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Pickleball vs Racquetball

Pickleball vs Racquetball

A lot of people are familiar with a handful of racket sports – most notably, tennis and badminton but few are aware of the rules and details of the lesser-known games. Pickleball and racquetball are hugely popular and are played by 2.8 million and 20 million people respectively. However, unless you are a fan of these games, you may not know the differences and similarities between the two.

In this post, we are going to be looking at pickleball vs racquetball and finding out how the two sports compare to one another – whether you are trying to decide which sport might be best for you to play or simply want to broaden your knowledge, we have got you covered.

Pickleball vs Racquetball

A Bit About Pickleball And Racquetball

Pickleball is a very simple sport and as such, does not need lengthy training to learn. Many people play pickleball as a hobby sport although there are professional tournaments out there. That being said, they are far less common than pro tournaments for other racquet sports like tennis and squash, for example.

The game is played on an indoor or outdoor court and can be played as either singles or doubles matches.

Pickleball takes a lot of its ideas from the hugely popular sports of tennis and badminton, and their inspiration can be seen throughout the game. The court is very similar in size to a badminton court; however, the net is far lower like the ones you would see in a game of tennis.

Players use fairly similar equipment to that used on the tennis court, but there are vast differences too. The ball is lightweight and made from plastic – what’s more interesting is that it has many holes. Players use a paddle as opposed to a racket, and this is solid but features a textured panel off which the ball is hit.

People from all walks of life, ages and abilities can take part in pickleball, and it is hugely popular in North America, with more than 100,000 pickleball courts in Seattle alone!

Racquetball is played on a walled court – which is usually found indoors although there are some outdoor ones. In this game, players must hit the ball against a wall rather than across a net as we would see in other racket sports. Much like other racket sports, racquetball is played between singles (two players) or doubles (four players).

One of the most stand out things about racquetball is that it is an extremely high-intensity sport and requires players to be very fit. For anyone looking for a good cardio workout, racquetball is a very viable option.

In this game, players make use of a rubber ball, and this is hit with stringed rackets, much like the ones we would see on the tennis and badminton courts.

How Are Pickleball And Racquetball Similar?

There are many obvious similarities between these two sports, and a lot of this is in relation to where the games are played and the equipment that is used.

Of course, both games are played on a court that is roughly the same size – a racquetball court measures approximately 20 feet by 40 feet and a pickleball court is the same width at 20 feet but is slightly longer at 44 feet.

Additionally, both games take their inspiration from tennis, as do most racket sports. The equipment that is used is fairly similar in that both games require a racket or paddle and a ball.

On top of this, the number of players for both games is similar with singles and doubles matches taking place on both courts.

Pickleball vs Racquetball

How Are Pickleball And Racquetball Different?

While these two sports do have some similarities, when we look closer, we see that they are vastly different in many ways and the intricacies of each game are clear.

To begin with, the rules of the two games differ greatly and this is largely because of the absence of the net in racquetball. Pickleball is far more similar to games like tennis and badminton purely because of the net. In this game, players must serve the ball in an underhand fashion – anything else does not count and the serve should be taken outside of the court. No players are permitted to enter the court past the baseline until the serve has been given.

What’s more, all hits must occur below the naval. Where scoring is concerned, pickleball players must aim for a score of 11 but a two point lead must be obtained. This is similar to badminton and when playing at a pro level, the score might be raised to either 15 or 21 points.

Alternatively, racketball features slightly different rules and again it isn’t hard to see how these relate to the lack of a net. When the ball is served, the players must ensure that it bounces and then hits the front wall of the court.

In racquetball tournaments, the players aim for 15 points and whilst there are players that will want to enforce a two point lead, this is not one of the official rules in a pro match. In other situations, such as hobby games, many people will play to 21 points.

Racketball is also far more physically demanding than pickleball – but that isn’t to say that pickleball players exert no energy at all. There is still a degree of physical fitness needed but this game is far more accessible to those who are new to sports.


Many people are under the impression that all racket sports are the same and that because similar equipment is used and that most racket sports derive from tennis, they aren’t very different at all, but this could not be further from the truth.

Pickleball and racketball are both very enjoyable sports and whilst they may look similar on the surface, there are many differences to these games.

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