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Pickleball v Tennis - what are the differences?

Pickleball and tennis are both racket sports, but they have several key differences. The table below compares each of the main differences between pickleball and tennis.

pickleball pickleballs on a court

 

  Pickleball Tennis
Court Size Pickleball is played on a smaller court compared to tennis. A standard pickleball court is 20 feet wide and 44 feet long A tennis court is 27 feet wide and 78 feet long for singles and 36 feet wide for doubles.
Net Height The net in pickleball is lower than in tennis. In pickleball, the net is set at 34 inches at the center A tennis net is 36 inches at the center
Racket/Paddle Pickleball is typically played with a solid paddle Tennis uses strung rackets
Ball Pickleball is played with a plastic ball with holes Tennis a felt-covered tennis ball.
Serving In pickleball, underhand serves are the norm, and the ball must be hit below the player's waist. In tennis, serves are typically overhand, and there are no height restrictions.
Scoring Pickleball often uses a rally scoring system, meaning points can be scored on both the serving and receiving side. Tennis uses traditional scoring, where only the serving side can score.
Movement Pickleball involves less lateral movement due to the smaller court size. Tennis players cover a larger court, which requires more running and agility.
Intensity Pickleball can be less physically demanding. Tennis is generally considered a more physically demanding sport due to the larger court, faster-paced rallies, and the need for explosive movements.
Ball Speed Pickleball is played with a slower-moving ball, making it more accessible to beginners. Tennis involves hitting a faster ball, which requires quicker reaction times.
Doubles Play While both sports can be played in singles and doubles formats, pickleball is particularly popular in doubles play, and it's common to see all four players on the court simultaneously. Tennis is commonly played in both singles and doubles format.


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