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Pickleball vs Paddleball: The Difference Between Pickleball And Paddleball - Pakle Pickleball Company

Pickleball vs Paddleball: The Difference Between Pickleball And Paddleball

Racket sports are any sport that you use a racket to play. There are many popular sports like this such as tennis, badminton, squash, and pickleball. However, the most popular racket sport in the world is Tennis. Racket sports usually require two or four players and their main difference is equipment and court dimensions.

Pickleball is a fast-paced racket sport that combines strategy with elements of other racket sports like tennis, table tennis, and badminton. The game of pickleball uses the same size of court as badminton doubles and players use pickleball paddles to hit pickleball balls which are similar to wiffle balls.

Paddleball is a similar racket sport to pickleball, which has been gaining popularity over the years. The two sports recent popularity has led to many questions from people. One of the most common questions is the difference between pickleball and paddleball. Let’s dig in to find out.

Understanding Pickleball

Basic Rules

The rules of pickleball are a mix of ping pong and tennis rules, with several differences and inclusions. The rules of the game are quite simple. In pickleball, the player serves diagonally across the court with his underhand. Once the ball lands, a rally begins. When someone eventually loses the ball or commits a fault, the other team gets a point.

Pickleball is similar to tennis and you can play it as a doubles sport as well as singles. To do so, all you need is a complete pickleball set and a partner. Pickleball accessories don’t cost too much on the pocket, which is great news for those looking for the best pickleball paddles for beginners.

Court Size

The standard pickleball court size, whether for singles or doubles, according to the USA Pickleball regulation is 20 x 44 feet (6.10m x 13.41m). Including the areas that are out-of-bounds, the total area of play will increase to 30 x 60 feet (6.10m x 18.29m).

If you are not familiar with dimensions, a pickleball court is similar in size to a doubles badminton court. In theory, you can fit four pickleball courts into the space of a tennis court. A pickleball net is about 6 inches lower than a tennis net. According to the regulation standard, a pickleball net has a height of 36 inches at the posts and is 22 feet wide.


Scoring in pickleball is more similar to winning points in ping-pong than tennis. Only the serving team can score points in pickleball. Unless the serving team loses a round, they will keep the right to serve.  When the serving team scores, the server moves over to the other side and serves diagonally once again.

Serving Rules

Every game of pickleball starts with a serve. The serve sets the ball in play and players can rally after that. You can use rock, paper, scissors or a coin flip to determine which side will serve first. Some individuals believe that it is pickleball tradition to start serving with the northwest-facing side of the court.

Equipment Used

Every player requires a complete pickleball set to play the game. The set includes pickleball rackets, balls, nets, and a backpack for storage. The best pickleball paddles for beginners today are made of wood, graphite, plastic, or composite materials.

Pickleball balls are made using plastic, lightweight, hollow, and perforated. They have fewer holes compared to traditional wiffle balls, which makes them heavier. You can find pickleball balls of various colors. That means you can buy your favorite, whether it's blue or pink pickleball paddle.

The official USA Pickleball regulations rulebook, states that “The combined length and width of a pickleball paddle, including any edge guard and end cap, shall not exceed 24 inches (60.96 cm). Also, the paddle length cannot exceed 17 inches (43.18 cm). There is no restriction on paddle thickness”.

In other words, pickleball paddles can have a range of widths and lengths. However, the total length plus the total width must not surpass 24 inches.

Pickleball paddles with a width of between 7 and 8 inches (20.32cm) and a length of 15 - 16 inches (40.64cm) offer all-around power, control and balance. Check out our pickleball paddle buying guide to find out more about pickleball equipment.

Playing Techniques

There are several playing techniques you can utilize when playing pickleball. One popular and unique piece of pickleball gameplay is the ‘kitchen’. The kitchen is the 7-foot area on both sides of the court. Some people also call it the non-volley zone.

In this zone, you can not volley the ball. That is; shoot the ball out of the air before it bounces, while any part of your body is in the kitchen. This is one of many pickleball kitchen playing techniques that players have to be aware of when playing pickleball.

