Paddle Tennis vs Pickleball: What Are the Differences?

Bill Taylor
Written by
Last update:

History of the Sports

Steady on! Before you know much about each game, let’s learn about their history.

Paddle Tennis

In the early 20th century, paddle tennis was a summer pastime among many Europeans and immigrants from Europe. The game was very similar to the sport of tennis, so the rules were modified to cope with the more casual atmosphere. Pick up games were a common occurrence in parks and public venues in many European countries, as well as the United States.

By the mid-1930’s, paddle tennis had become a professional sport in France. Equipment was regularly redesigned and refined to create a lightweight racket that provided more control and easier playability. In Europe, paddle tennis declined in popularity during World War II, but was still played in some parts of the United States. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, paddle tennis games were hosted across Europe during the summer months. It was in the early 1980’s that paddle tennis became a popular sport in Singapore, and in the late 1980’s it was offered in the Summer Olympics as a demonstration sport.

Paddle Tennis

The Playground Sport You Grow Out Of

How many of you remember playing paddle tennis in middle school?

….

Readers who responded probably remember being the king or queen of the playground for a short time, but then grew tired of the game, especially when the teachers took issue with the balls landing near the playground equipment.

Paddle tennis, in it’s most basic form, is a game played on a tennis court, but with a lower net. So, really, you could say that paddle tennis is really the predecessor of the game of pickleball. We’ll get to pickleball in a moment, after you appreciate the glory and fun of paddle tennis.

The first thing you have to realize when playing paddle tennis is the ball. Paddle tennis uses a smaller ball than tennis, but… it’s not a ping pong ball. A ping pong ball, as we all know, has air between the layers of plastic. When hitting a ping pong ball with a paddle, the paddle basically becomes a bat, and the ball moves easily and fast. A paddle tennis ball is made of layers of plastic, with air in the middle. When you hit the ball with your paddle, the paddle basically becomes a small wall of plastic, and the ball slows down significantly.

Pickleball History

Invented in 1965 by duo William Russel Frisbee Jr. and Warren Frisbee, #Pickleball is a paddle sport that has become very popular in the leisure industry. Although it is still a relatively new sport, it has managed to attract a lot of attention from some major companies. For example, there are now Pickleball paddle tennis practice facilities, leagues, and tournaments. The sport was originally conceived as a fun alternative to volleyball, but it has grown into a game of its own.

Pickleball has a surfaced court that is usually made of solid PVC or concrete. It is a #singles discipline that can be played as a doubles game. This game makes use of a paddle that is one inch longer than the tennis or badminton racket. The rules are easy to learn and unlike other games, it lacks a lot of the rules that make it difficult for beginners to learn.

Paddle Tennis History

Unlike Pickleball, Paddle Tennis was invented only a short time ago, in the 1960s. It was invented by Jack Crenshaw who, along with partner Bill Bellamy, believed that players could use paddles to play tennis. Their idea soon became a reality when they built a prototype inside their garage in Florida.

The Court Dimensions of Paddle Tennis Vs Pickleball

When it comes to paddle tennis and pickleball, there are some important difference between the two. The first thing you need to know is the court dimensions and how they affect the game. As mentioned earlier the advantage of paddle tennis is that it can be played on a traditional tennis court, whereas for pickleball, the court must be larger than a badminton court.

But there are still differences in court dimensions. In paddle tennis the court is considered a court when it is 27ft x 54ft and in pickleball this size is a mid court. So it is fair to say that paddel tennis court dimensions are smaller than pickleball court dimensions.

Equipment

The paddle is made out of polypropylene material also called PP. The thickness of the material changes based on the player and determines the performance of the paddle. You can select from a wide variety of paddles. The weight of the paddle does not have a significant effect on the choice of paddle as long as it is 36inches. Anything less or more is considered children or adults equipment and hence is not ideal for serious players. The game calls for players to use a paddle that has a paddle head made of plastic or wood.

