If you want to know what is pickleball, you're not alone - it has seen a huge growth in popularity in a short amount of time. Our guide will get you up to speed with everything you need to know, and maybe convince you to give this fun sport a try!

Pickleball Explained

Any great chef will tell you a delicious meal starts with great recipes. Since pickleball is taking the country by storm, it is perceived as delicious activity.

The recipe for pickleball can be seen as ingredients or elements of tennis badminton and ping pong. When combined they create a meal to be shared with one or three of your guests resulting in great fun and social interaction.

What is the History of the Sport?

Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island by Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell and Barney McCallum. The USA Pickleball Association now sets the rules.

What's a Non Volley Zone?

The inventors created the non volley zone to make rallies longer and the game more fun. Also called the kitchen, it is the area between the net and the first line where you cannot hit a shot without it bouncing first. This rule is a challenge for some players at first.

Is Pickleball Easier than Tennis?

Just like with food, it is a matter of taste as to which is easier. There are a couple of differences that could affect players' opinions:

Pickleball Courts

To be sure, the badminton sized court makes it physically easier to play pickleball for more people at a wider range of ages and conditioning levels. Both sports can be played as either a one on one (singles) competition or a two on two (doubles) competition on the same sized pickleball court.

Singles and doubles are both growing but doubles is more popular. Because pickleball is played on a badminton sized court (the pickleball court is much smaller than a tennis court), doubles is especially easy to play as hitting the ball does not require nearly as much movement as on a tennis court.

Racquet vs. Paddle

Racquets are larger and longer than pickleball paddles and generate more power much easier. Both require some degree of hand-eye coordination but the shorter paddle is generally conceded to be easier to use sooner in the learning curve than a racquet.

This shorter paddle also allows improving skill levels for both forehand and backhand shots. Skill levels are also impacted by players ages, practice frequency and other factors.



Net

Both games require the use of a net to play, however, the pickleball net is lower across the entire court. The net does not have to be made specifically for pickleball.

Both use right and left service courts (boxes) as the targets for alternating serves. The point starts with the serving team hitting into the correct box to start a game.

Ball Type & Speed

Balls used in each sport significantly impact play. Tennisballs are hit with much greater velocity. Their serves have been clocked at over 160 mph at the highest level of professional player with the typical pro routinely hitting 120 mph serves.

The plastic ball used in pickleball moves at about one third the pace of tennisballs. Outdoors, it is also more vulnerable to wind gusts because of its much lighter construction, hollow middle, and holes.

Is Pickleball Fast Paced?

Since the court is small, reaction times when players are volleying need to be sharp. Even though the ball is only traveling at 30-40 mph, players volleying the ball back and forth must react to the ball in approximately a quarter of a second.

Other sports have peak speeds much higher than pickleball that peaks out somewhere around 50 mph.

Is Pickleball Fast?

Since the court is small, reaction times when players are volleying need to be sharp. Even though the ball is only traveling at 30-40 mph, players volleying the ball back and forth must react to the ball in approximately a quarter of a second.

Other sports have peak speeds much higher than pickleball that peaks out somewhere around 50 mph.

Pickleball vs. Badminton & Table Tennis

As we mentioned at the beginning, the pickleball recipe wouldn't be complete with adding in some badminton and table tennis ingredients. How is pickleball a sport that combines all of these?

Badminton & Pickleball

Both are a game played on courts the size of a doubles badminton court. Courts are 44 feet long by 20 feet wide. The service courts are slightly different sizes, however.

Table Tennis & Pickleball

Both sports are played with paddles but the ping pong equipment is very different in terms of construction, materials, ability to generate spin and certainly size. Since table tennis paddles usually have a cushioned surface they create much more spin and drive the table tennis ball at a much higher speed.

The games are also very different not just in terms of the height of the net and the use of a table. Specifically, in pickleball a significant number of shots are played by volleying the ball before it hits the ground. In ping pong however, the ball must be allowed to bounce before making contact.

Join in the Pickleball Fun!

The increased popularity of pickleball is obvious. The ease of learning by people of all ages combined with the low costs makes for a tasty activity.

Now that you know what is pickleball, get ahold of the official USA Pickleball Association rules, get your equipment and get in a game. Playing this sport is easy for the whole family which also explains its popularity.

Check out our Learning Center for great advice. Look to Tennisracquets.com to have a huge supply of paddles to choose from. With a great selection of balls, bags, and shoes, you can start in this sport quickly.


Want to get started with Pickleball?
Learn everything you need to know to get on the court!