If you’re looking for a fun, easy-to-learn sport, pickleball is the game for you! Today we will answer the question: Is pickleball easier than tennis? I know some people are here for the short answer, so here are a few reasons: the smaller court size, lower net height, and slower ball speed make it easier to hit the ball and keep it in play.
That’s only part of the story; many factors come into play when looking at pickleball’s meteoric rise and why so many tennis players are looking over their shoulders.
Today we will cover various topics related to tennis and pickleball and why I think it’s a more accessible game. I want to say that I have played both for several years, and by no means am I saying that tennis is better or vice versa; we will save that debate for a different post.
Let’s Jump In!
Why Is Pickleball Easier Than Tennis
This is a subjective opinion, but I will explain my rationale and why pickleball is easier than tennis. Here’s how I’ve broken down my analysis:
Pickleball Court Size
A pickleball court is about 1/3rd the size of a tennis court, measuring 44ft long and 20ft wide, the same size as a doubles badminton court. This means that physically you aren’t running as far to field shots all over the court. The calories you burn playing pickleball are significantly less than when playing tennis. Court size plays a role in serving both sports, as you have less distance to cover from the pickleball baseline.
Doubles Courts Are The Same Size As Singles
If you have ever played doubles on a tennis court, then you know how difficult it can be. It adds nine feet of playing surface to the tennis court, which can add up to a lot more running. In contrast, a pickleball court is the same size for singles and doubles play, essentially cutting the court in half when you have a teammate.
While it’s not a huge difference, a pickleball court’s net is 34 inches in the middle, almost ten inches lower than a tennis court. This can be a big difference if you play for a few hours each time you hit the courts.
Serving Is Way Easier In Pickleball
When it comes to serving, tennis can be a real challenge. A tennis racquet’s size, awkward shape, and overhead service make it difficult to control. Placing a tennis ball accurately on the court takes a lot of practice.
However, in pickleball, service is underhand and a piece of cake. The larger pickleball paddle sweet spot offers more surface area, making it easier to direct and hit the ball with precision.
Pickleball Paddles Vs. Tennis Racquets
While the racquets are similar in weight, they differ in length, making a pickleball paddle easier to maneuver. The power needed to hit a well-placed tennis shot is significantly more.
Pickleball Scoring Vs. Tennis
The scoring system is vastly different in pickleball, adopting a mix between badminton and table tennis. We have a whole post dedicated to pickleball scoring if you are interested. I won’t go into the full details, but here’s the condensed version. Most pickleball games are played to 11 points with the best out of three matches, while you need to win by two; this makes for a very fast-paced game. However, tournament play is sometimes one game to 21 points.
So pickleball may be the way to go if you’re looking for a shorter and quicker round of gameplay. But if you’re willing to commit to a longer and more intense matchup, tennis is the sport for you.
Pickleball Balls Vs. Tennis Balls
One key difference between pickleball and tennis is the type of ball used. Pickleball balls are made of hard plastic and have holes drilled into them, similar to a Wiffle ball.
They weigh less than half as much as a tennis ball and fly through the air at a slower speed. Making pickleball easier on the arms and shoulders, allowing players to stay in the game longer without risking injury. So while pickleball and tennis can be enjoyable, those looking for a more low-impact option may want to give pickleball a try.
Is Pickleball Taking Over Tennis?
As we will talk about below, tennis has a long history and a clear advantage in player base and facilities in parks across the country. Tennis may have been around longer, but pickleball is quickly gaining popularity, with courts popping up in local parks across the country.
With lower-cost equipment and low-impact gameplay, pickleball appeals to players of all ages and abilities. On top of that, it’s just plain fun! More and more people are grabbing pickleball paddles and trying the sport. While tennis may still reign supreme now, pickleball may give it a run for its money in the future.
Read about how pickleball was invented.
Why Are Tennis Players Switching to Pickleball?
So why are tennis players making the switch to pickleball? For starters, it’s just plain fun! The smaller court size allows intense play without wearing out the body as much as in traditional tennis. And with a low net and plastic ball, pickleball is easier on the joints and suitable for players of all skill levels. In addition, pickleball attracts a wide range of players, from young athletes to retirees looking for an active hobby. Whether you’re a diehard tennis fan or just looking for a new sport to try out, give pickleball a shot – you won’t be disappointed.
Which is More Popular, Pickleball or Tennis?
As we have covered in one of the latest posts, Tennis vs. Pickleball Growth tennis has quite a big head start on the up-and-coming sport of pickleball. Currently, there are 4.8 million pickleball players in the United States and 17.4 million tennis players.
However, pickleball is quickly gaining ground and may soon rival its popular court-sport counterpart. Today it’s estimated that there are over 250,000 tennis courts in the US; comparatively, pickleball only has around 20,000. However, pickleball is also played indoors, making it a more versatile option for those with limited outdoor space or bad weather.
But the biggest draw of pickleball is how fun it is to play – it combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis for an energetic and exciting game. So even though it might hold a different level of popularity than tennis, pickleball should be considered a thrilling option that everyone should try.
The smaller court size of pickleball is also easier on the legs and can be less tiring than running back and forth on a larger tennis court. The scoring system is also more straightforward and speeds up the game. In tennis, you have to score four points to win a game, but in pickleball, it’s only three points.
Plus, let’s face it- those paddles are much easier on the arms than a tennis racket! Finally, pickleball loans itself to casual play and socializing. Rounds can be fast and friendly without a classic tennis match’s intense pressure or competition. There’s a reason it’s becoming such a popular sport among adults- pickleball, plain old, makes for fun, easy gameplay.
Read our post on how to convert a tennis court to play pickleball.