Pickleball vs. Badminton: The battle of racquet sports

Pickleball vs. Badminton? When it comes to sports, pickleball, and badminton have gained significant popularity in recent years. Both games offer unique features and enjoyable gameplay, attracting players of all ages and skill levels. While pickleball originated in the United States during the mid-1960s, badminton has a rich history dating back several centuries, (people first played badminton in India) and gaining widespread recognition worldwide.

In this comparison, we will explore the similarities and differences between badminton vs. pickleball, examining their rules, equipment, court dimensions, and gameplay strategies.

pickleball vs. badminton
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Rules of playing badminton and playing pickleball

Pickleball and badminton have distinct sets of rules governing gameplay.

Playing pickleball is achieved with a solid paddle and a plastic tennis ball with holes, while badminton utilizes a lightweight badminton racket and a feathered shuttlecock. In pickleball, the server must be underhand, and the ball must bounce once on each side before volleys are allowed. In badminton, the serve can be executed with an overhand motion, and there are no restrictions on volleying.

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Equipment of each competitive racket sport

The equipment used in badminton and pickleball differs significantly. To play pickleball, you require a solid paddle made of materials such as wood, composite, or graphite. The ball used is a perforated plastic ball. On the other hand, badminton employs lightweight tennis rackets, typically made of carbon fiber or aluminum, and a shuttlecock made of feathers or synthetic materials.

The plastic ball used in pickleball, often referred to as a wiffle ball, is designed to have a slower pace and more predictable trajectory, making it easier to control and allowing longer rallies.

The nets and opponent’s court: Although distinct sports, they share some common elements. Both the sports utilize nets to divide the playing area and require players to hit a ball or shuttlecock over the net into the opponent’s court.

In pickleball, a pickleball net is used, which is slightly lower in height compared to badminton nets. This lower net height in pickleball allows for closer proximity to the net and facilitates strategic shots such as dinks and drop shots.

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Badminton and pickleball courts dimensions

Pickleball and badminton courts have different dimensions. Pickleball courts measure 20 feet by 44 feet for doubles play and 20 feet by 22 feet for singles play.

The tennis court is divided into left and right service courts by a centerline and a non-volley zone (also known as the kitchen). In badminton, court dimensions are 17 feet by 44 feet for doubles badminton court and 17 feet by 20 feet for singles play. The badminton court is divided by a net into two halves.

Gameplay strategies

Strategies employed in badminton and pickleball differ due to their unique characteristics. In pickleball racket sport, players often engage in dinking, a technique involving soft shots close to the net, to gain control and set up offensive opportunities. Badminton, on the other hand, involves a faster-paced game with more emphasis on powerful smashes and deceptive shots to outwit opponents.

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Physical demands and fitness benefits

Both racket sports offer numerous health and fitness benefits.

Due to the larger badminton court size and faster pace, badminton provides a more rigorous cardiovascular workout, requiring quick movements and agility.

Pickleball, with its smaller court and slower-paced rallies, still provides an excellent workout, focusing more on muscular endurance and precision.

Accessibility and popularity of each racquet sport

Two sports have gained popularity worldwide, although their accessibility varies in different regions.

Pickleball is typically considered more accessible due to its ease of learning, smaller court, and slower pace. Badminton requires greater technical skill and agility, which can be a barrier for some newcomers. However, badminton enjoys a significant following in many countries, particularly in Asia and Europe.

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Pickleball and badminton scoring systems

Badminton and pickleball use different scoring systems.

Only the serving team can score points in pickleball, and games are typically played to 11 or 15 points. In badminton, both serving and receiving teams have the opportunity to score, and games are played to 21 points.

Playing doubles vs. singles

Both racket sports can be played in singles or doubles formats. Doubles play is more common in both sports and allows for greater strategic gameplay and teamwork. In singles play, pickleball and badminton players have more court coverage and rely on individual skill and endurance.

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Skill and technique requirements

Pickleball generally requires less technical skill compared to badminton. Pickleball players must focus on paddle control, placement, and good court positioning. In badminton, players need to master a wider range of shots, footwork, and court coverage due to the faster pace of the game.

Tactical considerations

In pickleball, players often utilize the “third shot drop” technique, where the ball is softly returned to the opponent’s half, forcing them back and creating an opportunity to move forward.

