Pickleball vs Paddle Tennis: What’s The Difference?

Humans have always been interested in performing physical activities. From the desire to engage in them for recreational purposes, many sports have emerged throughout the world. While most have varying discrepancies, certain sports have striking similarities, causing players to confuse them with one another. A perfect example is pickleball and paddle tennis! So, we’ve decided to take a look at pickleball vs paddle tennis, and analyze their similarities, differences, and common confusions.

These two sports are quite similar at first glance, as they share identical equipment and fairly identical rules. However, the two games are actually quite different and have several distinguishable characteristics. To clear misconceptions, let’s examine these two games individually while identifying their uniqueness.

What is Pickleball?

Introduced by three fathers living in Washington, pickleball is a fun and simple game played on a badminton court. The sport dates as far back as 1965. Quite similar to racquet sport, pickleball combines badminton, table tennis, and tennis to form an entirely new game.

The rules are simple. The game can be played with two or four players, using solid paddles typically made of wood or some other composite materials. Players try to serve a pickleball – a perforated polymer ball, with 26 to 40 round holes – over a net, and hit it back and forth until someone misses or lands the ball out of bounds.

Pickleball shares many features with other racquet sports, explaining why people inquire about the pickleball vs. paddle tennis comparisons. For example, the game uses the exact court dimensions and layout as a badminton court while using a regulation tennis net. The rules are somewhat similar to tennis as well, but with a few modifications.

What is Paddle Tennis?

Now let’s examine paddle tennis. Undoubtedly adapted from tennis, paddle tennis has been played for over a century before getting rebranded as Pop Tennis in 2015.

Paddle tennis is played on a slightly smaller court than regular tennis and doesn’t have double lanes. In addition to using a smaller court, the paddle tennis net also happens to be lower than tennis’. It is played using a solid paddle instead of a strung racquet and a depressurized tennis ball.

Paddle tennis is scored the same as tennis, but in paddle tennis, all players must serve the ball underhand.

What Are the Differences Between Pickleball and Paddle Tennis?

pickleball vs paddle tennis

The Scoring System

The scoring systems in both games are pretty different from one another. A pickleball game takes much longer than paddle tennis. To win a paddle tennis match, you need four points, while you need 11 points and a winning margin of two to win a pickleball game.

The Ball

The ball types used in each game are quite different as well. Pickleball uses plastic or polymer balls with 26 to 40 round roles in them, and paddle tennis uses rubber tennis balls. The type of balls used in pickleball vs. paddle tennis is one of the most notable differences.

The Paddles

While the balls used are different, the paddles used are the same. So regardless of which game you’re playing, it’s essential to have the best pickleball paddles.

The Net Position

Another notable difference between pickleball and paddle tennis is the net heights. While both use a smaller net than tennis, a paddle tennis net is lower than a pickleball net by 5 inches. The position of the net makes the games very unique. 

The Court Dimensions and Linings

The pickleball court dimensions are similar to that of tennis and badminton. The court has the same linings and also the doubles lane. On the other hand, paddle tennis does not have a doubles lane, making the linings a bit different and elongating the paddle tennis court size compared to pickleball. Typically, the pickleball court dimensions are 20×44 feet, while the paddle tennis court dimensions are 20×50 feet.

Do They Have Any Similarities?

Number of Players

Both pickleball and paddle tennis can be played by either 2 or 4 players. However, a pickleball court does have a designated doubles lane, while paddle tennis does not.

Serving Method

Another similarity with pickleball vs paddle tennis is that in both sports, the player must serve underhand.

Rules and Equipment

While these two sports have various discrepancies, they also have a few similarities, mainly because they are both tennis variants. Regardless of the game type, the players involved must lob a relatively small ball out of their opponent’s reach using a racket. However, the ball must touch the ground within the boundaries of the court to count as a point.

Similarly, a net divides the field in both sports, serving as a game obstacle. Additionally, pickleball and paddle tennis feature solid-framed rackets without strings, unlike other racquet sports.

Pickleball vs. Paddle Tennis Court Dimensions

Generally, while inexperienced or newbie players may think both courts are similar, they both feature technical properties that serve as their significant differences.

A paddle tennis court measures 20′ x 50′, divided into service boxes and service zones. The pickleball court measures at least 20′ x 44′. the same as a badminton court. 


Are Paddle Tennis and Pickleball the Same?

No, they aren’t the same. While they are both tennis variants, they feature significant differences, most of which have been explored in this pickleball vs. paddle tennis guide. While there are some similarities between the two, there are also considerable differences like the scoring system, type of ball used, court size, and more.

Is a Pickleball Court the Same Size as a Tennis Court?

No, a pickleball court measures 20′ x 44′, while a tennis court measures 27′ x 78′.

Is Pickleball Easier than Tennis?

This is somewhat relative, as each sport will provide a different experience for different players. We’d suggest that you try them both to find out which you like best.

How Do You Play Paddle Tennis?

To start a paddle ball game, a player serves the ball diagonally, just as it is done in the traditional tennis game, with a maximum of two serve attempts. Also, the serving player must be behind the service line, while the returning player can stand wherever they like in their half, diagonally opposite the serving player. For a successful service, the serving player must first bounce the ball and hit it below the waist level.

Whoever fails to hit the ball over the net first, or hits it out of bounds loses the point.

What Ball is Used for Paddle Tennis?

A depressurized tennis ball is used to play paddle tennis.

Final Words

So that’s all for the differences between pickleball vs paddle tennis. The popularity of pickleball has risen considerably in the past few years. The game is straightforward to play, has simple rules, and has managed to a lot of popularity over the past few years. If you think you might be interested, be sure to give it a try.

On the other hand, paddle tennis hasn’t gotten that popular compared to pickleball. We think both games are pretty fun and exciting to play. So if you’re getting to know about the games and want to try them out, we recommend both.