While both paddleball and pickleball are played with paddles and were influenced by tennis, the court size, equipment, rules, and scoring vary for each sport.
What are the Main Differences between Paddleball vs Pickleball?
Paddleball and pickleball have a few things in common but are entirely different sports. To start with, they were created 50 years apart. Paddleball, which was invented in 1915, is much older than pickleball, which first debuted in 1965.
Paddleball was created by a minister named Frank Peer Beal in New York while trying to create games for neighborhood kids to play.
The first paddleball tournament was held in 1922, and an official regulatory association was formed in 1923 called the United States Paddle Tennis Association or USPTA. By the 1950s, more than 500 cities were playing the game throughout America.
Paddleball is also called “paddle tennis” and was rebranded in 2015 to be called POP tennis.
Pickleball was created in 1965 by Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell while trying to find something fun for their families to do.
The first pickleball tournament was held in 1976. Since then, it has become a widely popular game and is currently the fastest-growing sport in the United States.
Paddleball Paddles vs Pickleball Paddles
Unlike the racquet sports of tennis and racquetball, which use a racquet with strings, both pickleball and paddleball use a paddle that looks more like an oversized ping pong paddle.
- Made from wood, graphite, or composite materials
- The paddle core can be made from Nomex, polymer, or aluminum
- Solid paddle facing that can be slick or textured
- Feature a rectangular shape with rounded corners
- The best pickleball paddles typically have an interior built in a honeycomb pattern
- Edge guards are commonly used to protect the paddle edges
- Standard paddles are 16 inches long by 8 inches wide
- Constructed with a solid form of carbon fiber, fiberglass, or graphite
- Memory foam core
- Have holes drilled through them to allow the passing of air
- Have an Oval or Round face shape
- A standard paddle is 18.5 inches long by 9.5 inches wide
- Maximum frame thickness of 38mm
Paddleball Balls vs Pickleball Balls
- The balls used in paddleball are similar to a standard tennis ball but typically are lower pressure
- They feature a felt coating on the outside and are the same size as a tennis ball
- The color of the dot on the ball indicates how much pressure it has
- A green dot ball is the most common type used with a hollow core. It has 25 percent less pressure than a standard tennis ball.
- An orange dot ball also has a hollow core and has half the pressure of a tennis ball
- The third type of ball is a solid rubber ball covered in felt, which offers more bounce. It has the look, weight, and feel of a tennis ball.
- Some people buy standard tennis balls and puncture them with a needle to depressure them rather than buying special Pop Tennis balls
- A paddleball ball should measure between 2.57 and 2.7 inches.
- The pickleball ball is a plastic ball similar to a Wiffle ball, but lighter and with smaller holes
- Pickleball balls were designed to bounce but not as high as tennis balls
- Indoor and outdoor pickleball balls are designed differently
- Indoor pickleball balls feature 26 holes and have a weight of 0.8 ounces
- Outdoor pickleball balls have 40 holes and have a weight of 0.9 ounces
- Pros tend to prefer outdoor Pickleball balls because they weigh more and can be hit harder
Paddleball vs Pickleball Court Comparison
Both pickleball and paddleball have a court size that is smaller than the size of a tennis court. There are some key differences between the courts of each sport.
- Pickleball court dimensions are closer to the size of a badminton court than a tennis court. It is 44 feet long by 20 feet wide and used for both singles and doubles play.
- A Paddle Tennis court is 50 feet long by 20 feet wide, with a service line 3 feet into the court.
- Pickleball net height is 34 inches in the middle
- Paddleball net height is 31 inches in the middle
Designated play zones
- Pickleball courts have a unique 7-foot area extending from either side of the net called the non-volley zone. Players cannot hit balls in the no-volley zone unless they have first bounced. The rest of the court is divided in half from the center of the net to the baseline.
- Paddleball courts have a unique area called the backcourt. This is a 3-foot area between the baseline and the service line designated as a service zone.
Rules in Paddleball vs Pickleball
Paddleball rules are similar to tennis (with a few tweaks), whereas pickleball has unique gameplay rules that are entirely its own. Official rules for pickleball are updated each year by the USA Pickleball Association or USAPA.
In pickleball, points are played from 0 to 11. Players must reach 11 and be ahead by 2 points to win the game. A major difference is that in pickleball, only the team who served is eligible to win a point. If the serving team fails to win a point after one or two attempts (depending on if playing singles or doubles), the other team has an opportunity to serve.
Paddleball scoring is similar to tennis. Players start at “Love” (which means zero) and advance to 15, then 30, then 40, and so on. Four points won in a game means you win that game. Either side (serving or receiving) is eligible to win points.
There are some similarities and differences in how the ball is served in paddleball vs pickleball.
Pickleball Serve Rules
- In pickleball, the server number (if playing doubles) must be called out along with the score prior to serving. Once the score is called out, the server has 10 seconds to serve the ball.
- Unlike tennis, pickleball uses an underhand serve
- A server must have at least one foot firmly planted on the ground behind the baseline prior to making contact with the ball.
- The paddle may not be higher than the waist when it makes contact with the ball during a serve
Paddleball Serve Rules
- Similar to pickleball, underhand serves are also the only kind allowed in paddleball
- The ball should be hit below the waist (or net) height
- Both feet must be behind the baseline during a serve
Rules Unique to Pickleball
There are some unique gameplay pickleball rules that are not seen in paddleball.
The Double Bounce Rule
The Double Bounce rule belongs to pickleball and is not seen in paddleball.
- In pickleball, after a serve has been hit, the ball must bounce a single time on the opponent’s side before being hit back
- Once the ball has been served, bounced, and then hit back over the net, it is required to bounce again prior to the serving team hitting the ball back
This means that two bounces are required: one on each side of the net immediately after a serve.
The Kitchen rule
In pickleball, the non-volley zone or the “Kitchen” area is off-limits unless the ball has bounced first. The remainder of the pickleball court is always playable and considered in bounds.
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