Is Pickleball Like Tennis? Get to know the difference between Tennis and Pickleball

Similar techniques, the same number of players, even similar format but NO!!! You can’t entitle them as one. Even though some people mess with the different pickleball techniques and consider it the sports similar to tennis because honestly speaking, there are a lot of them. The two major ones among racquet sports are undeniably tennis and pickleball that exactly look the same in terms of gameplay. Yet, there are MASSIVE differences between Tennis and Pickleball which makes them completely poles apart. So today, we are going all the way down to discuss and highlight factors concerning how is pickleball different from tennis so the next time you play any of it, you won’t have to get surprised on the bounce. 

Basically, if we try to evaluate them on a skills basis then obviously pickleball has more perks since it is way easier than tennis. It requires the least effort and anyone despite any age can quickly learn the game. However, as of what sportsmanship asks, tennis is more challenging and more fun and thus requires a bit of a hard job to actually play it like a pro. Regardless of their difference, we can’t rate them two as to which one is better but it is to decide which player should opt for which sport according to the various attributes of both the games. So, let’s get started. 

Difference of equipements:

The major difference between the two types of sports is; that they are played with different pieces of equipment. Well, for the pickleball you need paddles while tennis is played with the racquet. Though, these look kind of similar in appearance unless you hold them into your hand or read the below text. 

Paddles vs racquets:

Paddles, just how cute the name is, are cute in physique as well. They are lightweight, manageable, and smaller in size as compared to the racquets. The handles of pickleball are shorter while the surface is pretty much square whereas racquets have more of an oval shape. These paddles are just another reason, the game gets the resemblance with paddleball, another racket sport. Though, you may consider going through pickleball vs paddleball to differentiate between the two.  

Paddles vs racquets

Considering these techs, the power of both the tackles varies i.e racquet because its weight possesses more power while the paddles produce less. Additionally, racquets have more reach than the paddles which is why it is played in a vast court. It’s not wrong if we say pickleball paddles are the ping pong paddles in a bigger size and you don’t need a table to play with them! 

Tennis balls vs Pickleball balls:

As said above, pickleball paddles are delicate and so, the balls they are played with are made flimsy too. Whereas, tennis balls are a bit hard having fibrous felt on the outside. In addition, tennis balls bounce better than pickleball ones. Well, we have made this chart to will help you better understand the differences between the two.

Tennis balls vs Pickleball balls
Tennis ball Pickleball ball 
Diameter 2 ⅞ – 3 inches 2.57 – 2.7 inches 
Weight 0.8 – 1.2 ounces 2 – 3 ounces 
Colors Fluorescent yellow Any consistent color 

Other than that, the balls of the pickleball are approved by the USAPA. On the other hand,  the International Tennis Federation is responsible for Tennis balls. 

Pickleball Vs Tennis Court:

Is pickleball played on a tennis court? You must have heard those tennis maniacs constantly asking questions like these. The simple answer is “NO” and the reason is, there are many differences between pickleball vs tennis courts. However, on the following two bases, the courts of the two games differ from each other. 

Pickleball court
Tennis Court:


Because pickleball is played in a smaller area, hence its dimension is also condensed in size. Compared to tennis which can be played on gigantic length of 78 feet long and 27 feet wide (for singles) and 36 feet wide (for doubles), pickleball is played on a court that is 20 x 44 inches whether you play singles or doubles. This is why a tennis court makes 4 Pickleball courts, which also is the leading cause behind pickleball vs. war. Though you can relate them to the badminton courts, they are entirely alike. 

Pickleball court dimensions

Also, the built is quite different in pickleball. There’s this word kitchen, yes “KITCHEN”, which is the non-volley zone. It is 7” from the nets on each side and entails several rules within. However, tennis does not have such limitations and variations. 


So cliche but yeah, nets also vary for both sports. Here again, pickleball has the lower one while tennis is allocated with the higher one. As we to the specifications, tennis nets are set 3 feet in the center while pickleball nets are hung at 34 inches in the middle and 36” at the end. 

pickleball has lower nets


Well, things are not as they look like and so is the case with tennis vs pickleball. They look super similar yet the gameplay is entirely different. Though, many players shifting their tennis game to pickleball might face difficulties because of the following key factors. 



There are two things related to bounce that you are to remember. The first one is, the ball has to bounce on both sides of the court as of the pickleball rules before you get to start volleying. Besides, tennis has no such rules, you can start volleying as soon as the game starts. 

Bounce rule

Other than this, the “bounce” in pickleball is pretty low. Since the ball is of plastic and possesses low-bounce potential. However, this is what helps anyone to manage these balls and play the game effectively. Besides, tennis balls require bounces amazingly as well as swings quite well too yet the skill is needed to be there. 

Sink vs dink:

Pickleball paddle deflects instead of compressing when in contact with the ball. Well, there’s a lot more to this science so have some patience because the paddles have not. Tennis balls tend to get “compressed” with the racket’s surface and thus they possess more capability to swing. However, the paddle’s surface is smooth that pops off immediately, and has no such perks. You have to hit the ball quickly back and forth. Though, this is the reason it’s fast and more fun because one time you’re dinking, easy, simple, and smooth; and the other time the court gets all fired up with the pace shots one after another. 

Singles and Doubles:

Though, both the games are played in singles and doubles but Pickleball, exclusively, plays in “Doubles” there are the least chances that you spot people playing pickleball in singles. However, tennis is more fun while playing singles pother than in doubles. Well, that’s more of a personal preference and but believe it or not, the real vibe is playing doubles for pickleball and singles for tennis. 

playing double pickleball

The kitchen line:

Yikes, the most abnormal yet distinctive rule of pickleball. However, this is what makes it unique from tennis and other racket sports the most. In pickleball, players are to stand at the non-volley zone line (we mentioned above what a non-volley zone is). There is no baseline concept in pickleball as in tennis and this is why the majority of the players freak out. Also, because of the reach, players are recommended to stay there (without touching the line). Here shots are easy to hit, easy to return, and thus it makes it easy to win the game. 

kitchen non valley zone


Fun is not enough, you need to WIN the game. Although, in pickleball, scoring also involves a number of faults being counted in minus and the positive pones to be counted only on the serving side. Unlike tennis, it is only played to 11 points and won by the difference of 2. 

Speaking of the tennis side, there are three sets out of which the sides have to win the game. The points are generally given as 15, 30, 40, and yes, the game point. There is this “love” concept which simply means zero at which the player starts the game. 

scoring in pickleball

The faults in tennis are also, not returning the serve, getting the ball bounce twice, getting into the zone meant for the doubles. Whereas pickleball faults very differently. You can’t enter in the non-volley, cannot touch the line, have to be careful about ball below the waist, and that you may read on how pickleball is played without making faults.


So that was all about the difference between tennis and pickleball. Having different equipment, courts, playing styles, both the racket sports vary from each other excessively. Also, we are certain that with all these facts and information, you must have decided which pole you wanna get stuck with and how to play each with respect to their dissimilarities. 

Not to brag about it, but pickleball as compared to all the racket sports, let alone with tennis, is wholesome nearly having characteristics of each of them and this is what actually makes pickleball a really exciting addicting game in all the racket sports. However, that’s just our personal opinion, you definitely won’t be arrested for liking tennis more. So, with the provided facets, play and ace the game of your choice!

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