Paddling Techniques

In paddle tennis, there are a number of paddling techniques:

The players should use aggressive strokes.

Use both the forehand and backhand.

Paddle Tennis

The Playground Sport You Grow Out Of

How many of you remember playing paddle tennis in middle school?

….

Readers who responded probably remember being the king or queen of the playground for a short time, but then grew tired of the game, especially when the teachers took issue with the balls landing near the playground equipment.

Paddle tennis, in it’s most basic form, is a game played on a tennis court, but with a lower net. So, really, you could say that paddle tennis is really the predecessor of the game of pickleball. We’ll get to pickleball in a moment, after you appreciate the glory and fun of paddle tennis.

The first thing you have to realize when playing paddle tennis is the ball. Paddle tennis uses a smaller ball than tennis, but… it’s not a ping pong ball. A ping pong ball, as we all know, has air between the layers of plastic. When hitting a ping pong ball with a paddle, the paddle basically becomes a bat, and the ball moves easily and fast. A paddle tennis ball is made of layers of plastic, with air in the middle. When you hit the ball with your paddle, the paddle basically becomes a small wall of plastic, and the ball slows down significantly.

Pickleball

Pickleball has exploded on the scene since a few years after it was introduced over 50 years ago by a woodworking shop owner in Washington state.

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court with a lower net than a badminton net. It is played with a perforated plastic ball similar to the size of a wiffleball which is made of polyethylene with holes to reduce bounce.

The object of the game is to get the ball over the net and at least try to hit the floor on the opponent’s side. A point is earned when a person is serving who hits the ball into the ground on the other side of the net before the opposing person is able to return the ball over the net and into the correct court. Unlike badminton, a player can only serve a maximum of three times then they swap ends. The game can be played either one-person against a single opponent or two-against-two, or doubles and singles.

It is less of a racket sport than badminton and is played in much smaller areas than most racket sports. Normally played outdoors, it can also be played indoors if the players want to use a ball with holes in it. It does not translate well to an indoor court and is quite loud since the ball is made from very loud plastic.

The Equipment of Paddle Tennis Vs Pickleball

As an indoor and court sport with a paddle and ball, paddle tennis and pickleball are quite similar. However, paddle tennis is a more competitive game often played on a hard court. Pickleball is basically a large pick-up game played on a hard court, with players striking the ball primarily with a paddle made of wood or composite material.

The main differences between them are the size of the court, the size of the paddle and the balls used in each game.

Size of the Court

Paddle tennis is played in a square court with white lines that enable the players to keep an eye on the ball at all times and to play a multitude of shots. The court is 9 x 9 meters and is divided in half with the server standing in front of the service line. However, the front line can be changed on every single new set of games.

Pickleball courts, on the other hand, are a more rounded rectangular shape and are not divided into two halves. The service lines are not specific, and the server can decide to serve from either the right side of the court or from the left. The court is typically 20 x 4 meters and is much larger than the 9 x 9 meter paddle tennis court.

Paddle Tennis

The Playground Sport You Grow Out Of

How many of you remember playing paddle tennis in middle school?

….

Readers who responded probably remember being the king or queen of the playground for a short time, but then grew tired of the game, especially when the teachers took issue with the balls landing near the playground equipment.

Paddle tennis, in it’s most basic form, is a game played on a tennis court, but with a lower net. So, really, you could say that paddle tennis is really the predecessor of the game of pickleball. We’ll get to pickleball in a moment, after you appreciate the glory and fun of paddle tennis.

The first thing you have to realize when playing paddle tennis is the ball. Paddle tennis uses a smaller ball than tennis, but… it’s not a ping pong ball. A ping pong ball, as we all know, has air between the layers of plastic. When hitting a ping pong ball with a paddle, the paddle basically becomes a bat, and the ball moves easily and fast. A paddle tennis ball is made of layers of plastic, with air in the middle. When you hit the ball with your paddle, the paddle basically becomes a small wall of plastic, and the ball slows down significantly.

