Pickleball vs. Paddle Tennis

Both pickleball and paddle tennis have their merits, but while they use similar equipment, they’re not exactly alike. Though folks often confuse the two, the pickleball vs. paddle tennis matchup has some distinct differences. 

This article will cover what pickleball and paddle tennis are, including their main differences and similarities.  

What is Pickleball?

The best way to describe pickleball is like playing ping pong but not on a table, and a slightly bigger ball and paddle. Players hit the ball over the net, where the winner must have 11 points or over.

It’s wooden, yet smooth paddles bounce a plastic ball with holes on a badminton-type court. Doubles or singles are options with the same court size and rules, with four players max. You can play pickleball indoor or outdoor.

Pickleball has gained popularity in the last decade because it’s easier than tennis, where beginners, kids, and older adults can enjoy the sport.

What is Paddle Tennis?

Sometimes called pop tennis, paddle ball, padel tennis, or just plain padel – paddle tennis uses a rubber ball to hit over a net with a rough-surface paddle, a large court, and screenings all around the enclosure.

Also can be played in doubles or singles with four players max. The scoring is most similar to tennis and the winning set.

Because the ball is a bouncier material, paddle tennis may not be for everyone, requiring more athleticism and technique. However, it’s more fast-paced and fewer rules, making it a fun yet challenging racket-sport.

Originally, paddle tennis was a sport played mostly during the winter but is now a year-round sport. It’s mostly played outdoors as well.

Differences: Pickleball vs. Paddle Tennis

The main differences between pickleball and paddle tennis are:

  • The Ball: Pickleball uses a ball similar to a Wiffle ball, which is plastic with holes. Paddle Tennis uses pressurized tennis balls made of rubber.
  • Scoring: In pickleball, the winner must reach 11 points and have 2 more points than their opponent, resulting in a player possibly having more than 11 points at the end. Paddle Tennis is similar to tennis, with 6 point opportunities, scored at 15, 30, 40.
  • Court Measurement: Pickleball courts are similar to badminton, measuring 20 x 44. Paddle Tennis is on a slightly bigger court that measures 30 x 60.
  • Enclosure: Pickleball has a fence around the court to keep the ball from getting away. Paddle Tennis needs specialized screening all around to keep the ball in due to its bouncier material. The screens are also useful for techniques and tricks in paddle tennis.
  • Serving Style: In pickleball, you serve underhand once, and the ball must not touch the no-volley zone. In paddle tennis, you can serve overhand or underhand.
  • Paddle Texture: Pickleball paddles are usually smooth. Paddle tennis paddles are rough with some holes.
  • Zones: Seven feet from the net on both sides of the court, there is a non-volley zone in pickleball, called the “kitchen.” The ball must bounce first before a player can initiate.

Similarities: Pickleball vs. Paddle Tennis

The main similarities between pickleball and paddle tennis include:

  • Game style: They’re racket-style games, using a ball and hitting it over the net in a tennis or badminton court.
  • Equipment: Require a ball and paddle to begin the game.
  • Type of Play: Both allow doubles and singles with four players max.
  • Paddle Design: The paddles for both pickleball and paddle tennis use similar material, mostly wood, and are identical sizes.


While there are differences and similarities between pickleball vs. paddle tennis, both are great to spend time with friends or family.

However, pickleball is an excellent choice for everyone of all ages, which is why it’s our favorite sport to play.

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