Key Differences Between Tennis and Pickleball

September 17, 2021

It’s no secret that tennis and pickleball have a lot in common. After all, pickleball was created as a fun fusion of tennis, ping-pong and badminton back in the 1970s. But just like its name, there’s much that’s unique about this low-impact sport!

To help beginners feel more comfortable joining in the fun, CA pickleball coordinator, Duane Sinclair, explains what makes pickleball distinct from its famous cousin…


Equipment differences

  • Pickleball paddles are smaller than tennis racquets. Unlike textured tennis racquets with strings, pickleball paddles are either completely smooth or have air holes.
  • Pickleball uses a small plastic ball, which means it doesn’t bounce as high as a tennis ball. It’s similar in appearance to a whiffle ball.

The pickleball serve

  • While tennis requires an overhand serve, pickleball serves must be underhand.
  • Picklers serve diagonally to the opposite side of the court.
  • The pickleball serve is a simple motion that’s similar to bowling a ball. It’s much easier for beginners than the overhand serve in tennis.

Become a Member and Play Pickleball for Free

CA members can play pickleball at our new courts in Owen Brown and at Supreme Sports Club! Interested in learning more about how you can start playing pickleball in Columbia today by becoming a member? Use the form below to reach out to us an a membership advocate will tell you more.

Use the form below to have a member advocate get in touch with you about becoming a member!

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The “no-volley zone”

  • The no-volley zone (known by picklers as “the kitchen”) is a seven-foot area located on both sides of the net. The serve must clear this area. We can’t step into the kitchen when the ball is in the air, only when it bounces.
  • The kitchen is a safety feature that prevents spikes from hitting players that are close to the net.
  • Pickleball also has a unique two-bounce rule. After you serve, the returning team has to hit the ball after one bounce. Then, the serving team has to let it bounce once before hitting it back. After that, it’s game on! This rule is in effect at the start of every point.


Play pickleball at CA

Want to learn more? Check out our blog on the benefits of pickleball and follow CA Tennis on Facebook!

If you’re ready to play, Owen Brown has six newly built pickleball courts waiting for you! To reserve a spot at Owen Brown, call Long Reach Tennis Club at 410-423-4120.

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