Pickleball is a combination of three sports: tennis, badminton, and ping pong (table tennis). It is played on a badminton-sized court with a net that's slightly smaller than a tennis net. Like ping pong, pickleball uses a paddle rather than a racquet.
Influences from each sport
Pickleball has influences from tennis, badminton, and ping pong.
- The court design was influenced by badminton and ping pong and is much smaller than a tennis court.
- The ball itself is, like ping pong, made of plastic. Like badminton, the ball has holes in it, similar to a Wiffle ball.
- Pickleball was heavily influenced by tennis, and much of the gameplay looks similar. In terms of scoring, however, it is nothing like tennis.
History of Pickleball
Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington near Seattle, by former congressman Joel Pritchard. Having been unable to locate the shuttlecock for the badminton game, they used Wiffle balls instead, lowered the net, and used ping-pong paddles to knock the ball back and forth. From this assortment of influences, pickleball was born (where the name came from is a matter of open discussion).
Over time, the game evolved, taking characteristics of ping pong, badminton, and tennis along with it.
Pickleball vs Tennis
- Tennis racquets are larger than pickleball paddles.
- Pickleball paddles, unlike textured tennis racquets with strings, are smooth or textured, with no holes.
- The pickleball ball is a small plastic ball that does not bounce as high as a tennis ball. The ball resembles a Wiffle ball in appearance.
- Tennis requires an overhand serve, whereas pickleball requires an underhand serve.
- As with tennis, pickleball players serve diagonally to the opposite side of the court.
The “no-volley zone”
- There is a seven-foot no-volley zone (known by pickleball players as “the kitchen”) located on both sides of the net.
- The kitchen prevents players from standing next to the net and hitting aggressive smashes back and forth.
- In tennis, games lead to sets, and matches are usually decided by two sets out of three.
- Pickleball games are decided by 11 points, with a team needing a two-point advantage to win.
- In both sports, it only takes 2-3 times of playing for someone to become familiar with the scoring system.
Pickleball vs Badminton
The pace of the game
It’s hard to switch from another racquet sport to pickleball without slowing down.
Badminton players are naturally good at dinking and slowing things down (“resetting”) in pickleball. In order to regain control of the game, they substitute a well-placed drop, lob, or dink for that exact shot.
- Allowing the ball to bounce is one of the most important adjustments when playing pickleball after badminton.
- The shuttlecock’s shape prevents it from consistently bouncing.
- In contrast, pickleball is played both on the ground and in the air.
Court Size Comparison
- A badminton doubles court is the same size as a pickleball court, but the lines are narrower in badminton singles.
- The amount of space on both sides of the net is another almost similarity. In pickleball, this is referred to as the non-volley zone or the Kitchen,while in badminton, it is referred to as the service line.
- In badminton, the front serve line is 6.5 feet from the center net, but in pickleball, the kitchen zone is 7 feet from the net.
- Pickleball nets are 34 inches high in the middle, while badminton nets are higher.
- Badminton racquets consist of a handled frame with an open hoop that supports a network of taut strings.
- Pickleball paddles have a solid face rather than a network of strings. Paddles vary in length, shape, weight, core thickness, face material, grip size, and many other things.
- The badminton racquet has a 63 inch frame and a 23 inch width.
Pickleball vs Ping Pong
- Ping pong players transitioning to pickleball often possess a unique skill set of faced-paced shots with a lot of topspin.
Court Size Comparison
- Pickleball is played on a court whereas ping pong is played on a table.
- In pickleball, a player has to cover the court and move around quite a bit.
- Ping pong is not quite as exerting, given the size of the area a player needs to cover. Pickleball is therefore more physical and requires more movement.
- The paddles for ping pong and pickleball vary in size and material.
- Pickleball paddles are larger and have more surface area to hit the ball with.
- Pickleballs are much larger than ping pong balls and move more slowly.
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