Pickleball vs. Racquetball (5 Main Differences)

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Pickleball and Racquetball are loved and played across the country. These games were invented in the 1900s (pickleball in 1965 and racquetball in 1950) and are gaining much popularity.

There are minimal similarities between these two when it comes to the basics of the games. For instance, the rules are different, and the paddles and the balls are not the same.

This article will list down all the main differences between pickleball and racquetball. But before listing the differences, we’ll look at the basics of these two games to understand everything about them better.

What Is Pickleball?

Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell invented pickleball, and it is played and loved all over the states. It is played on a court similar to the size of a badminton one with a net in the centre separating the players.

Playing Pickleball

Even though this game is easier for beginners to learn, it can become difficult with more complications for experienced players.

This game is a combination of badminton, tennis, and table tennis and can be played both indoors and outdoors.

It is also an excellent workout for everyone as it requires little to no strength to hit the ball, but it still works on most of your body while playing the game.

Though it requires no significant amount of energy, older people can also enjoy it. That’s also the reason it’s said to be a great exercise routine.

What is Racquetball?

Joseph Sobek invented the racquetball. It is most prevalent in America.

According to a google search statistics, over two-thirds of the world’s 15 million racquetball players are from America. Therefore, it is not an Olympic sport.

Unlike pickleball, this modern sport has no rule of having a net in between the players. Instead, a wall is used to bounce the ball on the court.

There are two lines present on the racquetball court, the service line and the short line.

The service line is close to the wall in the front of the court, while the short line is close to the back wall. After the server hits the ball, it must cross the short line before hitting the floor for a player to score a point.

Racquetball Match

Racquetball equipment consists of a rubber ball weighing 1.4 ounces & 40 grams. The paddle of racquetball, on the other hand, has an overall length of 19”-22” (48.3-55.9cm) having a width from 9.5”-11.5” (241.1-292.1 mm).

The handle length of the paddle is 5”-5.25” (127-133.4mm). The grip circumference is between 3.625”-4” (92.1-101.6mm).

Difference Between Pickleball and Racquetball

The main difference between pickleball and racquetball is the different rules. For instance, the scoring method is dissimilar because the pickleball game requires a 2-point lead, but racquetball has no such requirements.

The differences between these two games are pointed out below. Such as some of them are:

1. Serving & Scoring

Pickleball and Racquetball are different games making the rules of the game different from one another. For example, keeping the ball low in pickleball is a prime rule, whereas, in racquetball, the ceiling shot is considered a kill shot.

Also mentioned above, one more example is the difference in points required to win. In Pickleball, a player should score 11 points and lead the game with 2 points to win.

On the other hand, racquetball requires no such rule; whoever scores 15 points first wins the whole game. There is also no need to lead the game with 2 points.

2. Equipment (Pickleball Paddle vs Racquetball Racquets )

A paddle and a ball exist in both games. The difference is in the ball’s size, weight, material, and shape. The ball in pickleball is lighter in size, whereas the ball in racquetball is slightly heavier.

The material used to make the balls are also different. The ball in pickleball is hard and made of plastic. At the same time, the ball in racquetball is made of rubber and can be hit at a higher speed. Both of these balls are hollow inside. The ball in pickleball also has three holes on it.

The ball used in racquetball is a heavy rubber ball. And when compared to the ball used in pickleball, it is slightly heavier in weight.

The paddle in these two games is also not similar, having different lengths, sizes, and weights. It is also because of the balls used in both these games.

Pickleball Paddle And Ball
Pickleball Paddle & Ball
Racquetball Paddle And Ball
Racquetball Paddle & Ball

Here’s a table showing the different sizes and weights of both the paddle and the ball used in the two games:

The length of the handle4″-5.5″ (101.6-139.7 mm)5″-5.25″(127-133.4 mm)
The grip circumference4″-4.5″ (101.6-114.3 mm)3.625″-4″ (92.1-101.6 mm)
The size of the paddle6.5-9.5 oz (185-270 g)5.3-6.5 oz (150-185 g)
The length of the paddle24″ (61 cm)19″-22″ (49.3-55.9 cm)
Width of the paddle8 inches9.5″-11.5″ (241.1-292.1 mm)
Weight of the paddle0.8 oz to 0.9 oz1.4 oz (40 g)

3. Pickleball Net vs Racquetball Wall

In pickleball, a net separates player. But racquetball requires no such thing. Instead, a wall is used in racquetball because the game requires the players to bounce the ball to score a point.

Net is essential in pickleball because hitting it is not a good move, and doing it enough can raise the chances of you losing the game.

Pickleball Net
Pickleball Net
Racquetball Wall
Racqeutball Wall

4. The Position of the Players

Next big difference is the position that players take on the court. In pickleball, the opponents face each other, and if the game is double, the same team members stand side by side opposite their opponents.

But in racquetball, the game requires both the opponents to stand side by side, making them face the wall while hitting the ball.

Pickleball Player Standing Opposite
Pickleball Player Standing Opposite
Racquetball Players Standing side by side

5. The Physical Demands from the Players

The next difference on our list will be the physical demands of these games. In racquetball, the players should have a firm grip on the paddle. They also should be physically strong enough to hit the ball hard enough on the wall to bounce it off on the short line.

On the other hand, pickleball is easier on players’ muscles than racquetball. The paddle does not require a rugged grip; a lighter grip is required. The ball should be kept low in pickleball which needs less energy than the energy and grip needed in racquetball.

Racquetball Court Dimensions

A racquetball court is quite different from pickleball. The main reason for their difference is that the racquetball court must be enclosed with a front wall, whether it is indoor or outdoor. Similarly, its dimensions also differ greatly.

So when we talk about the court dimensions of racquetball, it is about 20 feet wide and 40 feet long. However, it should also be 20 feet high with some red lines. These lines represent the service area and serve receiving locations.

Racquetball Court Dimensions

How Big is a Racquetball & Racquetball Ball Size

The racquetball is big enough to support the practice and tournaments of its fans easily. Because it measures about 2 ⅕ inches in diameter. Therefore in this way, players find it handy due to its big size.

However, when discussing its size, racquetball is about 5.5 cm in overall size. With this size, anyone can make good shots in racquetball and hence find very few challenges in this regard.

Racquetball Equipment

Transitioning From Racquetball To Pickleball

Final Thoughts : Pickleball vs. Racquetball

In conclusion, even with these differences between pickleball and racquetball, they are both easy to learn, fun to play, and affordable sports for everyone. No differences should be reason enough for you not to play these easy and addictive games that are also good for your body physically. Choose your game and start playing.

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