6 Major Differences Between Pickleball and Tennis

1 years ago

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If you’re looking to construct a sports court in your backyard, you’ll be left wondering whether to go for a tennis or pickleball court. Knowing the differences between pickleball and tennis can help make your decision easier.

Tennis is arguably the most popular racquet sport, but it’s facing growing competition from pickleball. The two sports are fun, recreational, social, and competitive. Tennis is the older sport and pickleball borrows heavily from it but has its unique flavor. That said, here are six differences between tennis and pickleball:

1. Court Size

Pickleball courts are considerably smaller than tennis courts. They measure 20’ x 44’ for both doubles and singles. They also have a non-volley zone that extends 7’ back from the center net on each side of the court. The non-valley road is known as the kitchen.

On the other hand, tennis courts measure 78’ long and 27’ wide for singles and 78’ long and 36’ wide for doubles. You can also volley from anywhere on the court.

2. Net Height and Positioning

Another significant difference between tennis and pickleball is the height and positioning of the net. The net is positioned considerably lower on a pickleball court than on a tennis court. It’s typically hung at 36” at the edges and 34” in the middle of the court. Conversely, the height of the net on a tennis court is 3 feet at the center.

3. Racquets

It’s a no-brainer that you can’t play either sport without a racquet. Nonetheless, the racquet used in tennis is different from pickleball. Pickleball racquets are primarily made from high-tech composite and feature a flat, solid striking surface.

Tennis racquets are considerably larger and have a woven string surface made from synthetic or natural gut materials. They were originally made out of wood until recently when manufacturers shifted to graphite and fiberglass. The materials are not only stronger and lighter than wood but also make the racquets excellent for hard strokes.

4. Balls

Tennis balls and pickleballs differ in size, material, and even color. According to USAPA, the official pickleball governing body in America, pickleballs should be made of plastic and have a diameter of between 2 7/8 inches to 3 inches. They should also weigh between 0.8 and 1.02 ounces.

USAPA doesn’t stipulate color restrictions, but the ball should have a single and consistent color. The governing body has tested and approved several colors for official tournament play. Fluorescent yellow tennis balls are used at major sporting events.

You can choose virtually any color when playing recreationally on your backyard tennis court. Pickleballs are also perforated, while tennis balls have a fibrous felt cover to enhance their aerodynamic properties. A tennis ball also features a predominant white curvilinear around it.

5. Gameplay

In tennis, players can win points on the serve, which rarely happens in pickleball since players aren’t allowed to serve overhand. Instead, they must serve underhand. Since pickleballs are perforated and lightweight, the serve isn’t powerful enough to get you aces. Thus, players focus more on ball placement instead of power.

6. Players

Pickleball is primarily played in doubles, whereas tennis can be played in both singles and doubles. In pickleball, the court is smaller, and the ball does not bounce that high, making the angles greater. Tennis tends to be more grueling and requires more strength and stamina than pickleball. 

Turn Your Backyard into a Fun Racquet Ball Spot

Tennis and pickleball are undoubtedly fun to play, and there’s no better way to do so than to enjoy the sports from the comfort of your backyard. If you’re a fan of tennis or pickleball and want to convert your backyard into a fun hangout spot, Sport Court Las Vegas has you covered. We specialize in a range of backyard and indoor courts built to last. Contact us for a free on-site estimate.