Pickleball vs Paddle Tennis
Similarities & Differences

There are so many racket or paddle sports going around these days that it is very easy to mix things up between any two or even confuse between the rules of two sports if you, like me, play multiple sports. Most of these sports borrow a lot of their rules, playing style and equipment from each other and at times requires close inspection in order to differentiate two.

Two such sports are pickleball and paddle tennis which lead to some of those question-marks. In the piece below, we will look at the differences and similarities between pickleball and paddle tennis.

First things first though, the question a lot of people ask. Is pickleball same as paddle tennis? No, pickleball and paddle tennis are two distinct sports which have a few similarities but a lot of differences.

History of Paddle Tennis & Pickleball

Paddle tennis was invented by a Reverand of an Episcopal Minister around 1898 who took the game with him to New York where it quickly became very popular. In 1923 it got its own association in the United States Paddle Tennis Association (USPTA).

Pickleball came into existence much later wherein 1965 a family invented a game similar to the modern-day pickleball. They wanted to play badminton but did not have a shuttlecock with them so they ended up playing with a wiffle-ball and named the sport pickleball because of the inventor’s dog’s name was pickle!

What are the Similarities between the Two Sports?

The two main similarities between Paddle Tennis & Pickleball are as below,

  • Style of Play

  • Paddle Designs

Style of Play

Casual followers of racket/paddle sports can often get confused between paddle tennis and pickleball & that is with a good reason. There are many similarities between the two sports and playing style is the biggest one.

Both the games are based around hitting the ball back and forth across the net and forcing the opponent to make a mistake or scoring a point by hitting a winner. Even the court, paddle shapes and other aspects surrounding both of them can come across as pretty similar. And unless you happen to play one of these sports, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two.

Paddle Designs

Unlike other racket sports like tennis, badminton and racquetball, both paddle tennis and pickleball are played with paddles and not with rackets. A lot of the times the paddles for both are interchanged with each other.

They look similar in terms of the shape, size and the material used. So on the for a casual follower of can easily mistake one sport for another.

But the real difference is only noticeable once one takes a closer look.

The paddle designing rules for paddle tennis are much more stringent whereas a pickleball paddle has a lot more flexibility in terms of its length and width. We shall learn the difference between the two in a later section.

What are the Differences Between the Two Sports?

Despite a few similarities, there are many differences between paddle tennis & pickleball, some of them are:

  • Playing Surface & Net

  • Paddles & Balls Used

  • Paddle Texture

  • Scoring Method

  • Serving Style

  • Other Attributes in the Playing Arena

  • Popularity

We shall take a look at each of the difference in a little more detail below,


Paddle tennis and pickleball may look similar to the casual eye but there are many differences between them. Both of them have their unique rules and playing styles and different skillset and fitness levels are required in order to play them.

The best way to experience how similar or different these sports are like is to pick up a paddle of either of it and try it out for yourself. That will not only help you understand the differences between them but you may end up getting hooked to a sport for life!


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