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Though tennis is the most popular court sport, many others have been growing in popularity.

The many different court sports are all based on similar elements, with their court sizes, scoring, and even their equipment having similar features and traits.

Yet each sport is fun in its own unique way. Looking at court sports like pickleball vs. paddle tennis will allow you to see just what aspects of the sports are similar and what is different in order for you to be the best sport for you.

What is pickleball?

Pickleball is a popular sport that is similar to badminton and tennis in its design. With its growing popularity, it is becoming more easy to distinguish the sport from other court based activities.

Pickleball can be played as either doubles or singles, with the same court size and rules for both playing options. This allows you to include up to four players to complete a game.

To score, a player or team of players must reach a minimum of 11 points and have 2 points more than the opposing team or player.

The score can reach above 11 even, until a tie breaker is set or one player or team reaches the 2 point goal.

Though some of the scoring rulers differ from singles to doubles, a player or team wins the match by winning 2 of the 3 sets.

When serving, there are some strict rules to follow. There is only one opportunity for a player to serve.

If the ball is a fault, the person will not be able to try again as they would in other court sports like tennis.

When served the ball cannot also not land within the no-volley zone. The ball must have contact with the player’s paddle below their waist, too.

A player serves underhand and only the serving side can score a point which is obtained when a one player or team commits what is known as a fault.

The ball must bounce first before hit.

Equipment for pickleball

When playing pickleball the two key pieces of equipment you will need are a ball and a paddle.

The pickleball is similar to a wiffle ball in its size and shape. It is a plastic ball, small in size. Due to its size and the holes within the ball, it is very lightweight.

There is less bounce to this ball when compared to a paddle tennis ball as well.

The paddles used by pickleball players will be smooth, made of either wood, graphite, or some other composite material that is patterned with a specific core material.

Paddles can weigh anywhere from 6 to 14 ounces and must not go over 24 inches totaling the handle, paddle, and edge guard, which means 17 inches is the maximum length for just the paddle’s length.

Pickleball court and net

Pickleball is played on a badminton court, which is 30 feet by 60 feet in length. This allows the sport to be played on either an indoor or an outdoor court setting.

The size of the court works for both singles and doubles.

The net for pickleball is designed to be 34 inches in height at its center.

Each of the ends where the net connects with the poles to hold it up will be raised to a higher height of 36 inches.

How to play paddle tennis

Paddle tennis in its nature is very similar to regular tennis. The game is less technical than that of tennis but, the scoring of the game is done exactly the same.

Even the techniques and movements used to play is the same strategy of tennis.

Both tennis and paddle tennis feature similar point opportunities and matches being the best of three sets of six games.

However, there are some differences to how the sport is conducted which not only separate the sport from tennis but also from pickleball.

When serving the ball, players are given a few rules. A player can only serve once, much like pickleball.

The player serving can also toss the ball or have it bounce, from behind the paddle tennis baseline, for their serve.

But rather than needing to serve underhand, players can choose over or under for their serve style.

Whichever of these styles is picked, the player must stick with it for the rest of the game.

When playing singles and doubles, the court size will not change so players can easily find a space to play whichever game style they wish.

After each odd game is completed though, the teams will be required to switch sides of the court.

Equipment for paddle tennis

The paddles used for paddle tennis are often given a texture or perforated surface to increase the grip and spin on the paddle tennis ball.

These paddles are made with a maximum sizing of 18 inches for the paddle length. The most common material used is wood.

This is similar in size to the pickleball paddle measurements, though the surface is different.

The major difference between the two court sport’s equipment is the paddle tennis balls.

When playing the court sport, players use tennis balls. But these tennis balls feature some adjustments to their sizing.

The rubber balls are depressurized caused by the reduction of internal pressure by a puncture with a needle.

The ball should not bounce more than 33 inches or less than 31 inches when dropped from 6 feet high.

Paddle tennis court and net

The court for paddle tennis is different from nearly all other court sports. The court is built on a raised platform surrounded by nets or walls.

When the ball hits these sides, the ball is still in play.

The court has divides for its service zone area and the service boxes and is at a length of 20 feet wide and 50 feet long. This size is the same for both singles and doubles.

When compared to the size of a tennis court, nearly 4 paddle tennis courts can fit within it.

The size of the court is also smaller than pickleball courts.

The courts can be placed indoors and outdoors.

The net of the paddle tennis court is also shorter compared to the size of a pickleball. The net is 31 inches high at its center and a total of 22 feet long to fit across the court’s width.

Similarities between the sports

There are several similarities between both pickleball and paddle tennis. These similarities can encourage players to try the court sports for the first time, especially if they have played another court sport.

Though both of these sports use very different courts in both their size and their structure, the sports allow for the same court to be used by both singles and doubles.

This allows people to play the sport on the same court no matter if there are two players or four. This can be very beneficial to players as they will not need to struggle to find the proper measurements for a court.

The two court sports also need similar equipment in order to play. Beyond the basic court and net, players will also use similar paddles and need a ball.

The paddles are similar in their function and even offer similar sizes and materials in order to function. The use of a ball acting as the main scoring function is the most common trait of all court sports.

The use of a ball also offers similar styles in order to play the sport, such as the strategy for hitting the ball, speed of the ball, placement within boundary lines, and serves not allowing multiple attempts.

·       Same court for both singles and doubles

·       Both require similar equipment needs

·       Both games are played with similar styles

Pickleball vs. paddle tennis: Which is right for you?

Even with all these similarities, there are still many differences between paddle tennis and pickleball. These differences are found in the ball, rules, game length, and court measurements.

When playing pickleball, the games last longer due to a larger court size and a longer scoring need in order to accomplish a game.

Needing to reach 11 points and be 2 points ahead of your opponent can cause games to stretch for long periods of time.

The length of the court is made bigger than that of a paddle tennis court. It is the same size as a badminton court in fact, though it is still smaller than a tennis court.

The rules of the game are also different, with the main difference found in the rules of serving.

In pickleball, an underhand serve can be completed, but not an overhand serve.

Like the court, the net is also larger in size, with a few inches extended on its center.

However, the paddles used are smaller in their size restrictions and smooth on the surface.

·       Longer games with scoring system

·       Stricter rules for serving

·       Taller net height

·       Larger court size

·       Smaller paddles with smooth surfaces commonly

Paddle tennis has a shorter game that abides by the scoring rules of tennis. This makes the games shorter on average to pickleball matches.

The depressurized rubber tennis balls used also offer more bounce than that of a pickleball ball which has holes and is very lightweight.

When serving, a paddle tennis player can pick either an underhand or an overhand serve allowing them to better pick whichever serve they perform best.

The court and net are also made shorter, with the net being a few inches smaller than the pickleball and in its length.

The shorter size of the court is also made to accommodate the raised platform and added walls of the court.

The paddles for this sport are more often textured than those used for pickleball and have a slightly larger maximum length. sa

·       Shorter games with tennis rules

·       More bounce to ball

·       Underhand and overhand serve

·       Shorter net height

·       Smaller court size

·       Larger, textured paddles

Sources Consulted:

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