Pickleball vs Tennis: What’s the Difference?

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Many newbies find it difficult to differentiate pickleball from tennis. Although these plays are not similar, their distinguishing factors don’t have rocket science to understand. Thus if you are also one of those people who want to know the differences between pickleball and tennis in detail then you will find this article helpful.

After carrying out extensive research, we compiled the 9 major differences between pickleball vs tennis. These include the court and net size, kitchen, serving rules, scoring methodology, positions, racquets vs paddles, types of balls, and the speed as well.

So what are you waiting for? Just scroll ahead and cherish yourself with the 9 major distinguishing characteristics of pickleball and tennis.

Pickleball vs Tennis

Major Differences of Pickleball vs Tennis

The main difference between pickleball and tennis is the court size. The tennis court measures about 78-36 feet. Whereas pickleball court is smaller than tennis court and measures just 44-20 feet.  Similarly, the other main difference is that the ball used for pickleball is smaller than the tennis ball. Last, the paddle used for pickleball is smooth or have holes as compared to the tennis racquet which has strings.

In this section, besides these two major differences between pickleball and tennis, you can find the details of the 9 major differences between pickleball and tennis.

Let’s dive right into it.

1. Pickleball Court vs. Tennis Court

The first major distinguishing actor of pickleball vs tennis is the size and overall layout of the court.

Pickleball Court Dimensions
Pickleball Court

The pickleball court is not that much bigger as compared to the tennis court.

In short, the tennis court is about double the average size of a pickleball court.

Accordingly, the pickleball court is about 44 feet in length and 20 feet in width. While the tennis court measures about 78 feet in length and 36 feet in width for doubles. While for singles it measures about 78 feet in length and 27 feet in width of the court.

Tennis Court Dimensions
Tennis Court

From these figures, you can easily imagine how bigger the tennis vs pickleball court could be.

Generally, you can play pickleball on a tennis court easily. Even there won’t be any problem if you play two pickleball matches at a time on the tennis court.

Additionally, the sides of the court in pickleball are called even or odd. On the other hand, in tennis, these are called deuce or ad.

2. Pickleball Paddles vs. Tennis Rackets

Pickleball Paddle vs Tennis Racket

The second major difference between Pickleball and Tennis is the paddle and racquets. Overall the pickleball paddle is much smaller in size than the tennis’s racquets.

When it comes to that the individual features of the paddle then you should know it is about 8 inches wide and 6 inches long. However, the tennis’s racquets range in size from about 27 to 29 inches.

The paddle of pickleball does not have strings. On the contrast, the tennis racquets have strings and their design or size is not limited to something specific.

The strings of pickleball paddle vs tennis racquets also differ. Accordingly, the strings of the pickleball paddle are composed of aluminum, polypro substances or graphite etc. However, the strings of tennis racquets maybe composed of kevlar, polyster, synthetic gut etc.

Besides these specifications of the pickleball paddle vs tennis racquets, it could be helpful for you that the core of the paddle is manufactured of a hollow cell resembling a honeycomb.

3. Pickleball Net vs. Tennis Net

Net plays a crucial role when it comes to pickleball vs tennis striking features.

In pickleball, you can see a net of around 34 inches in the middle and about 36 inches at the poles of the net.

Pickleball Net

However, the net of tennis measures 36 inches in the middle and about 42 inches at the poles.

Although the pickleball net is shorter than the tennis net, it’s still more difficult to make a shot through a pickleball net than a tennis net.

Its reason could be the hollow ball in the case of pickleball and a solid ball in case of tennis.

4. Pickleball Ball vs. Tennis Ball

Another major thing that differs between pickleball and tennis is the type, weight, and size of the balls.

The pickleball is made up of compact plastic and its internal part is hollow. It is also larger than the tennis ball. On the other hand, the tennis ball is heavier and does not have holes.

Pickleball ball vs Tennis Ball

Since pickleball is hollow inside that is why when it is struck it may have an unstable direction. Therefore, to avoid it, the pickleball comes with numerous holes on its outer surface.

It may be helpful for you to know that there are two types of pickleball. They can be indoors and outdoors as well.

Well, there is not much difference between these two types of pickleball. But the factor which makes them different from each other is the number of holes.

Indoor pickleball has fewer and slightly larger holes than outdoor pickleball. Also, you should know that pickleball cannot bounce to a good degree as compared to the bouncing capability of tennis.

5. Kitchen or Non-volley Zone

Another thing that makes a difference between pickleball and tennis is the kitchen or non-volley zone.

As its name shows, it means that you cannot volley a ball when standing in or on the kitchen line.

We have discussed its overview here. However, you can find its in-depth details in our previous article about what is a kitchen in Pickleball.

