Pickleball vs. Paddleball: What’s the Difference?

November 1, 2016

Know the difference between pickleball and paddleball. Join the racquet sports community, be apart of GAMMA Sports

With all of the different racquet sports being played nowadays, it can be hard to keep them straight. Pickleball, tennis, paddleball, racquetball, squash, ping pong, badminton – are all of these sports really unique?

Know the difference between pickleball and paddleball. Join the racquet sports community, be a part of GAMMA Sports!  Pickleball and paddleball, in particular, are often thought (incorrectly) to be interchangeable.

So what are the differences between pickleball and paddleball? Here’s what you need to know:

The Basics of Paddle

Though many refer to it as “paddleball,” this sport is actually called platform tennis. It is also known as paddle and paddle tennis. It is played on a 44’ x 20’ court, centered on a raised 60’ x 30’ deck and surrounded by a screen that is 12’ high. The ball in paddle is rubber, and the paddle itself is made of a solid material, and the surface may be textured. The face of the paddle has holes going through it, and these holes can be up to ⅜ -inch in diameter.

(Need a refresher on pickleball? Check out this post for the basics.)


Scoring in paddle is the same as tennis, with the first point being “15” (often called “5”), the second “30,” the third “40” and the fourth “game.” You must win six games to win a set, and matches are played best of three sets.

If players are tied at 40-all, it is called deuce. The winner of the deuce point has the advantage (ad) and must win the next point to win the game. If the player/team that doesn’t have the advantage wins the ad point, the score goes back to deuce.


While the game of paddle is largely based on tennis, one of the key differences is the serve. In paddle you only get one serve, unlike tennis where you get two. You are also allowed to hit your serve overhand, underhand or sidearm, depending on what works best for your game.

So what do paddle & pickleball have in common?

Both paddle and pickleball require the use of a solid paddle instead of a strung racquet. The paddle in pickleball does not have perforations in it, as the ones in paddle do.

Both games only allow one serve, but in pickleball the serve must be underhand.

Both sports are played on a 44’ x 20’ court, but the use of the screen enclosure in paddle technically adds much more playing area.

Pickleball and paddle have similar elements, but their scoring and strategies are fundamentally different. One thing that all racquet sports have in common, however, is the fact that they all require a constant high level of mental awareness and strategic thinking during play. The best players are the ones who know ahead of time where they want to place their shots, and who have targets for every situation.