Badminton players’ tactics involve varying shot placements, exploiting opponents’ weaknesses, and adapting to the game’s fast-paced nature.

Competitive level and tournaments

Both sports have competitive circuits and tournaments at various levels, ranging from local to international events. The International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) governs the sport globally, while badminton is regulated by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and enjoys Olympic recognition.

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Injury risks and safety measures

In terms of injury risks, pickleball has a lower impact on the body due to the slower-paced rallies and softer ball used. Badminton involves more dynamic movements and higher forces exerted on the joints, increasing the risk of overuse injuries. However, both sports prioritize safety, with proper warm-ups, stretching, and maintaining good court awareness.

Social aspects and community engagement

Both badminton and pickleball foster a sense of community and social engagement.

Many clubs and recreational centers offer opportunities for players to meet, play, and socialize.

These sports provide avenues for people to develop friendships, enjoy friendly competition, and improve their physical and mental well-being.

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If you have some questions left on badminton vs. pickleball, we’re glad to answer them.

Can you play badminton on a pickleball court?

It is possible. However, due to the smaller size of the pickleball court compared to a standard badminton court, some modifications may be necessary.

As a result, the sidelines in badminton may extend beyond the boundaries of the pickleball court. Despite these differences, it is still feasible to adapt and enjoy a game of badminton on a pickleball court by making slight adjustments to accommodate the court discrepancy.

Which sport is most similar to pickleball?

The sport that is most similar to pickleball is tennis. Pickleball is often considered a smaller-scale version of tennis, featuring some similarities in terms of rules and gameplay. Both sports involve hitting a ball over a net using a racquet, and players strive to score points by strategically placing shots that the opponent cannot return.

Additionally, pickleball and tennis share concepts such as serving, volleys, and the objective of outmaneuvering opponents. However, pickleball has its unique characteristics, including a smaller pickleball court size, different equipment, and specific rules that distinguish it from tennis.

What is the difference between pickleball and ping pong?

Pickleball and table tennis, are two distinct racquet sports with notable differences:

Court and equipment: Pickleball is played indoors and outdoors, on a court with specific dimensions, typically an outdoor or indoor hard surface court. It uses a solid paddle and a plastic ball with holes. The second sport, on the other hand, is played on a smaller table with a net dividing it into two halves. Players use small, lightweight paddles and a celluloid or plastic ball.

Gameplay: Pickleball is played by hitting the ball over the net, aiming to keep it in play, and strategically placing shots to score points. The ball must bounce once on each side before volleys are allowed. Table tennis is played on a table, with players taking turns hitting the ball over the net, aiming to make the opponent miss or hit the ball out of bounds. The ball in it does not need to bounce before being returned.

Why do people like pickleball more than tennis?

There are several reasons why some people prefer pickleball to tennis:

Accessibility and ease of learning: Pickleball is often seen as more accessible and easier to learn than tennis. The smaller court, slower pace, and simplified rules make it less intimidating for beginners. Pickleball can be quickly picked up by people of various ages and skill levels, including those who may find tennis challenging to start with.

Social aspect and community: Pickleball has a strong sense of community and social engagement. Many pickleball players appreciate the friendly and inclusive atmosphere surrounding pickleball, where people can connect, play together, and form lasting friendships. The sport typically encourages social interaction and is frequently played in doubles, promoting teamwork and camaraderie.

Strategic gameplay: Pickleball offers a balance of strategy and skill. The shorter court and emphasis on placement and precision shots require players to think tactically and develop a well-rounded game plan. This aspect of pickleball can be intellectually stimulating and engaging for players who enjoy the strategic aspect of the sport.


Badminton and pickleball are captivating sports that provide players with enjoyable experiences, health benefits, and opportunities for community engagement and can be played indoors and outdoors. While pickleball is more accessible to beginners, badminton offers a faster-paced game with more technical challenges.

Ultimately, the choice between these two sports depends on individual preferences, skill levels, and the desire for a particular style of gameplay.

Whether it’s the dinking finesse of pickleball or the exhilarating smashes of badminton, both sports guarantee hours of fun and excitement for players of all ages and abilities.

Orson Carte

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