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Pickleball vs Tennis - Differences and Similarities

Pickleball vs Tennis - Differences and Similarities

A growing number of people are wondering, "What's the difference between pickleball and tennis?" as pickleball's popularity soars. Why is pickleball so well-liked, and where did it originate? The following post compares pickleball with tennis, looking at the key variations and parallels between the two sports' histories, courts, equipment, and regulations. Besides, let's look at the reasons behind the high number of tennis pros quitting the game and other celebrities' investment in pickleball. 


Difference Between Pickleball and Tennis

A common question is whether "is pickleball like tennis" in terms of equipment and style of play. Although tennis vs pickleball originated from different branches of the racket-based game family tree, they have a common ancestor. While table tennis and badminton have a much longer history, pickleball has just recently emerged from these sports. The following factors can be used to describe the main distinctions between the two sports:


  • History: The sport of pickleball is significantly more recent.
  • Courts: Varying dimensions, designs, and configurations
  • Equipment: Pickleball employs hollow plastic balls and solid paddles, while tennis has string rackets with soft balls. Balls that resemble WiffleTM
  • Rules: Despite their similarities, these games are very distinct from one another. Let's take a closer look at these points:


History of Pickleball

Pickleball as a game is a relatively new sport. Two fathers in a Seattle suburb decided to create a game in the latter half of the 1960s to keep their children occupied. The field of play was the family's badminton court; however, no rackets showed up, so ping-pong paddles and a Wiffle ball were substituted. After a few weeks of fine-tuning the game and hammering out the rules, the families felt they were onto something. Pickleball quickly became popular in the neighborhood, and in just ten years, it had expanded greatly. Pickleball gained popularity during the ensuing decades and, by 1990, was performed in all 50 states.


The History of Tennis

The game known as "Real Tennis" predates tennis and remains popular today. The game known as Jeu de Paume, or the palm game, played in France before 1300, is the ancestor of modern tennis. Originally practiced with the palm, this game quickly saw the adoption of gloves by participants, and by the end of the 17th century, extremely basic "abattoirs," or strung rackets, were being used. When the servers cried out, "Tenez!" (loosely translated as "Take this!"), the English called the game "tennis" and instantly got obsessed with it. All contemporary racket and paddle games originated from this activity.


Height of Pickleball Net vs Tennis

The pickleball net's height is 34 inches in the middle and 36 inches at the posts. Tennis is different in that the net is 42 inches tall at the posts and drops to 36 inches in the center. Consequently, if a tennis net vs pickleball net, tennis has a deeper drop in the middle and is taller.


Tennis Courts vs Pickleball Courts

  • Tennis vs pickleball courts have completely distinct playing surfaces. First off, a pickleball court's surface area is around three times less than that of a tennis court. A pickleball court is 44 feet by 20 feet, while a typical tennis court is 78 feet by 36 feet.
  • Five pieces make up every side of a tennis court: two service areas, two doubles alleys, and "no-man's-land." In pickleball, there are just three parts on either side of the court: the two service zones and the 'kitchen' (NVZ).
  • The Pickleball net vs tennis net are somewhat similar. Not only are pickleball nets shorter than tennis nets because the pickleball court is half as broad, but they are similarly 6 inches lower.


Tennis Club Friction

There has been some opposition from other, stronger racket sports because of the pickleball craze that is sweeping the country and the skyrocketing demand for courts. Due to the influx of hungry pickleheads who were itching for a game on their courts, several tennis players and clubs have called for a complete ban on pickleball. Fortunately, though, pickleball and other racquet sports are flourishing side by side for the most part.


Tennis vs Pickleball Equipment

Pickleball requires very different equipment than tennis. The strings of tennis rackets are made to function similarly to springs. The pliable and supple tennis ball propels itself forward as it sinks into the strings. The strong, hollow plastic ball hits against the solid pickleball paddle surface with a smooth, uncushioned "dink." The outfits that are popular for pickleball and tennis are a lot alike for court attire. Good pickleball gloves look more similar to racquetball or golf gloves, while the best pickleball sunglasses, footwear, shirts, and skirts are almost the same as those used for tennis.


How Tennis and Pickleball Matches are Played?

The rules and strategies used in pickleball and tennis differ greatly as well. For example, pickleball serves are very different. Underhand serves must always be used according to USA pickleball rules, and they are rarely a chance to score points. Tennis players use strong overhand serves that are intended to produce an ace whenever possible.

Pickleball scoring is more similar to ping-pong than tennis. Pickleball matches are scored up to 11 points, while tennis matches are scored up to 15, 30, and 40 points. Another significant distinction is that, in pickleball matches, only the team or individual serving may score points, in contrast to tennis matches. Even if it is their chance to serve, the opposition cannot score.

It would be impossible to make a comparison between the two sports without mentioning pickleball's exclusive non-volley zone (NVZ), or "kitchen," rule. A volley, or a shot struck out of the air, is something you can never do in the kitchen with any component of your body present. While we're at it, let's not forget that tennis is more typically played as singles than pickleball, which is frequently played as a pairs game.

Tennis strokes are far more varied; they come from each side of the body and at a variety of angles. In contrast, shots in pickleball are almost usually made in the direction of the body. When comparing pickleball vs tennis court, pickleball requires significantly less running because of its smaller court, and its ball goes considerably more slowly compared to a tennis ball.

Pickleball is well known for its positive effects on mental and physical health. Even though pickleball is a less strenuous sport than tennis overall, you might be surprised at the calories that you burn when playing the game.


Why Not Play Tennis Instead of Pickleball?

So why choose paddle tennis vs pickleball? To begin with, pickleball is a considerably lower-impact sport, making it a better option for people who are concerned about their hips and knees. Pickleball is a far less frantic sport that everyone can enjoy, regardless of strength or physical condition.

As a result, pickleball is accessible to all ages, and kids can readily play pickleball with their elderly parents and vice versa. When tennis court vs pickleball, the pickleball court is also more accessible because of the court's size. Pickleball courts can be simply converted from badminton and tennis courts that are already in place to yards or driveways.

Lastly, the friendliness of pickleball is one of its main appeals and our favorite feature. A common pickleball game structure is "open-play," in which fifty or more players switch partners and games. This blending unavoidably creates a friendly environment both on and off the courts as well as a fantastic culture of social events such as picnics, barbecues, and post-pickleball parties.


Bottom Line

Even though pickleball and tennis have some distinctions, both are enjoyable racket games to play. Pickleball is ideal for you if you enjoy playing with accuracy and control! Tennis is for you if you'd prefer to play aggressively and sprint all over the court! Either racquet sport you decide to play offers fantastic chances for physical activity, competitiveness, and socializing.

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