Top Difference Between Pickleball and Tennis

Pickleball and tennis are undoubtedly two of the most popular racket sports played across the world. Both these sports have their own sets of similarities and differences. If you are someone who has just started playing these racket sports, you might wonder what’s the difference between pickleball and tennis. 

Pickleball and tennis are two different sports. They vary in terms of their 

  • court sizes
  • rules and techniques
  • equipment used. 

Tennis courts are longer and wider as compared to pickleball courts. The racquets used by the tennis players are heavier than the ones used by pickleball players. 

So as you can imagine, there are much more differences between the two sports which we will cover in this guide. 

Pickleball and Tennis Comparison:

First, let’s get the main and the most important question among pickleball and tennis players out of our way: Pickleball Vs. Tennis, what is the difference between the two sports?

Pickleball vs Tennis

Here are 4 main features that help us answer the question “how is pickleball different from tennis?”

  • Equipment and it’s weight 
  • Rules and techniques used 
  • Dimensions of the court
  • Player accessibility 

Equipment:

One of the significant differences that one have to consider when comparing pickleball and tennis is the type of equipment used and it’s weight. 

Pickleball vs Tennis – Paddle Power:

Pickleball’s Featherweight Advantage

Paddles in pickleball land in the 7 to 9 ounces range, making them featherlight compared to tennis racquets.

Tennis Racquets’ Heft:

On the other side of the court, tennis racquets weigh in at 11-11.5 ounces, giving them a weighty presence.

Bouncing Balls:

Pickleballs’ Light Bounce:

Weighing between 0.78 to 0.935 ounces, pickleballs bounce modestly (0 to 34 inches) compared to the tennis ball’s lofty jump (53 to 60 inches).

Pickleball vs Tennis

Here’s a noteworthy point of clarification – pickleballs are not your run of the mill Wiffle balls. Purposefully designed with 26 or 40 holes, pickleballs transcend the limitations of their Wiffle counterparts, impacting trajectory and interaction with the court surface.

Rules of the Games: 

Now, let’s dive into another very important difference between tennis and pickleball, the rulebook and the distinctive features that make each game tick.

Serving Styles: 

The serving dynamic in pickleball happens to be quite different from the tennis playbook. In pickleball, serves must be underhand, although, like tennis, a pickleball serve too have to be sent diagonally to the opponent. This adds a touch of charm to the game. 

In tennis, serves are sent being a perfect blend of underhand and overhand maneuvers, often requiring a higher technical finesse.

The Intriguing Double Bounce Rule:

In addition to all those amazing features pickleball players get to experience, there’s an very intriguing two-bounce rule in this game. In simple terms, the two-bounce rule means that the team receiving the ball must let the ball touch the ground once before hitting it back over the net, and the team serving must also wait for the ball to bounce on the ground once before hitting it again. 

So, this double-bounce rule is another factor for distinguishing pickleball from the traditional tennis serve and volley tactics.

Scoring in Pickleball is Different Than Scoring in Tennis: 

The scoring system in pickleball vs. Tennis happens to be another important feature that distinguishes the two from each other. In scoring, pickleball has its own playbook. Only the serving team can notch a point, and games typically roll to 11, requiring a two-point lead for the win.

But here’s the twist – to secure the victory, you need to be ahead by 2 points. Imagine one team hits 11 points, and the other is at 10 – the game continues until a 2-point lead is clear.

Now, let’s shift the focus to tennis. It follows a different beat, scoring with 0, 15, 30, and 40, eventually heading into a deuce. To seal the deal, a player needs 4 points for a game, 6 games for a set, and 2 sets for an overall match win.

So, despite the similar appearance of gear and courts, pickleball and tennis have their distinct scoring playlists. Pickleball’s scoring? It’s more like catching a vibe from table tennis than the traditional tennis rhythm. 

Tennis Courts are Bigger Than Pickleball Courts 

Tennis Courts are Bigger

Size does matter, especially when it comes to the dimensions of the playing arena. 

Pickleball: 

  • In court dimensions, pickleball aligns with badminton doubles courts.
  • A standard pickleball court measures 44 feet in length and 20 feet in width.
  • The net height in pickleball is 34 inches in the center (36 inches at the posts).

Tennis: 

  • In tennis, the net stands at 42 inches at the posts and 36 inches in the center.
  • Simply put, the lowest point of a tennis net is higher than the highest point of a pickleball net.
  • Tennis courts are significantly larger, nearly doubling the size of standard pickleball courts.
  • Doubles tennis matches unfold on a 78 feet by 36 feet court, while singles matches have a width of 27 feet, maintaining the same length.
  • The smaller court size in pickleball makes it a more accessible sport for beginners.

Pickleball is More Accessible Than Tennis: 

A pickleball game is much shorter than a tennis game, and people of all ages can play this game. It can be a very light, relaxed and slow paced game if you want it to be like that. But if you want it to be an intense game, pickleball also serves the purpose. 

On the other hand, tennis is generally played as a fast-paced sport and requires a high level of competency and agility. 

Why Do People Like Pickleball More Than Tennis? 

Tennis players across the globe are making the switch to pickleball, and why not? There are several reasons you too would want to switch from tennis to pickleball. A few of these reasons include: 

  • Lower-impact nature
  • Easy accessibility 
  • Social allure
  • The promise of a longer playing life

And if that’s not enough, here’s more. Pickleball doesn’t discriminate based on athletic prowess – it’s a game that anyone, regardless of fitness level, can pick up and enjoy. It’s easy to play, and you ony need a small court and a short net to start your very own pickleball game.

Conclusion: 

So, pickleball vs tennis, what’s the difference between the two sports. The distinctions between pickleball and tennis go beyond equipment weight, serving styles, and court dimensions. Each sport unfolds a unique narrative, inviting enthusiasts to explore the charms of both and perhaps find their perfect match on the court. Whether it’s the strategic bounces of pickleball or the power serves of tennis, the world of racquet sports holds something for everyone. 

FAQs

Is pickleball a white sport? 

Pickleball is largely considered a white sport. Nearly 70-80% of the people who play pickleball are white. 

Is pickleball more like ping-pong or tennis? 

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that it’s a bit of both the sports. The court size and net size of pickleball are similar to the one in ping-pong, and the pickleball does look like a wiffle ball. But the scoring system used in pickleball and the positioning is much more similar to tennis. 

Why can’t you play pickleball on a tennis court? 

You can play pickleball on a tennis court but you will have to change the dimensions of the court and the height of the net to do so. 

Is pickleball easier than tennis? 

Well, pickleball is generally considered to be easier than tennis. It is considered much more accessible and beginner-friendly than tennis due to its smaller court and less demanding physical requirements. However, the preference ultimately depends on individual preferences and skill levels.

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