleball
Pickleball Paddle
Paddle Tennis vs Pickleball
Paddle tennis

The balls are another difference in equipment. Pickleball’s creators used Wiffle balls when it was first invented. Players now rally with more petite plastic balls with holes. Paddle tennis uses rubber balls that are less compressed than standard tennis balls.

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Scoring System

Paddle tennis was created around the turn of the 20th century. Start at “love” and move up to 15-30 to 40 to win. You’re likely to have played tennis and know the process.

Pickleball is, however, simpler and more complicated than traditional pickleball. The original game of pickleball was created in 1960.

It uses a more straightforward but more complex system. Each point counts for one, but the players must score eleven points to win.

They must achieve two points more than their opponent, just as in tennis or paddle tennis.

How players can score?

Pickleball’s scoring system takes a left turn regarding when a player can earn points. Only the team or player serving can score points in this sport. They get the point if their opponent is unable to outmaneuver them.

The serving team or player calls a fault if they can defend their side. The defender doesn’t score any points; they only get a turn at serving.

Paddle tennis is sticking with tradition once again. This gives players points for winning offense and defense. Thus, this places more pressure on the serving side to perform well.

On the other hand, pickleball encourages great shows by removing penalties for daring moves and making unusual plays.

Paddle Tennis vs. Pickleball: Conclusion

You’ll be amazed at the differences between paddle tennis vs. pickleball as you learn more about them. It is important to remember that both can keep you on your toes. You will need to be able to strategize and coordinate your strategies.

You might find that every game has its feel. Each game can have a different level of intensity. Spend some time playing each of them. You may find yourself in love with one or both.

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