Well, the kitchen is a 7 ft area from both sides of the net in pickleball. It stretches along the two sides of the court.

Although you can enter or stand in the kitchen whenever you want. But if the ball is coming or you have to strike the ball then you should not enter or even touch the kitchen line.

The basic purpose of the kitchen was to make the players smash the ball. If you focus a bit then you will know that a ball cannot be hit in a good manner when you stand near the net.

Pickleball Kitchen or Non Volley Zone

In contrast, tennis does not have a kitchen. You can freely move wherever and whenever you want in tennis.

6. Scoring Procedures of Pickleball and Tennis

To your surprise, the scoring procedures of pickleball and tennis also differ greatly.

In tennis, you can score up to 21 points. But in the case of pickleball, you have the possibility of scoring up to about 11 points.

In pickleball, only the server can get points. The opponent can have the chance of scoring only when the server makes a mistake. When the server scores then the server and opponent have to shift their positions.

Besides scoring, if the math reaches 10-10 scores, then in this case it will be played further. The serving team is given a chance of earning two more points to win pickleball play.

7. Speed Difference Between Pickleball and Tennis

Speed always matters irrespective of the type of play. The same is the case with tennis vs pickleball speed.

If you are a beginner then knowing the speed difference between pickleball and tennis is surely going to surprise you.

Tennis is played with an average speed of about 100 mph. However, in pickleball, the speed varies from 25 to approximately 40 mph.

Now when the volleying is at the kitchen line then the speed would be around 30 to 40 mph.

Whereas, if the volleying is at a zone other than the kitchen then the speed would revolve around 25 to 30 mph.

In pickleball, the speed could be as high as 40 mph. But it can’t exceed this speed.

Consequently, there is a major difference between the 100-mph speed in tennis vs the 25-40 mph speed in pickleball.

8. Rules to Serve in Pickleball and Tennis

The serving rules are another differentiating factor between these two sports game. In pickleball, serve does not play that important role.

However, in tennis, you need to have a good grasp of the serving rules for making a profitable shot.

The difference between the serving rules of pickleball and tennis is the overhand serve.

In pickleball, you are not allowed to overhand serve. It was an initial rule to make the play less difficult and more winning. But in the case of tennis, you should have a good overhand serving technique.

In this way, you would be able to serve nicely in tennis. Similarly, in pickleball, you need to pay attention to the position of the ball and the spin movement. Rather than focusing on the overhand serve.

9. Positions to Play Pickleball vs. Tennis

Positions also matter most when it comes to the distinguishing factors of these two plays.

In pickleball, you have to play the game in the non-volley zone. But in tennis, you are not bound to any specific position. So that you can move freely to any position and win the shots.

Another differentiating characteristic to keep in mind is how to hit pickleball and tennis. You have to strike the pickleball when it is in front of you. But in tennis, you have to move from side to side to make a shot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pickleball Easier to Play Than Tennis?

Well, to be honest, the answer to this question may be yes for some players and maybe no for some because they have their pros and cons.

Pickleball is somewhat easy to play as compared to tennis because it does not have that many hard and fast rules but its volleying requires effort.

On the other hand, tennis needs more physical fitness because its balls and rackets carry considerably more weight.

Will Pickleball Overtake Tennis?

Although tennis has a remarkable history in the games, newly emerging pickleball has a high chance of overtaking tennis. You can understand it from the reason that since pickleball is a newly discovered game thus provides players more space to make a name in it.

Why do Most Players Prefer Pickleball Over Tennis?

If you have ever given a try to both tennis and pickleball then you will have a clear idea of your preferred choice among them.

However, irrespective of the advantages and disadvantages of both games, generally, players mostly prefer pickleball. It is because they want to enjoy something similar to tennis but don’t put much effort into following its complex rules.

Are pickleball and paddle tennis the same?

Overall, there is no major difference between paddle tennis and pickleball. You may get confused because tennis is somewhat different from pickleball.

However, regardless of simple tennis, pickleball is different from paddle tennis only in terms of the paddle. The paddle either can have holes or can be without holes.                         

Can We Use the Court of Tennis for Pickleball?

Generally speaking, you can use the tennis court for pickleball with some conditions in mind such as the height of the net and court dimensions. Accordingly, you should keep the net dimensions of pickleball in mind.

In the same way, you should also arrange the lines accurately concerning the dimensions of the pickleball court.

Conclusion of Pickleball vs. Tennis

In the long run, you would be clear about the major differences between pickleball vs tennis until now. There is nothing complex but the only features which distinguish these two plays are the court, net, paddles, serving rules, balls, positions, speed, and the non-volley zone.

Consequently, we hope that you find it helpful in understanding that pickleball is really different from tennis in some aspects.

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