Home Blog Court Sports Pickleball vs. Tennis: Differences, Similarities and Why You Should Play Both 

Pickleball vs. Tennis: Differences, Similarities and Why You Should Play Both 

It’s no secret that pickleball and tennis have a lot in common. After all, both are great workouts and court sports that involve volleying a ball across a center net. Even some of the games’ terminology is the same. But there are also plenty of differences between the favorite pastimes. 

Some enthusiasts would say tennis, the more-historied sport, is superior. Others would argue that pickleball, the popular newer kid on the block, is much more competitive.  

One thing’s for sure. Both are extremely popular recreational sports. In Savannah, Georgia, alone, there are more than 1,400 members of the Savannah Area Tennis Association and there are 11 official pickleball leagues, according to the Global Pickleball Network.

Is There a Beef Between Players? 

With pickleball fever taking the nation and demand for courts going through the roof, there has been a little pushback from other, more established, racquet sports, according to pickleheads.com. Some tennis organizations have called for bans on pickleball, as their courts were being flooded by pickleball players eager for a game.  

Do court sports enthusiasts in Savannah, Georgia, really need to take a side? At The Landings Golf & Athletic Club, we say “No!” It’s way better to enjoy them both! 

Sure, some players have a beef with one sport or the other, but most know there are similarities and differences. And here are six of them! 

6 Differences and Similarities Between Tennis and Pickleball 

  1. Equipment: Pickleball equipment is lighter overall. A majority of pickleball paddles will weigh somewhere between 7-9 ounces, and the string weight of a standard tennis racquet will average around 11-11.5 ounces. In addition, the pickleball plastic ball is lighter. Sanctioned pickleballs must weigh between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces. On the other hand, tennis balls are nearly an ounce heavier and usually weigh between 1.975 and 2.095 ounces. 
  2. The Rules and Scoring: The rules of play for tennis and pickleball vary. The three largest rules differences revolve around the serve, the bounce and how score is kept. The serve must be completed using an underhand swing (not overhead like a tennis serve) but much like tennis it must land in the opponent’s area diagonal from the server. Also, in pickleball there is a two-bounce rule that means that the returning team’s ball must hit the ground once before they send it back over the net, and the serving team must allow the ball to hit the ground once before returning it once more. This rule does not apply in tennis. In addition, keep in mind that when scoring in pickleball, only the player/team that serves can win a point (Rule 4.G.), and games are most often played to 11 and require a two-point margin of victory to win. However, to win, you must be ahead by 2 points. So, if one team is at 11 points and the other is at 10, they must continue to play until there’s a 2-point margin. In contrast, tennis is scored by 0, 15, 30, 40. 
  3. Court Size: Pickleball courts are considerably smaller than tennis courts and are the same dimensions as badminton doubles courts. A standard pickleball court is 44 feet long and 20 feet wide, and the net height is 34 inches in the center. A tennis net has a height of 42 inches at the posts and 36 inches in the center. In other words, the shortest part of a tennis net is the tallest part of a pickleball net. 
  4. The Kitchen: As many already know, “the kitchen” zone on a pickleball court is also called the non-volley zone. Unlike tennis, you can’t stand at the net and smash a ball over it in pickleball. In addition, pickleball is almost always played at “the kitchen” line, not back at the baseline, as in tennis. 
  5. Doubles vs. Singles: Let’s just say, it’s extremely difficult to play a singles pickleball match because the ball doesn’t bounce as high, and the paddles are smaller than tennis racquets. Considering this, and that it was originally designed to be played as a doubles sport, pickleball is predominantly always doubles. Unless you want a strenuous workout. 
  6. Accessible: Pickleball games tend to be much shorter than tennis matches, and children, adults, and senior adults can all play. It can have a variable speed of play where the game could be as slow-paced, relaxed, and light-hearted as a player wants. Or it can be intense, like professionals play. Because of the smaller court, the paddle construction, and the bounce of the ball, pickleball is more about quick reactions than it is about overall fitness. The key to being a great pickleball player, otherwise known as a pickler, is to focus on shot placement rather than power-hitting, as done in tennis. 

Holding “Court” at The Landings 

The good news is that among the dozens of tennis and pickleball courts available at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club, you don’t have to choose one sport over the other. You can get involved with both. 

We take great pride in our court sports programs. Whether you are a former tennis pro or a pickler enjoying a friendly round with neighbors, our Club has the court for you. From clinics to league play and everything in between, there is always something to do on one of the 31 tennis courts or 14 pickleball courts. 

There are tennis programs for all ages and the Club is home to the nation’s largest residential clay court facility, hosting several tournaments throughout the year, including the Savannah Challenger. There are 31 Har-Tru courts, 11 lighted courts for night play and three tennis complexes, which won The Landings Golf & Athletic Club the Bliss Award for Best Tennis Community of the Year in 2015. 

Pickleball is one of the most rapidly growing sports in the U.S. and the same holds true at The Landings. With 14 courts and weekly clinics, there are plenty of opportunities for pro and newbie players. Franklin Creek Sports Complex is the place to be on Tuesday nights for pickleball league play. 

Did you know that when you make a Discovery Visit to The Landings, you get full guest Club membership access for the duration of your stay? Schedule a visit today and come join in the fun or learn more about our Club membership options

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