Pickleball vs paddle tennis, What’s the difference?

Are you also confused about pickleball vs paddle tennis? Although they look the same if we look at the equipment that is used to play these games, especially the handed one, means paddle tennis as the name already shows a paddle racquet having an elastic surface and holes in it. On the other hand in pickleball, the racquet is usually made of plastic. Although they have similarities there are many things that take them apart.

Let’s compare pickleball vs paddle tennis with the help of their brief introduction, the history of both games, and also the most important point the similarities and differences between them. But before discussing the difference between pickleball and paddle tennis we need to know what they really are. So let’s get the overview of both games first.

Key points for pickleball vs paddle tennis.

Introduction to Pickleball.

Pickleball is a game played as singles or doubles on a court that is 20 feet in width and 44 feet in length. It combines the elements of badminton, ping-pong, and tennis, and the shape of the court is almost the same but different in size as mentioned above.

The key point is pickleball is easy to play as compared to the games mentioned above for comparison. We can also say that pickleball is still under development as the changes in some rules could be seen in previous years as well as in the present year just to clear the loopholes like illegal serving techniques.

Historical background of pickleball.

Pickleball came into existence in the year 1965 by a group of friends who were on their summer vacations with their families. The origin of this game is an Island named Bainbridge situated in Washington. The very first step was taken by Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell when they saw their family was getting bored so they tried to set up a badminton court so that they could have a good time.

However, due to a lack of equipment, they were unable to do so. So they gathered everything available and they found a badminton net, a soft plastic ball, and paddles that were used to play ping-pong. They set the net height to 60 inches, the standard height of a badminton net.

Although, it was playable but due to the other irrelevant equipment it was hard to cross the net so they lowered it to make it easy to play. At this moment their third friend also joined them whose name is Barney McCallum.

They together formed the rules for this new game. The rules then went under several changes and still undergoing betterment for example a recent change was made by USA Pickleball in the year 2021 related to “let”. Before that, if a let happens the serve was replayed but according to new rules, the will stay continued.

Current position/condition of pickleball.

Pickleball now has around 37 million active players across the nation and is spreading at a fast speed throughout the world. People are joining this sport because this is easy to learn and play and one more positive point is that from elders to teens everyone can play it easily. This is the reason that some call it a family sport and this thing is catching the attention of many.

According to a survey held in the year 2022, the total market value of the pickleball industry is 1323.15 million and is increasing. Many tournaments were arranged by societies that are increasing the interest of people in this game.

Now pickleball has around 38,160 courts across the USA and this number is also increasing day by day. And with this positive attitude, it may become an international game soon and maybe the part of Olympic Games as well. The prize pool for the year 2023 is estimated around 9 million to 11 million for pickleball.

Let’s discuss paddle tennis.

Like pickleball, paddle tennis was also invented in the USA but in Mexico 5 years before pickleball in the year 1960. It is a mixture of squash and tennis but unlike tennis, a rubber paddle that contains holes in it is used to play this game.

In paddle tennis when one player serves the serve must land on a diagonal opposite side court and after bouncing can hit anywhere except a wire fence. But after that when a rally starts the ball can touch anything like a fence or glass after bouncing on the ground.

paddle tennis serve fault.

You can hit the ball after bouche on your own side of the glass (not on the fence) to go anywhere on the opposite side of the court. But avoid hitting it directly on the net or on the glass on the opposite without bouncing, it will be a fault. You can return the ball with a volley after bounce or after lass on your side.

Condition for winning a match of paddle tennis.

The winning condition for paddle tennis is when you win your first serve you will get 15 points on the second the points will be increased to 30 and then 40. When you win 4th serve you win a turn but if the score ties on 40 points you have to win 2 consecutive serves to win this turn.

paddle tennis set winning.

When you win 6 turns it counts as a set and to win a set you must reach 6 points with a lead of two points and in the case of 6 points on both sides the decision will made through a tiebreak. And to win a tie break get 7 points with 2 points lead.

tiebreak rule in paddle tennis

A total of 3 sets will be played in a game. The team that wins 2 sets first will be the winner of the game.

Paddle tennis winning

Pickleball vs paddle tennis (Similarities).

  1. Height of ball: In both games, the ball must be hit below the level of the waistline otherwise it will count as a fault.
  2. The serve: The serve also needs to be served from behind the baseline in both games.
  3. Serving court: The serve must land on the opposite side cross court. If it lands somewhere else in pickleball you will lose serve but in paddle tennis, you can get a second chance.
  4. Player count: Both games could be played as singles or doubles according to rules set for both terms.
  5. Rally: In both games, players can volley or smash the ball in a rally but not on serve.

Difference (pickleball vs paddle tennis).

  1. In pickleball if you fail to hit back the ball you will lose but in paddle tennis can hit it when it comes back after hitting the glass at the back.
  2. The racquet used to play pickleball is rectangular in shape and made of plastic but the used to play paddle tennis is almost round in shape and made of rubber-type material.
  3. In paddle tennis if the service is not valid (means it hits the net) you can serve again one more time, on the other hand it is not allowed in pickleball.
  4. Paddle tennis vs pickleball court size: The size of a paddle tennis court is bigger than pickleball. A standard paddle tennis court size is 32 feet 8 inches (10 meters) in width and 65 feet 7 inches (20 meters) in length. Where a pickleball court is 20 feet wide and 44 feet in length.
  5. A plastic ball that has holes in it is been used in pickleball, unlike paddle tennis where a rubber ball that has less internal pressure is used to play.

The basic difference between pickleball and paddle tennis is the 4 points mentioned above. However, there are more contradictions in the rules if we go into a deeper analysis of pickleball vs paddle tennis.

Pickleball vs paddle tennis rules difference.

Let’s discuss how is pickleball different from paddle tennis in terms of rules or strategies that are used to play.

Position of players.

This difference could be noted at the starting point of the game. As the game starts in pickleball both players on the serving side stand behind the baseline and the reason behind it, the ball must bounce once on each side after serve. After that, both players can start volleying the ball.

On the other hand in paddle tennis, it is necessary to let it bounce only on serve after a serve shot you can volley/smash a ball directly to opponent’s court.

Getting the points.

In paddle tennis the score system works similar to tennis, means either team can score during playing a round.

But in pickleball scoring works a little different way. Only serving side can score and receiving side can only get to serve next. This rules somehow make server side a little safe when its their serve that they will not lost point. But don’t forget in pickleball serving means winning.


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