Why Pickleball Is Better Than Tennis

A while ago, the word pickleball was a joke, but you can hardly ignore the buzz now. The sport has garnered media coverage and hype that only a good sport can cause. Beyond that, America has approximately five million people who identify as pickleball players, which indicates a 40% growth in the last two years.

In addition, tennis players are making the switch to pickleball! All this is likely to make you wonder if pickleball is better than tennis and, if so, why. To help you quell those curious thoughts, let us explore the differences and see why pickleball is better than tennis!

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a racket game that combines the technicalities of other racket games, including badminton, tennis, and table tennis. The pickleball court is small, almost similar to badminton. Surprisingly, a whole tennis court can hold up to four pickleball courts. Additionally, you use a wooden racket or paddle to play the game. Like in other racket games, you can choose the design and style of the racket according to your preferences. Additionally, pickleball balls are made of plastic perforated with holes. You can play pickleball as singles or doubles, just like in tennis.

You might be wondering where this game came from. Interestingly, the game started as a backyard game for children in the 60s. Since then, community centers and retirement homes have widely taken up the game. Furthermore, the game has also entered the recreational world, with cruise ships making space for exclusive pickleball fields. The game has gained popularity because it is relatively easy to learn how to play, and you don’t need much space. Today, there are global pickleball games just like the Olympics. A quick tutorial or video on YouTube will help you get an idea of the game.

Pickleball rules are easy to understand and borrow from other racket games. There is minimum running in pickleball compared to tennis, which explains why the game is growing in popularity among the older generation.

why pickleball is better than tennis

Differences Between Pickleball and Tennis

Although mostly similar, the two games are very distinctive. In fact, many tennis players recount having many instances when a person tries to have them switch to pickleball. We’ve highlighted some of the differences between the two below.


The first major difference is the ball used to play both games, see our full breakdown of pickleball ball vs tennis ball here. A tennis ball is much harder and made out of hard rubber, which makes the ball much heavier. However, a pickleball is plastic and is percolated to let air pass through. As a result, a pickleball goes smoothly through the air and is quite light. Contrastingly, a tennis ball is heavy and bouncy due to the compressed air inside. It is always funny watching a tennis player trying pickleball for the first time; they usually don’t expect the ball to be so light and not bounce. Since pickleball is indoor and outdoor, the balls are different due to the wind. Outdoor balls have much smaller holes to reduce the effect of the wind.


Another difference lies in the types of rackets. A pickleball paddle makes a ping when it hits the ball, while a tennis racket makes a thock after hitting the ball. In addition, pickleball paddles are much smaller, almost half the size of a tennis racket. In fact, a pickleball racket looks like an oversized ping-pong paddle.


Additionally, the games are governed by different rules. For instance, in pickleball, there is the kitchen area, otherwise known as the non-volley zone. Players don’t play around the kitchen area. You cannot stand on the net and pass shots from there since the net is considerably small. The non-volley zone extends from the net backward on both sides of the net. The area is usually 7 feet from the net on both sides. Generally, players cannot volley in the non-volley area, which is the defining rule of pickleball. It is very easy to make a shot in the kitchen area, so the rule is to keep the keep fair.

Serves and points

In addition, in pickleball, you must serve underhand and position the ball below the hip. The scoring rules also differ in tennis. Usually, the first person to get 11 points wins the pickleball game, but they must be ahead by 2 points. The game should continue until the winner is ahead by two points. Additionally, the side serving is the only one that can score, unlike in badminton and tennis. The hardest of the rules is that the ball must get on each side before the players can begin volleying.

Why Pickleball Is Better Than Tennis?

According to most people, pickleball is much faster, more creative, and more fun than most other games. Compared to tennis, you have more options for shots and angles. Pickleball volleying and danking are much more, and the ball travels fast through the air, making players be on their feet.

Unlike tennis, pickleball is a social game; when you hear the word, the Olympics don’t come to mind. Consequently, you will hear the background music in any pickleball game, and the games end really quickly. Additionally, players shift partners more frequently than in tennis.

Additionally, in pickleball, players don’t run much on the court – this is my favorite reason why pickleball is better than tennis! Although tennis is good for your health due to all the cardio, it can be unsuitable for people of advanced age. Tennis causes a lot of pressure on your ankles, legs, back, and feet, especially because the game often stops and starts. On the other hand, pickleball is gaining popularity among older people, making it a game that anyone can enjoy. It also offers some good exercise, especially for twitching muscles in the lower body, while also improving eye coordination.

We cannot miss the point about pickleball players getting fewer injuries from the game than tennis players. The tennis ball is a source of these injuries. In pickleball, most shots lie below the waistline, lowering the potential for injury. In fact, most tennis players shift to pickleball when tennis rackets cause strain on their hand muscles.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pickleball and Tennis

Q1. Why is the sport called pickleball?

The name originated because it combines three racket games: ping pong, tennis, and badminton. There are two theories of where the name could have evolved from; first, The creators of the name remembered the term “pickle boat,” which is a boat made from oarsmen from different other boats. The second theory is that the game was named after one of the creators’ dogs, called Pickles. Pickles would chase the ball around the yard and interrupt the game, hence the name. Pretty hilarious, right?

Q2. Who invented pickleball?

There were three creators of pickleball; congressman Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum, and Bill Bell in 1965 in Washington. Rumor has it that their children were bored, so the dads pieced together a game using old ping pong paddles, a badminton net, and a whiffle ball.

Q3. How popular is pickleball in America?

Pickleball brags 5 million players in the United States. Out of the number, 1.57 million players identify as casual players, and 930,000 play professionally eight or more times annually. The game has been growing at 1.8% annually since 2014. Overall, more men play pickleball than women. Additionally, on average, people aged 35-54 are the ones who play the sport the most. However, 75% of core players are 55 years and above.

Q4. Where can I find pickleball leagues near me?

Pickleball fields have been growing fast in America. In just a decade, pickleball courts have increased from 1,000 to more than 5,000. A quick browse on websites such as pickleballtournaments.com will reveal different tournaments near you. You can also learn more about where can pickleball be played here. Additionally, you can think of transforming your background or basement into a pickleball court; you require a net, ball, and paddle. If you have a tennis court you can see how much does it cost to convert a tennis court into a pickleball court.

If you are wondering if there is a pickleball Olympics, unfortunately, there is not. Other casual games, such as skateboarding, surfing, and softball, got into the 2020 Olympics; therefore, there is still hope that pickleball will get in soon. For a game or sport to qualify for the Olympics, men must participate in the sport in at least 74 countries and four continents and women in 40 countries and three continents. According to this fact, pickleball might take some time before entering the Olympics.

Conclusion Tennis and pickleball are similar, but one must take the prize. Pickleball is relatively simple compared to tennis, which explains why people are shifting sides. The game’s rules are easy, and the court is small enough not to tire you while running. All age groups can participate in this game; therefore, the inclusivity is making it grow fast. That is a big reason why pickleball is better than tennis.

You can find pickleball courts near you with just the click of a button. America values sports, and if you have been looking for something to fit a non-athletic person, you can try pickleball