Tennis vs. Pickleball – How is Pickleball Different from Tennis

Pickleball is a sport whose philosophies borrow from various sports like badminton, tennis and table tennis. There are many aspects of pickleball that make it different from other games like tennis. In tennis vs Pickleball, we can categorize the differences in minor and major categories.  Let us take a look at minor parts then we will discuss the major parts in detail.

Minor Differences of Tennis vs. Pickleball:

Components Pickleball Tennis
Double Fault No Yes
Serves Each player or side gets to serve at least once in a game. Each player or side can serve in a particular game.
Court Dimensions Different for single and double games. Same for both single and double games.
Serve Overhand serve is not allowed. Only overhand serve is allowed.
Scoreboard Contains three numbers; Team’s Score, Opponent’s Score, Serve/Return Status. Has three numbers; Sets, Games and Points.
Intensity Normal game with less intensity. An intense game with a great amount of conditioning.
Shots Playstyle Body shots are intended. Shots are hit or aimed away from the player.
Playing Field Both Outdoors and Indoors. Mostly played outdoors.

These were the minor differences between tennis and pickleball and they might seem similar games to those who don’t have experience with both games. Both games are different from each other in many ways. Not just the equipment used is different but there are also different sets of rules, playing areas and styles. Here are the major differences between pickleball and tennis:

Major Differences of Pickleball vs. Tennis

1 Types Of Ball Used

There is a major difference between the balls used in pickleball and tennis and normally tennis players get caught off-guard when playing pickleball due to the ball’s bounce. Pickleball balls are made up of plastic and don’t bounce as high as a tennis ball but focus more on airflow, unlike tennis balls that are made up of solid core to provide a better bounce. There are holes in pickleball balls to allow air to pass through for movement while tennis balls are solid and fully covered. Since tennis balls are made up of rubber they compress while struck but pickleball balls don’t as they are made up of plastic. Furthermore, two types of balls are used in pickleball, indoors and outdoors while tennis uses only one type of ball. Also, check the Best Tennis Ball Machine.

Indoor balls have large holes so that they can freely move in the air while outdoor balls have small holes so that air doesn’t affect the ball’s movement too much. Pickleballs are not as long-lasting as tennis balls because their plastic making tennis balls are made up of rubber making them last longer.

2 Paddles vs Racquets

Pickleball paddles are almost half the size of tennis racquets and paddles are rectangular whereas racquets are circular or oval. Furthermore, the racquet’s handle is bigger than the paddle’s handle. The behaviour of the paddle and racquet is also different, the paddle is made up of the core and covers its whole body while the racquet has strings that are tightly attached. When you strike the ball on paddle the ball gives off pop and is deflected while the ball when stroked on the racquet compresses and causes the string to bend. This allows more spin as the ball stays over the net of strings for a longer period in racquets whereas less spin as the ball is deflected in the paddle.

3 Pickleball Court And Net Size

The Pickleball court size is smaller than the tennis court and the tennis court offers different court sizes for double games while the pickleball has the same size for the single and double games. The official court size for pickleball is 13.41 x 6.10 meters while the court size of tennis is 23.77 x 8.32 meters. Pickleball’s net size is smaller than tennis net’s size but delivering shots over the net is harder in pickleball as it uses a plastic ball with holes while tennis use balls of rubber. Also, check the How to Practice Pickleball Alone?

4 Non-Volley Zone

The non-volley zone is the important factor that is added in the pickleball that makes it different from tennis. Tennis has freedom of movement but in pickleball, you cannot hit a volley while you are inside a non-volley zone. You can check out the non-volley zones rule and due to these rules, points are won and lost making this game competitive.

5 Playing Positions

In pickleball, you need to remain in a non-volley zone and play inside to get an advantage so you don’t sit deep in the court while in tennis you can sit deep and come over the net and go back depending on the shots. However, in pickleball you cannot sit on the baseline for a long time as over 95% of shots are won by standing close to the net in pickleball games. Here are the reasons why this happens in pickleball:

  • You can smash the high ball easily.
  • You can get to the ball quickly.
  • Easy to get the ball to another side.

In tennis, you can remain in the backside and still receive the shots and come closer to hit smashes.

6 Speed Of the Game

Tennis balls are served at a speed of 100mph while the pickleball is played on a small-sized court and using a paddle weighing around 7-9 ounces. No matter what, you can pack power into your shots in pickleball as compared to tennis. Moreover, the ball used to travel less in the air as compared to tennis balls making it harder to throw the ball over to the other side. That is why players in pickleball get closer to the net and try to win points. According to professionals in pickleball, it is more about positioning rather than power in pickleball. Also, read the How to Play Pickleball On a Tennis Court?

7 Role Of Serve And Shot Execution

Serve plays an important role in tennis while in pickleball serve doesn’t play an important role as the overhand serve is not allowed. In an overhand serve, you can pack more power and spin to the ball, however in pickleball it is not allowed so it doesn’t have a large impact on the game. In tennis, you need to serve with technique and get a point while in pickleball you just need to serve normally and try not to commit a fault. In tennis, players usually move around and hit balls moving the side of you while in pickleball you have to position yourself away from the balls to hit them. You Can also check the Best Graphite Pickleball Paddles.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is pickleball easier than tennis?

Tennis requires more physical fitness than pickleball but overall many factors make tennis hard as the balls and paddles in pickleball are of less weight. You need to put more power to get the ball over the net. The complexity level of pickleball is higher than tennis. We can not say if either of them is easier as both have different aspects.

2. Will playing pickleball hurt my tennis game?

No, there might be some areas that a pickleball can hurt the tennis of your game but also improve some of the areas. Pickleball games can improve the precision, balance and shot selection of your tennis game while affecting the power, positioning and stamina of your tennis game. You Can also check the Best Quiet Pickleball Paddles.

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