Are Pickleball and Paddle Tennis the Same?

Pickleball and paddle tennis are two sports that often get confused due to their similarities. However, they have distinct differences that set them apart. In this article, we’ll delve into the characteristics of both sports to clarify whether pickleball and paddle tennis are the same.

Introduction to Pickleball

Pickleball is a relatively new sport that has rapidly gained popularity in recent years. It combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, making it a unique and engaging game.

History of Pickleball

Pickleball was invented in 1965 by three dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum – looking to entertain their children. The game started in the USA and has since spread globally, with numerous players of all ages enjoying it.

Equipment and Court

Pickleball is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes, known as a wiffle ball. The court is smaller than a tennis court, measuring 20 feet by 44 feet. The net is also lower than a tennis net, standing at 34 inches in the center.

For more detailed information on pickleball equipment, check out this comprehensive guide on pickleball equipment.

Rules of the Game

The game can be played as singles or doubles. The serve is underhand, and points can only be scored by the serving team. Games are typically played to 11 points, and a team must win by 2 points.

Introduction to Paddle Tennis

Paddle tennis, also known as platform tennis, has a longer history than pickleball and is known for its unique playing surface and equipment.

History of Paddle Tennis

Paddle tennis originated in the early 20th century in the United States. It was developed by Frank Beal in 1915 as a way to play tennis during the winter months. Over the years, the game evolved and grew in popularity, particularly in colder climates.

Equipment and Court

Paddle tennis uses a solid paddle and a depressurized tennis ball. The court is also smaller than a traditional tennis court, measuring 50 feet by 20 feet. The net is 31 inches high, slightly lower than a tennis net but higher than a pickleball net. The court has surrounding screens that keep the ball in play and add a strategic element to the game.

Rules of the Game

The game is usually played in doubles format. Like tennis, the serve is overhand, and points can be scored by either team. The scoring system follows traditional tennis rules, with games, sets, and matches.

Key Differences Between Pickleball and Paddle Tennis

Court Dimensions and Net Height

One of the primary differences between the two sports is the court size and net height. Pickleball courts are smaller, and the net is slightly lower than in paddle tennis.


While both sports use paddles, the materials and design differ. Pickleball paddles are lighter and typically made of composite materials, whereas paddle tennis paddles are heavier and solid.


Pickleball uses a plastic ball with holes, making it lighter and slower than the depressurized tennis ball used in paddle tennis.

Serving Style

Pickleball requires an underhand serve, which adds a unique twist to the game, whereas paddle tennis uses an overhand serve similar to traditional tennis.


While pickleball and paddle tennis share some similarities, they are distinct sports with different rules, equipment, and playing styles. Understanding these differences can help players choose the sport that best suits their interests and physical capabilities.

For those interested in learning more about pickleball, including taking lessons, you can explore this informative guide on pickleball lessons.

In conclusion, whether you choose pickleball or paddle tennis, both sports offer great opportunities for fun, exercise, and social interaction.