Pickleball and tennis share a lot of similarities, but is one easier than the other?
Well, it all boils down to what you consider as easy. For example, pickleball is more about your placement and strategy and less about athleticism. To form an opinion about which sport is easier than the other, you first need to understand the differences between them.
Minor Differences Between Pickleball and Tennis
Before we get into the significant differences in the court, paddles, and balls, there are differences that we consider minor ones. For example, in pickleball, there’s no double fault when serving. When playing doubles, each player is allowed to serve at least once before his turn ends.
The court dimensions in pickleball are the same for singles and doubles, so you’ll have to share that relatively small space with your teammate. Also in doubles, the score is in the form of three numbers: your team’s score, your opponent’s score, and whether you’re first or second to serve in your team.
One of the most notable differences between pickleball and tennis is that overhead serving isn’t allowed in pickleball. Serving is underhand only. Further, the sides of a pickleball court are even and odd, not ad or deuce like tennis. Pickleball is louder and more frantic than tennis in general.
The great thing about pickleball is that it can be played on both indoor volleyball and basketball courts. Also, there tends to be music playing in the background to make it more fun. And as far as which sport is easier on the knees, we’ll have to go with pickleball. So based on these subtle differences alone, which sport do you think is easier?
Major Differences Between Pickleball and Tennis
While the information above paint a good picture of what pickleball is all about, it’s not enough to form a solid opinion regarding whether it’s easier than tennis or not. Let’s dive even further.
Paddles and Racquets
Unlike tennis racquets where the strings bend as the ball compresses into the racquet, a paddle is more like a stone wall that doesn’t deform. And since pickleballs don’t compress, they instantly pop off and deflect upon contact with the paddle. But how exactly does that help with what we’re trying to conclude?
Well, when playing pickleball, the concept of “gripping” the ball isn’t really applicable. Also, your spins will not be as great as when you’re playing tennis because the moment of impact between the pickleball and the paddle doesn’t last long enough for physics to help you get that spin.
Additionally, pickleball paddles tend to have cores that are constructed in a honeycomb shape where each cell is empty. This helps create a solid and strong construction without weighing the paddle down. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that paddles are lighter than tennis racquets.
The Playing Court
If you come from a tennis background, then you’ll probably find pickleball courts to be miniature compared to tennis courts. The dimensions of a pickleball court are 20′ x 44′, which is similar to the dimension of badminton courts. There’s an obvious difference in size between tennis courts and pickleball courts.
You also need to put into consideration that pickleball is usually played in doubles, so you have to fit four people into that 20′ x 44′, whereas in tennis you have 78′ x 27′ worth of space, which is enough to accommodate four people comfortably.
Obviously, since the size of a pickleball court is a lot smaller than that of a tennis court, the net is also going to be significantly smaller. However, don’t let the small size fool you, it’s still pretty hard to get the ball over the net in pickleball, and it may drive you nuts if you fail to do so, that’s why we said pickleball is more frantic than tennis.
The Type of Balls
In pickleball, you can play both indoors and outdoors. Therefore, you have two different types of balls designed for each one of those circumstances. Considering that they’re just wiffle balls that can easily be affected by wind, outdoor pickleballs have smaller holes than indoor models which helps keep the wind from affecting their movement
Also, pickleballs are simply plastic shells and not an actual solid ball like tennis balls. That’s why they tend to crack very easily and have a much shorter life cycle than tennis balls. There is an increasing number of manufacturers who have started putting out extra-durable balls so that you won’t have to replace them all the time.
Like we’ve mentioned in the introduction, it all boils down to what you view as easy. If athleticism is our primary point of discussion, then pickleball is certainly a lot easier because you don’t exert as much effort as you do in tennis. However, when it comes to the gameplay itself, both of these sports are quite challenging and require a ton of practice. Let us know what you think.