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The beauty of pickleball for retirees and millennials

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pickleball vs tennis
A pickleball match. Photo/Pickleball England
  • Pickleball is similar to tennis in so many ways but still has its differences
  • The ease of learning the sport is a big factor in the pickleball vs tennis debate
  • Many retirees spend most of their free time playing pickleball

Are there major differences between pickleball vs tennis or are they the same under similar names?

Pickleball is similar to tennis in so many ways but still has its differences in execution and style of play. But, there is a lot of tennis in this fast-developing sport in the US and beyond. It’s an inclusive sport which has both the young and the old playing this sport.


The ease of learning the sport is a big factor in the pickleball vs tennis debate. Many retirees spend most of their free time playing this sport and the young people enjoy it because they get a chance to learn a few things about life from these senior citizens.

But that’s not all because it is not a complicated sport to learn. You play with a plastic Wiffle-like ball that is less bouncy and doesn’t fly through the air as a tennis ball. Additionally, the paddle is lighter and shorter than a tennis racket, making it considerably easier to manage. In pickleball, you also serve underhand, and underhand serves are simpler to hit and return.

pickleball vs tennis

A tennis racket and a pickleball paddle. Photo/NBC NEws

That’s why older people enjoy this sport because there are no injuries involved, unlike tennis which is physically demanding. Pickleball is not only simpler to learn than tennis, but it is also slower-paced, covers less ground, and most picklers play doubles. In fact, you could fit four pickleball courts on a tennis court.

Pickleball courts are narrower and shorter than tennis courts with slightly lower nets than those in a tennis court. Unlike the latter, which utilises massive outdoor spaces, you can also enjoy an indoor match. According to studies, pickleball is safer for those with heart conditions than tennis.


Both sports utilize similar-looking equipment which is different in design and application. For instance, tennis utilizes pretty heavy rackets and a bouncy rubber ball while plastic paddles and a hole-filled plastic ball get the work done.

The weight of a sanctioned pickleball must be between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces, and the ball’s own bounce distance when dropped from 78 inches must be between 0 and 34 inches. While pickleballs are made to bounce far lower than tennis balls, they weigh between 1.975 and 2.095 ounces.

Further, they are nearly an ounce heavier and they reach a height of 53 to 60 inches according to the International Tennis Federation. Yet, a pickleball bounce is almost twice as much as that! That’s a major difference in the pickleball vs tennis debate.


A major difference between pickleball and ping-pong lies in the serving rules. In pickleball, the server must hit the ball underhanded into the non-volley zone and it should bounce once before the ball crosses the goal line. The server in ping pong is free to strike the ball however they see fit, and it need not bounce before crossing the net.

Secondly, ping-pong also known as table tennis and pickleball has different scoring structures. The first player or team wins pickleball games to get 11 points. You must triumph by two points, though which is why a two-point victory is a requirement. In table tennis, you win by virtue of being the first player or team to accumulate 21 points. The best match in pickleball comes from three games, while the best match in ping pong comes from five games.

what to know about pickleball

Pickleballs and paddles. Photo/Universal Tennis Blog

Moreover, a distinct feature in pickleball vs tennis and table tennis is the latter is more popular meaning there are over 300,000 ping-pong tables and only 35,000 pickleball courts in the US.


Pickleball strikes have a higher pitch, which makes it easy for anyone to pick up more of the sound they generate. Compared to tennis, pickleball’s clamour is heard far away due to its higher frequency.  Most of this noise is produced when hitting a tennis ball is in the low frequencies. That’s below the range of frequencies to which the human ear is so sensitive to all factors considered.


Pickleball vs tennis remains a longstanding debate but an eye-opening one with all factors held constant. It is a beautiful game to get into without the fear of injury.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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