Pickleball is a Combination of What Three Sports?

Pickleball, what an odd name for a sport, right? But did you know that pickleball is actually a combination of not one, not two, but three different sports? Yes, you heard it right! Pickleball is a combination of wiffle ball, tennis, and badminton. If you’re scratching your head wondering how that works, don’t worry, we are about to dive into all the juicy details. So let’s get started! 

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a game where you hit a plastic ball over a net with a paddle. It is played on a small court. Pickleball has gotten really popular because it’s easy to learn, fun to play, and a great way to stay active and make friends.

What is Pickleball a Combination of?

Well, as we discussed earlier as well, pickleball is actually a combination of wiffle ball, tennis, and badminton. But what does that really mean? Let’s break it down.

First up, wiffle ball. If you have ever played wiffle ball in your backyard, you will know that it involves hitting a plastic ball with holes using a plastic bat. Pickleball takes inspiration from wiffle ball with its use of a similar type of ball, albeit a bit larger, and a paddle instead of a bat.

Next, tennis, the classic game of tennis, with its courts, rackets, and fierce volleys. Pickleball shares many similarities with tennis, including the court dimensions and the overhand serve. But don’t worry, you won’t need to cover as much ground in pickleball as you do in tennis, making it a bit easier on the legs!

Last but not least, badminton. You might be wondering how a sport played with a shuttlecock and lightweight rackets fits into the mix. Well, pickleball incorporates elements of badminton with its use of a similar net height and the concept of volleying, where players hit the ball before it bounces.

Pickleball vs Tennis:

Pickleball vs Tennis

Pickleball and tennis are related to each other in multiple ways, but let’s see what makes them different from one another. 


In tennis, you use a big racket with strings to hit a fuzzy ball. But in pickleball, you trade the racket for a paddle and the fuzzy ball for a plastic one with holes. 

Court Size:

Tennis courts are big, like really big. You might feel like you need a pair of roller skates just to get from one side to the other. In tennis, the court is quite spacious, measuring 78 feet in length and 36 feet in width for singles matches, and 78 feet by 27 feet for doubles matches. 

In contrast, a pickleball court dimension is much smaller, measuring just 44 feet in length and 20 feet in width. This makes it easier to cover ground and reach the ball. 

Net Height:

In tennis, the net stands tall and proud, at a height of 3 feet (0.91 meters) at the center and 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 meters) at the posts.

However, in pickleball, the net is lower, standing at a height of 36 inches (0.91 meters) at the sidelines and 34 inches (0.86 meters) at the center. This gives you a better chance of getting your ball over without breaking a sweat. 

Scoring System:

Tennis has a scoring system that can get a bit confusing, with words like “love” and “deuce” flying around. But in pickleball, it’s simple: just count up to 11 and make sure you win by at least two points.  Although there are some other pickleball scoring rules you might want to learn, it’s mostly like playing a game of numbers without the headache!

Pickleball vs Wiffle Ball: 

Pickleball vs Wiffle Ball

The second sport pickleball has most similarities with is the wiffle ball. So let’s see what are the key differences between the two sports. 


In a wiffle ball, you grip a skinny plastic bat to hit a ball with holes in it. But in pickleball, you switch out the bat for a paddle and the wiffle ball for a larger plastic ball with holes. 

Court Size:

Wiffle ball fields are not too big, not too small. In wiffle ball, the size of the field can vary, as it’s often played in backyards or open spaces without strict regulations. However, a typical wiffle ball field is much smaller than a standard pickleball or tennis court. It can range from around 20 to 30 feet in width and 40 to 60 feet in length. But a standard pickleball court measures about 44 feet in length and 20 feet in width.

Net Height:

In wiffle ball, there’s no net to worry about – just try to avoid hitting the ball into the neighbor’s yard! But in pickleball, there’s a net that’s lower than in other sports, making it easier to smack that ball over without straining your arm. In wiffle ball, it’s all about avoiding obstacles; in pickleball, it’s about finesse over the net.

Scoring System:

Wiffle ball keeps it simple: hit the ball, run the bases, and score some runs. But in pickleball, it’s a bit more strategic. You’ve got to hit the ball over the net and score points by outplaying your opponents. And while wiffle ball is all about runs, pickleball’s scoring system is more about counting points up to 11, with a little twist to keep things interesting.

Pickleball vs. Badminton: 

Pickleball vs. Badminton

Last but not least, let’s see how pickleball is different from badminton. 


In badminton, you use a lightweight racket to hit a shuttlecock over the net. But in pickleball, you swap the racket for a paddle and the shuttlecock for a plastic ball with holes. 

Court Size:

Both badminton and pickleball courts share the same dimensions, measuring about 44 feet in length and 20 feet in width for singles matches, and 44 feet by 20 feet for doubles matches. Although they have the similar court size, the gameplay and atmosphere on these courts are much much different, offering unique experiences for players of each sport.

Net Height:

In badminton, the net stands tall and imposing, measuring 5 feet high at the center and tapering down to 5 feet 1 inch at the posts. But in pickleball, the net is lower and friendlier, standing at just 36 inches high at the sidelines and 34 inches at the center. 

Scoring System:

Badminton has a scoring system that goes up to 21 points, with players needing to win by a margin of at least two points. Pickleball, on the other hand, keeps it simple: play to 11 points and win by two. It’s like scoring goals in soccer versus shooting hoops in basketball – both games have their own rhythm and rules, but the goal is always to come out on top!

Why is it Called Pickleball?

Now that we have covered pickleball is a combination of what sports, let’s address the elephant in the room: why is it called pickleball? Well, according to the history of pickleball, pickleball was invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell. It is said that the sport was named after the inventor’s dog, Pickles, who had a habit of chasing after the ball during games. Whether or not that’s true, the name certainly adds a very odd touch to the sport!

When it comes to mastering pickleball, pickleball skills are most related to wiffle ball, tennis, and badminton and can certainly come in handy. The hand-eye coordination required for a wiffle ball can be used very well in pickleball, as does the footwork and timing from tennis. Additionally, if you have a good command over the quick reflexes and strategy from badminton, it can give you an edge on the pickleball court.


Pickleball is played on what type of court?

Pickleball is played on a rectangular court, which is similar in size to a badminton court. The court dimensions of both the pickleball court and the badminton court are approximately 44 feet in length and 20 feet in width for both singles and doubles matches.

Is pickleball like ping pong?

The two sports have quite a lot of similarities, both 
involve hitting a ball with a paddle. However, they are different sports. Pickleball is played on a larger court with a lower net, while ping pong is played on a table with a higher net.

When and where was the game of pickleball invented?

The game of pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. It was invented by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum as a fun and family-friendly activity to enjoy in their backyard. Since its discovery, this sport has gained immense popularity. 

What sports is pickleball a combination of?

Pickleball is considered to be a combination of wiffle ball, tennis, and badminton. It has some elements from each of these sports to create a fast-paced and exciting game. This type of game appeals to players of all ages and skill levels.

Bottom Line

In short, Pickleball may seem like an unusual name for a sport, but don’t be fooled. It is a very unique combination of wiffle ball, tennis, and badminton. It offers a fun and engaging experience for players of all ages and skill levels. And why not, it uses a much smaller court than tennis, is easy to learn for beginners, is a great exercise, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. So what are you waiting for? Grab a paddle, hit the court, and see for yourself why pickleball is one of the most popular sports. 

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