games like pickleball

9 Games Like Pickleball: How Are They Different?

When asked the question, “What is pickleball?” many people explain it as a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. While pickleball certainly has similarities to many racquet sports, it is unique in its own right. There are many benefits of playing pickleball. It’s easy to learn, provides social interaction, and is great for people of all ages. It’s also played on a smaller-sized court and can be played either indoors or outdoors. With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder the sport is growing so rapidly!

Of course, we at PickleballMAX believe that pickleball is the best sport. However, if you want to add another sport to your repertoire, you might want to check out the following games similar to pickleball.

Tennis vs Pickleball

At first glance, tennis is probably the sport that is the most similar to pickleball. Many tennis facilities now have both tennis and pickleball lines on their courts.

The primary objective of both sports is to hit the ball over a net while keeping it in bounds and preventing the ball from bouncing twice on your side before striking it.

While there are, indeed, elements of tennis in pickleball, pickleball is its own unique sport. Pickleball takes a shorter amount of time to learn and one can improve at the game of pickleball at a much quicker rate.

If you are a tennis player, you will more than likely transition smoothly into the sport and have an inherent advantage on the pickleball court. However, you will have to tweak some techniques and learn new strategies.

Similarities between Pickleball and Tennis

Court

Both pickleball and tennis are played on a rectangular court divided by a net. The size of a tennis court is much larger than that of a pickleball court, measuring 78′ x 36′. Pickleball court dimensions are 44′ x 20′. The net in pickleball is 34″ high at the center, while a tennis net is 36″ high at the center.

Equipment

Both sports are played with a racquet/paddle. Pickleball paddles have a solid, composite face, while tennis racquets have strings and are longer and larger than a pickleball paddle. A perforated plastic Wiffle-like ball is used in pickleball while a pressurized rubber ball is used in tennis. Because of the material, a tennis ball can travel farther and bounce higher.

Grips

Players in both sports tend to favor a similar grip called the Continental Grip. However, tennis players may change their grip more frequently for different shots. In pickleball, the court is smaller and the ball comes so fast that it’s more difficult to change grips between shots, particularly when positioned at the non-volley line.

Differences between Pickleball and Tennis

Although tennis and pickleball have many similarities, there are some key differences. The biggest differences are with the serve and scoring.

Serve

Serving is different between the two sports. The ball is served overhand in tennis and, as such, is generally hit with more power. In pickleball, the ball is served underhand with contact made below the waist.

Scoring

Scoring differs in tennis and pickleball. Points in tennis are love, 15, 30, 40 with points scored after each rally. Points in pickleball are numerical from 1 – 11 with points awarded only to the serving team when a rally is won by that serving team.

Pickleball vs Table Tennis (Ping Pong)

Pickleball can be thought of as the court version of table tennis (“ping pong”). While pickleball is played on a small court, ping pong is played on a table.

Both sports can be played as singles or doubles. The primary objective in both sports is to hit a ball over the net while keeping it in play and only allowing it to be hit one time on each side.

Both sports require quick reflexes, good hand-eye coordination, and strategic ball placement.

Similarities between Table Tennis and Pickleball

Court

Both sports are played on a court divided by a net. A pickleball court has a hard surface, such as concrete or asphalt while a ping pong table has a smooth playing surface and is made of wood or synthetic materials. The dimensions of a pickleball court are 44′ x 20′ while the dimensions of a ping pong table are 9′ long x 5′ wide and 2.5′ high.

The net on a pickleball court measures 22′ long x 34″ high. A table tennis net is much smaller, measuring 6′ long x 6″ high.

Equipment

Both sports use a paddle with a solid face. A ping pong paddle is slightly smaller than a pickleball paddle. Pickleball uses a perforated plastic Wiffle-like ball while ping pong is played with a small plastic ball.

Grip

In pickleball, the favored grip used for the majority of shots is the Continental Grip. Table tennis players, on the other hand, use a wider variety of grips, including the “shakehand” grip or “penhold” grip.

Differences between Table Tennis and Pickleball

Serve

Pickleball is served underhand. There are multiple ways you can serve in table tennis. Serves can impart topspin, underspin, or sidespin. The ball is tossed up and struck on the way down.

Scoring

Points are awarded on each rally in table tennis. Games are played to 11 or 21 points. In pickleball, points can only be scored by the serving team. Pickleball is most frequently played to 11, win by 2.