Pickleball

Pickleball has exploded on the scene since a few years after it was introduced over 50 years ago by a woodworking shop owner in Washington state.

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court with a lower net than a badminton net. It is played with a perforated plastic ball similar to the size of a wiffleball which is made of polyethylene with holes to reduce bounce.

The object of the game is to get the ball over the net and at least try to hit the floor on the opponent’s side. A point is earned when a person is serving who hits the ball into the ground on the other side of the net before the opposing person is able to return the ball over the net and into the correct court. Unlike badminton, a player can only serve a maximum of three times then they swap ends. The game can be played either one-person against a single opponent or two-against-two, or doubles and singles.

It is less of a racket sport than badminton and is played in much smaller areas than most racket sports. Normally played outdoors, it can also be played indoors if the players want to use a ball with holes in it. It does not translate well to an indoor court and is quite loud since the ball is made from very loud plastic.

Gameplay

  • Paddle tennis
  • (a.k.a. paddle ball) is played by two opposing players on a long rectangular court filled with short white strips of rubber. Just like in tennis, the object is to get the ball into the other person’s side of the court. Because the ball isn’t allowed to bounce, precision and tactics are key.

The paddle is also rectangular and considerably smaller than a tennis racket. Accuracy is important, but serving, volleying, and passing are used in combination with the paddle's size to win points.

  • Pickleball
  • is also played on a rectangular court, but it also can be played on a smaller court. The court has bumps at the service lines and can be decorated with lines.

The same player stands on both sides of the court, and all players can keep possession of the ball. (You can hit the ball more times, instead of hitting and running.)

The paddle is larger than a tennis racket, but the object is still to get the ball into the other player’s side of the court.

Playing paddle tennis or pickleball is a good way to get active and stay active. According to The World Health Organization, physical inactivity is a leading cause of disability in the world.

Paddle Tennis

The Playground Sport You Grow Out Of

How many of you remember playing paddle tennis in middle school?

….

Readers who responded probably remember being the king or queen of the playground for a short time, but then grew tired of the game, especially when the teachers took issue with the balls landing near the playground equipment.

Paddle tennis, in it’s most basic form, is a game played on a tennis court, but with a lower net. So, really, you could say that paddle tennis is really the predecessor of the game of pickleball. We’ll get to pickleball in a moment, after you appreciate the glory and fun of paddle tennis.

The first thing you have to realize when playing paddle tennis is the ball. Paddle tennis uses a smaller ball than tennis, but… it’s not a ping pong ball. A ping pong ball, as we all know, has air between the layers of plastic. When hitting a ping pong ball with a paddle, the paddle basically becomes a bat, and the ball moves easily and fast. A paddle tennis ball is made of layers of plastic, with air in the middle. When you hit the ball with your paddle, the paddle basically becomes a small wall of plastic, and the ball slows down significantly.

Pickleball

Pickleball has exploded on the scene since a few years after it was introduced over 50 years ago by a woodworking shop owner in Washington state.

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court with a lower net than a badminton net. It is played with a perforated plastic ball similar to the size of a wiffleball which is made of polyethylene with holes to reduce bounce.

The object of the game is to get the ball over the net and at least try to hit the floor on the opponent’s side. A point is earned when a person is serving who hits the ball into the ground on the other side of the net before the opposing person is able to return the ball over the net and into the correct court. Unlike badminton, a player can only serve a maximum of three times then they swap ends. The game can be played either one-person against a single opponent or two-against-two, or doubles and singles.

It is less of a racket sport than badminton and is played in much smaller areas than most racket sports. Normally played outdoors, it can also be played indoors if the players want to use a ball with holes in it. It does not translate well to an indoor court and is quite loud since the ball is made from very loud plastic.

