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Pickleball vs Paddleball

Pickleball vs Paddleball

Have you ever watched a game of pickleball and thought to yourself ‘this is remarkably similar to paddleball?’ You wouldn’t be alone - there are plenty of people out there who find it difficult to differentiate between the two games and who could blame them?

Both of these games are similar in nature, and if you have never played either of them, it can be easy to confuse the two - but that is where this guide will help you.

We have put together all of the information you will need to know about pickleball and paddleball, giving you a clear insight into what sets these two games apart from one another.

Pickleball vs Paddleball

Why Do People Confuse Pickleball And Paddleball?

You are likely aware that there is a vast wealth of racket sports out there and each one is slightly different. That being said, come are awfully similar and this is largely because most racket sports take some sort of inspiration from the original racket game - tennis. It is little wonder then that not everyone is aware of how pickleball and paddle ball are different.

They both use similar equipment, and both are played in a similar environment - these are the main reasons that the two are often confused.

What Is Pickleball?

Whether you have played it or not, there are more than 2.5 millions pickleball players in the world and in America, there are thousands of pickleball courts. This is where the game was invented and remains the most popular to this day.

Pickleball may sound a little obscure, but it is only in recent years that it has grown in popularity, and there isn’t a pickle in sight!

The game was invented in the mid-1960s by a group of parents, and it took a lot of its inspiration from tennis and badminton.

Pickleball is played on a large court that is roughly the size of a badminton court and can be played between two or four players. These are known as singles and doubles matches. While the court is more like badminton, the net sits at a lower level, much like the one you would see on a tennis court.

However, unlike some other racket sports that are played using a stringed racket, pickleball players use a solid paddle to hit the ball.

The rules of pickleball are totally unique and have been made up with a variety of other sports in mind - you will see aspects of tennis, badminton and even volleyball and ping pong. It truly is a game like nothing else.

Players must aim to achieve a score of 11, but in order to win, there has to be a clear two-point lead, this is very similar to badminton. When the game is played at a pro-level, the score can go up to 21 before a winner is declared.

What Is Paddleball?

There are two main versions of paddleball, and in some places, people may refer to one of them as padel. The key difference between the two is that they are played on courts with a different number of playable walls.

In paddleball, players must hit the ball against a wall, rather than across a net, like many other racket sports. But depending on which version of the game you are playing, the court may have one or four playable walls.

Paddleball found its origins from handball, although as we mentioned, there are various aspects of tennis that can be seen within the game. Each player has a paddle, which is traditionally made from wood but there are many graphite paddles now in use. These paddles are used to hit a small rubber ball against the walls of the court.

A paddleball court is once again similar in size to a badminton court but is slightly shorter in length and does not feature a net. The court is divided up into zones; these include the service line, long line and short line.

When players serve the ball, they stand the chance of winning a point. In other racket sports, it is only possible to win a point if you have served. This was the case in badminton until 2011 when the rules were changed, and now both players can win a point regardless of who served.

Much like pickleball, players must reach a certain number of points in order to win the game - depending on the situation; you might aim for 15, 21 or 25 points.

Pickleball vs Paddleball

What Are The Differences Between Pickleball And Paddleball?

There are several obvious differences between these two well-loved games - let’s explore these a little more closely.

Pickleball uses a hollow ball that is made from plastic and features several holes, whereas paddle ball players use a solid rubber ball.

In paddleball, the ball is hit against a wall, but in pickleball, players must hit the ball across a net.

The point system of each game is slightly different with pickleball players aiming for 11 points while paddle ball players must reach either 15, 21 or 25 points to win.

What Are The Similarities Between Pickleball And Paddleball?

It is clear that there are some similarities between pickleball and paddleball and whilst the differences are perhaps a little clearer, there is no denying any of the following;

Both sports are played on a similar-sized court.

Both pickleball and paddle ball players use a solid paddle to hit the ball instead of a stringed racket that is seen in so many other similar sports.

The two games were both invented in the 20th century with pickleball being invented in the 1960s and paddle ball in the 1920s.

Both games take certain ideas from tennis and badminton.


Pickleball and paddleball may seem very similar when we first look at them, but as we look a little closer, it is easy to see that the two games are quite different from one another.

That being said, there are several things in pickleball that resemble paddleball, so it isn’t surprising that the two are often confused. And why not, when both games take so many aspects and inspirations from the original racket sport of tennis?

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