Pickleball is mostly popular in the United States. However, there are several other countries in the world where the sport is gaining in popularity. One of the sports main advantages is that people of all ages can play it as a pastime.

Understanding Paddleball

Paddleball’s history is slightly longer than that of pickleball. One of the first versions of the game, “one-wall paddleball” started off as a variation of handball. According to the history of the game, the game began when players decided to use paddles to protect their hands in a really cold winter.

Another version of the game is Four-wall paddleball. Earl Riskey invented the game at the University of Michigan in 1930. He discovered that playing racquetball using a paddle instead brought a whole new dimension to the game. Since then the game has become widely known around the world.

Rules Of The Game

The rules of paddleball are different from pickleball rules. One of the major stand-out points is that paddleball uses no net. In paddleball, opponents stand beside each other and bounce the ball off a wall, trying to make the other person miss. It’s quite easy and fun.

The first version of the game, one-wall paddleball, can be played in singles or doubles format, like tennis. Paddleball evolved from handball and is played against a single wall using a small rubber ball. The rules of paddleball are similar to handball rules.

Four-wall paddleball shares more similarities with squash. People play this variation on a slightly larger court, enclosed by four walls and a 20-foot ceiling. Between 2 to 4 players can play at a time, and the rules of the game are identical to racquetball.

Serving Rules

In paddleball, the first player serves. Serving in paddleball means striking the ball off a wall and letting it bounce to the opponent. After the serve, the next player must return the ball back off the wall.

After that, each player must return the ball to the opponent against the wall without letting it bounce on the floor more than once. In four-wall paddle tennis, the ball can strike any more than one wall during the play.


A paddleball paddle has holes in it. The holes are added to minimize air friction on the racket. This helps for a faster swing when hitting the ball to the wall. Paddleball rackets are typically rounder in shape. Their balls are usually small and soft, similar to rubber tennis balls.

Paddleball balls are slightly bigger than ping pong balls and are more similar to squash balls. Sometimes, in four-wall paddleball, players use a racquetball. Also, paddle ball is different from Padle. Padel is a game similar to tennis but is played in an enclosed court where the ball can bounce off the walls. It was invented in Mexico.

Court Size

The One Wall Paddleball Court is 34 feet long and 20 feet wide. It also has a 16-foot high wall. The short line of the court is 16 feet from the front wall and the long line is 34 feet from the front wall. The service line markers are 9 feet at the back of the short line or 25 feet apart from the front wall.

Key Differences Between Pickleball And Paddleball

Here are the main differences between paddle ball and pickleball. Firstly, a pickleball racket has a flat and untextured face. The paddle’s surface must not have any holes, indentations, rough texturing, tape, or any features that allow individuals to gain additional spin on the ball. On the other hand, a paddleball paddle has extra grip features. They usually have holes on their surface to reduce wind resistance.

Pickleball balls are also different from paddle ball balls. Pickleball utilizes a lightweight plastic wiffle ball filled with holes. Paddleball uses small and soft rubber balls. However, some people also use a racquetball or tennis ball to play it.

Scoring in pickleball is different to the two variations of paddleball. The way to serve is also different. Pickleball players serve underhand, diagonally across the court, while paddle ball players serve overhand against the back wall.

Pickleball courts are 22 ft by 40 ft, while paddleball courts range between 20-ft wide and either 34 or 40 ft long, excluding a net. When it comes to popularity, pickleball is far more popular than paddleball, with nearly 5 million players in the USA alone. Paddleball has way fewer players.


Both paddleball and pickleball are new, fast growing sports in the world. They are both games that help you make friends and have a great time. Although they share many similarities, they're many differences between pickleball and paddleball.

Do you play both paddleball and pickleball? Both racket sports have their own various unique rules and characteristics. Apart from some differences in equipment and gameplay, pickleball and paddle ball are both great sports for all ages. Tell us about your experience playing both sports.

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