Paddle Tennis Vs Pickleball Participation

While the United States Tennis Association (USTA) has reported significant growth over the past five years in the U.S. pickleball market, Tennis's participation rates have dropped in recent years. Pickleball, on the other hand, has exceeded estimates by the United States Pickleball Association (USPLA) for pickleball participation in the U.S. According to the USPL, pickleball participation in the U.S. is now estimated to be over one million players, with hundreds of thousands of active participants and an increasing number of new players continuing to be attracted to the sport.

Summary

Both paddle tennis and pickleball are paddle sports, but while they share the same objective of players trying to keep the ball in play, there are significant differences in the equipment and rules that set the games apart.

Tennis balls (industry standard size of 2.7 inches in diameter) are used in paddle tennis, while a less bouncy 1.75-inch diameter paddle tennis ball is used in pickleball. The red-colored paddle tennis ball was also implemented to be similar to the tennis ball in size. The paddle tennis ball's smaller diameter and lighter construction has resulted in increased power by players of paddle tennis and greater difficulty of hitting the ball.

The following rules in table tennis apply to paddle tennis:

Paddle Tennis

The Playground Sport You Grow Out Of

How many of you remember playing paddle tennis in middle school?

….

Readers who responded probably remember being the king or queen of the playground for a short time, but then grew tired of the game, especially when the teachers took issue with the balls landing near the playground equipment.

Paddle tennis, in it’s most basic form, is a game played on a tennis court, but with a lower net. So, really, you could say that paddle tennis is really the predecessor of the game of pickleball. We’ll get to pickleball in a moment, after you appreciate the glory and fun of paddle tennis.

The first thing you have to realize when playing paddle tennis is the ball. Paddle tennis uses a smaller ball than tennis, but… it’s not a ping pong ball. A ping pong ball, as we all know, has air between the layers of plastic. When hitting a ping pong ball with a paddle, the paddle basically becomes a bat, and the ball moves easily and fast. A paddle tennis ball is made of layers of plastic, with air in the middle. When you hit the ball with your paddle, the paddle basically becomes a small wall of plastic, and the ball slows down significantly.

Pickleball

Pickleball has exploded on the scene since a few years after it was introduced over 50 years ago by a woodworking shop owner in Washington state.

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court with a lower net than a badminton net. It is played with a perforated plastic ball similar to the size of a wiffleball which is made of polyethylene with holes to reduce bounce.

The object of the game is to get the ball over the net and at least try to hit the floor on the opponent’s side. A point is earned when a person is serving who hits the ball into the ground on the other side of the net before the opposing person is able to return the ball over the net and into the correct court. Unlike badminton, a player can only serve a maximum of three times then they swap ends. The game can be played either one-person against a single opponent or two-against-two, or doubles and singles.

It is less of a racket sport than badminton and is played in much smaller areas than most racket sports. Normally played outdoors, it can also be played indoors if the players want to use a ball with holes in it. It does not translate well to an indoor court and is quite loud since the ball is made from very loud plastic.

Final Thoughts

Because so many people of differing skill levels take up the game, there is a wide range of paddle tennis racks and nets available at affordable prices.

A paddle tennis rack is a sturdy yet mobile rack that can be easily installed on a permanent or temporary basis. This type of rack consists of a tube frame for mounting the rack to the court perimeter.

There are also affordable paddle tennis nets on the market that come in a variety of heights. Commonly seen with sleeves or side guides to hold the net’s height in place, they are suitable for small or large groups of players.

Tennis lovers who like the variation of the game are hooked on paddle tennis and it’s a fun, easy pastime for old and young alike.

Table Tennis

Table tennis, also known as ping pong (after the sound the ball makes when it bounces), table tennis is excellently suited for the home. There are plenty of ping pong tables in homes these days ranging from small folding ones that can fit in a closet to large and sturdy ones that are the center of attention in the family room.

Below we have focused on some of the most popular table tennis tables on the market – and the ones that are making the number one spot more than any other. Why is it so good?