Pickleball vs. Paddle Tennis – What’s The Difference? 2024 Guide


Nowadays, there is no shortage of similar sports and games played with a paddle or a racket out there, so it’s extremely easy to confuse one for the other, especially for people who are not that into sports.

The perfect examples to illustrate that are pickleball and paddle tennis. Both sports have similar aspects and can easily be mistaken, but they are not the exact same thing—there are several relevant differences that should be noted.

To save you from the confusion, we’re here to break down all the main differences. Once you read our article, you’ll have all the info you need to differentiate between pickleball and paddle tennis like a pro!

Understanding Pickleball and Paddle Tennis

Before we get into explaining the main difference between pickleball and paddle tennis, we will briefly go over what these two sports are and how you play them. That way, you will have a much easier time understanding how they differ from one another.


Pickleball is a mix of three different sports—badminton, tennis, and table tennis. This paddleball sport has the elements of all three previously mentioned ones and is played with two or four players. These are the 5 most important pickleball rules:

  1. The ball has to stay inbounds
  2. There has to be only one bounce per side
  3. Serving needs to be done at the baseline
  4. The serve must not land in the no-volley zone
  5. The game can end at 11, 15, or 21 points

Paddle Tennis

Paddle tennis is a game adapted from and similar to regular tennis, but there are a few important differences. Some of these differences include a smaller court, no doubles lanes, and a lower net. It is also easier to play and learn paddle tennis than regular tennis.

You serve by bouncing the ball on the ground and below hip height, and you score points when:

  1. The ball bounces on your opponent’s side twice
  2. Your opponent hits it into the net, outside the play area, or against one of your walls
  3. Your opponent hits the ball into his or her own grid
  4. The ball hits your opponent

Now that we’ve explained what these two sports are and how they are played, we can proceed to illustrate their similarities and differences.

Pickleball vs. Paddle Tennis – Differences

To make it easier for you to understand all the crucial differences between these two sports, we’ll list them one by one and walk you through them. Take a look at the table below to find all the info you need:

Pickleball vs. Paddle Tennis Differences Explanation
The ball One of the biggest and most obvious differences is the ball used in these two sports. The one for pickleball is made of plastic and has holes, whereas the one used for paddle tennis is a depressurized tennis ball
Court The next one on our list is the difference in the size of the court where these sports are played. Pickleball courts measure 20 x 44, which is similar to badminton courts. Paddle tennis ones are slightly bigger in size and measure 30 x 60
Score Scoring is completely different in these two sports. In pickleball, you have to score 11 points and have 2 more points than your opponent in order to win. In paddle tennis, you win the same way you would in regular tennis (you have 6 point opportunities scored at 15, 30, 40, and game)
Style The serving style in pickleball dictates that you can only serve underhand one time and the ball can’t land in the no-volley zone. In paddle tennis, you can also serve one time but you can do both underhand and overhand, whatever your preference is
Zones Pickleball has the no-volley zone (also called kitchen) 7 feet from the net on both sides where volleying is prohibited. This doesn’t apply to paddle tennis
Enclosure Both of these sports have some sort of enclosure. Pickleball typically has a fence all around the court that helps keep the ball from getting away. Paddle tennis has a special screening that keeps the bouncy ball in


Pickleball vs. Paddle Tennis – Similarities

Although these two sports have a lot of differences, some people might be curious about just how similar they really are. To shed some light on the matter, we provide you with a list of all the crucial similarities between pickleball and paddle tennis:

Style—The style of both games is pretty much the same. Both of them are played on a court and the players use rackets to hit the ball and throw it over the net

Equipment—No matter if you play pickleball or paddle tennis, you will need the same equipment. The games can’t be played without a paddle and a ball

Paddle—The type of paddle used in both sports is made of the similar or same material and it is designed in an almost identical way


As you have likely already gathered from our article, pickleball and paddle tennis are in a way both different and the same. If you like one of these, then chances are you will also like the other.

So if you are curious about which one of these two sports would be better for you, there is no one right answer. Since you could be into either one of these, our advice is to give both of them a shot and see which one you end up liking better.

With that being said, pickleball might be better than tennis in some special instances. For example, one of those instances would be if you’re wondering which sport is better for your kids—then the answer would be pickleball.

It’s less intense and generally safer since it requires less movement, so you won’t have to worry about your young ones getting injured.

In conclusion, no matter what sport you end up choosing, we hope you got all the necessary info you needed, and that you will now be able to differentiate between pickleball and paddle tennis in your sleep!




Darinka Aleksic has been writing for Tennis Tips since its launch and has been an integral part of our team. Her role is to cover topics regarding everything tennis-related around the globe. From expert equipment reviews to exercise tips and tricks, she covers all the fields with a lot of attention to detail.

Her goal is to deliver top-notch tennis content and keep you up to date with everything in the modern tennis era while also reminding you about the game’s roots and history. Sports have always been a fundamental part of her life ever since she started playing tennis at the age of seven.

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