Pickleball vs Badminton

While badminton and pickleball are distinct sports, there are some similarities. They are both played on the same-sized court. Both sports require good hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes as the ball/shuttlecock can travel fast.

The primary objective in both sports is to hit an object over the net while keeping it in play. Both sports only allow the ball/shuttlecock to be struck one time before going over the net.

Both sports require strategy, control, and good shot placement.

Similarities between Pickleball and Badminton

Court

Pickleball and badminton courts are identical in size, measuring 44′ x 20′. A pickleball net is suspended 34″ above the ground (in the center) while a badminton net is 20′ wide x 2′ 6″ high. A badminton net is 5′ 1″ off-the-ground,.

Equipment

Pickleball uses perforated plastic Wiffle-like balls that can bounce while badminton uses an object called a shuttlecock that flies through the air and does not bounce. Think of a shuttlecock as a feathered projectile. A pickleball paddle has a solid composite face, while a badminton racquet has strings and is longer than that of a pickleball paddle.

Differences between Badminton and Pickleball

Serve

Pickleball is served underhand. In badminton, you can serve a variety of ways including underhand and overhand.

Scoring

Badminton uses a rally scoring system, where points are awarded after every rally. Games are usually played to 21, win by 2. In pickleball, points are only awarded to the serving team when a rally is won by that serving team. Pickleball is most frequently played to 11, win by 2.

Grip

Grips in badminton and pickleball differ. In badminton, players frequently use a forehand grip, backhand grip, or panhandle grip. In pickleball, players typically use a Continental grip for most shots.

Beach Tennis

Beach tennis is a racquet sport. It’s a fun sport played typically on a sand volleyball court although it can also be played on grass. Combining elements of volleyball and tennis, beach tennis also has some similarities to pickleball since it is a racket sport.

Unlike volleyball, however, in which a team can hit the ball up to three times before going over the net, beach tennis allows for only a single hit before going over the net.

Padel

Padel is becoming a popular sport. It is a mix between tennis, racquetball, and squash. Padel courts are smaller and enclosed by glass walls. Similar to pickleball, padel is easy to learn, is usually played as doubles, and takes some shot strategy. In both sports, the ball is served underhand and can only be hit once before being returned.

Paddleball

Paddleball is a fast-paced game that is similar to racquetball. It’s played on an indoor court surrounded by walls. Paddleball is similar to pickleball in that they are both paddle sports. Each sport is played with a solid composite paddle. Both sports can be played as singles or doubles. Both sports require some shot strategy.

Platform Tennis

Platform tennis is a racquet sport played on a smaller, raised platform court enclosed by a wire fence. Typically the platform is heated so it can be played during winter months. It is similar to pickleball in that it is played with a paddle and ball and can be played as singles or doubles.

Racquetball

Pickleball and racquetball are similar in that they are both racket sports. However, racquetball is played indoors on a closed-off court with walls.

We have seen many racquetball players who have transitioned to playing pickleball. However, they generally have to tweak some techniques as they all too often tend to over-engage their wrists. A racquetball racket is similar to a tennis racket in that it has strings. Similar to pickleball, the ball can only bounce one time before striking it.

Squash

Like racquetball, squash is played on a four-walled court. Players use a racket to hit a small rubber ball against the front wall. While squash differs in terms of court design and gameplay, it shares similarities with pickleball since it is a racket sport.

FAQs

What sport is pickleball most similar to?

Pickleball is most similar to tennis. The game concept is similar, although there is a non-volley zone area in pickleball that tennis does not have. Also, pickleball is played on a smaller court.

What two sports are most similar to pickleball?

What are some other paddle sports besides pickleball?

Many Games Like Pickleball From Which to Choose

It’s no wonder pickleball has been the fastest-growing sport in recent years since everyone can enjoy it! It’s a great way for players of all ages to get exercise. However, if you’re looking for additional sports to try that are similar to pickleball, there are a few from which to choose. Many sports share some common elements with pickleball but also have their unique characteristics and rules. Depending on your preferences, you may enjoy playing any of the sports we mentioned above.

Do you play other sports in addition to pickleball? Let us know which sports you play in the comments below.

About Teresa

Teresa is the idea-maker behind PickleballMAX. Teresa joins Todd to manage and market PickleballMAX. She creates pickleball content and assists with pickleball tournaments. In 2023, she wrote a pickleball devotional book titled Pickleball Is [Not] Life

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