What is the Difference Between Pickleball and Tennis?

What is the Difference Between Pickleball and Tennis

Pickleball and tennis games have noticeable differences even though they appear as similar sports. For example, tennis is faster-paced and more physically demanding than pickleball. The equipment used in each sport is very different from one another. Tennis courts are also larger than pickleball courts, and the tennis ball travels much faster than the plastic ball used in pickleball matches.


So, does scoring work the same way in pickleball and tennis? How is the equipment different between the two sports? How are the rules and serves different in pickleball and tennis? Finally, what makes these two sports similar?


Here is a detailed guide on the difference between pickleball and tennis.


Does Scoring Work the Same Way in Pickleball and Tennis?

Does Scoring Work the Same Way in Pickleball and Tennis

One of the main differences between pickleball and tennis is in the scoring. In a tennis match, one player will serve for the entire duration of the set. While only one side serves during a set, both players can score points. The first player wins each set in tennis when they score 4 points and win the set by 2.


In a tennis match, scoring points go as 0(love), 15, 30, 40, and game. If both players are in a tie at the 40 mark, then the set will continue until into a deuce. A deuce means that the game must have the winner win two consecutive sets to win that entire set.


In a pickleball match, only the serving side can score points. If the side receiving the service scores a point, they will be allowed to serve the next time, but they don’tdon’t receive the point. Similar to tennis, teams or players must win by at least two points. However, pickleball games are to 11 points rather than 4. Furthermore, unlike tennis, scoring increases numerical value via 1,2,3,4, etc.


How is the Equipment Different in Pickleball and Tennis?

How is the Equipment Different in Pickleball and Tennis

Typically, pickleball equipment is much lighter than tennis equipment. Although both sports are racket sports, pickleball uses a paddle, whereas tennis uses an actual racket.


Modern tennis rackets are generally made of graphite with string wrapped across them. In contrast, pickleball paddles can be made from wood, graphite, or carbon fiber. Tennis racquets are around 10 ounces, while pickleball paddles are generally around 7-8 ounces.


How Are the Balls Different in Pickleball and Tennis?

How Are the Balls Different in Pickleball and Tennis

The tennis ball has no holes and generally weighs around 2 ounces. On the other hand, pickleball is played using a plastic ball, similar to a whiffle ball. These plastic balls weigh less than an ounce and travel significantly slower than a tennis ball.


Because of these differences in equipment, tennis courts are much larger than pickleball courts. Pickleball courts are generally closer in size to a badminton court rather than a tennis court.


How are the Rules Different in Pickleball and Tennis?

How are the Rules Different in Pickleball and Tennis

One of the most notable differences between tennis and pickleball is the kitchen zone in pickleball. The kitchen zone is a non-volley zone on either side of the court close to the net. Both sides in a pickleball match can enter the no-volley zone once the ball has landed and bounced in the area. There is no such zone in tennis matches.


Another rule difference between pickleball and tennis is pickleball’s two-bounce rule. The two-bounce rule states that the ball must bounce off the ground once before being played back over the net on both the service and service return. After the service and service return, players can volley the ball without letting it bounce first.


How is the Serve Different in Pickleball and Tennis?

How is the Serve Different in Pickleball and Tennis

The last big difference between the two sports is in the serve. In tennis, players can serve very aggressively via the speed of the shot.


On the other hand, because of the smaller court and lighter ball in pickleball, all serves must be underhand. Underhand serves are typically easier to learn and much less challenging for both the serving and opposing teams. As they progress, pickleball players can learn to play their serves with more depth, speed, and spin.


How Are the Two Sports Similar?

How are the Two Sports Similar

Many fans of both tennis and pickleball classify each sport as a racquet game. Despite the difference in court size, both courts have the same shape and feature either a pickleball net or a tennis net running across the middle horizontally. Both sports feature baselines and sidelines.


Finally, both sports allow the same number of players to play games. For example, you can either singles, doubles, or one v two.


Is Pickleball Easier than Tennis?

Is Pickleball Easier than Tennis

Pickleball tends to be easier and more accessible than tennis for various reasons. Because of the smaller courts, pickleball is usually less physically demanding. Furthermore, due to the underhand serves and slower ball speed, pickleball is a much easier sport to pick up and learn. The easier learning curve is one of the main reasons that pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports.


While pickleball is generally easier to learn and play than tennis, there is still a learning curve. For example, the kitchen in pickleball tends to be confusing to new players. Since there is no kitchen in pickleball, learning and remembering how to play the kitchen tends to be challenging for new players.


Conclusion: Pickleball vs. Tennis

In conclusion, although there are similarities, pickleball and tennis are very different. Pickleball occurs on smaller court dimensions along with using lighter equipment than tennis. Because of this, the ball speed in pickleball is significantly lower than in tennis.


Along with the differences in court and equipment, there are a few differences in the rules and scoring for both games. While at least two points must win pickleball and tennis matches, pickleball is played to 11 while tennis is by winning four sets. Furthermore, in pickleball, only the serving side can score points.


The most significant differences in rules between tennis and pickleball are the no-volley zone and the two-bounce rule in pickleball. Pickleball also requires that all serves be underhanded, while tennis players can serve with an overhand swing.


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