pickleball vs tennis

Is Pickleball Easier than Tennis? Why?

With the increasing number of pickleball players, many people wonder if pickleball is an easier game than tennis.

You might want to adopt a game that is easy to learn, or want to know your chances of having a bright pickleball career. In some cases, people above 50 want to have fun and fitness at the same time without much physical strain.

Or if you are switching from tennis to pickleball and are confused, you might ask: is pickleball easier than tennis?

Therefore, in this article, we answer this question and discuss the various reasons why pickleball is easier than tennis.

Table of Contents

Is Pickleball Easier Than Tennis?

The short answer is yes. Pickleball is less demanding in terms of physical activity, strength, stamina and complexity. You don’t have to be in the best physical condition to play pickleball.

Unlike tennis, you can play pickleball for a long time and can enjoy it for years to come.
There is no doubt that it is easier to start and learn pickleball. But as pickleball is a professional sport, you need dedication, hard work, and seriousness to master it and reach 4 and above level.

Unlike tennis, where the best players have to start training at a young age, pickleball players can start playing at any time. And that’s why it is so popular among older folks.

In reality, pickleball and tennis are quite different. They are played with different equipment, rules, and courts. Both games have their fan base and tournaments with the best players to look up to.

Still, we can’t deny the numerous similarities between tennis and pickleball that cause this comparison.

Also Read: Can you play pickleball on a tennis court?

Why Is Pickleball Easier Than Tennis?

We cannot prove our point only by saying that pickleball is an easier game than tennis. We need to give reasons why pickleball is easier than tennis.

What factors, similarities, differences, and rules make pickleball easy to play?

Here we will discuss why pickleball is easier than tennis? Let’s dive into the details further.

1. Different Equipment

The first thing you will notice is the difference between a tennis racquet and a paddle of pickleball. Similarly, the balls of the two sports are quite different. Their structures are nowhere alike, as are their size and performance.

A pickleball paddle is like a stiff wall as compared to a tennis racquet. When a ball hits the tennis racquet, the strings allow the ball to sink or compress before bouncing back. It gives the player enough time to hold the ball on the racquet and spin.

Whereas in a pickleball paddle, the flat surface returns the ball immediately. The only chance players have is to place the ball and hit on the sweet spot. That is something you learn with a hell of a lot of practice.

Similarly, the tennis ball has more bounce, which makes it go farther and higher than the pickleball ball. The ball used in pickleball has several holes and less bounce. While returning the ball, pickleball players get less reaction time to hit the ball and need to be quick.

2. Court Size

In tennis, the court is huge (78’ x 38’), and players can hit anywhere to get the point. Thus, you will see them running around to hit the ball with a lot of force. This makes tennis a physically -challenging game and hard on your bones and joints.

However, a pickleball court is nearly half the size of a tennis court. The tennis court is 78ft long and 27ft wide, while it’s 36ft wide for double players. On the other hand, the pickleball court is 44ft long and 20ft wide. Therefore, many players find it easy as they don’t have to run back and forth. But, while playing singles, it can still get tough.

3. Fewer Injuries

Fewer chances of an injury is the main reason why the majority of people find pickleball easier. There are many overuse injuries like tennis elbow, wrist, shoulder, knee, and back injuries among tennis players. Often, while trying to catch the ball in an odd position, players sprain their ankle or face other issues.

Contrary to this, pickleball is not that intense and demanding and played in one place. That makes it less likely for you to get injured. Though you can still get tennis elbow while playing pickleball, it’s less common than is tennis and most found in old or weak players.

4. [Mostly] Slow Play and Less Stamina Requirements

Pickleball is a usually slow-paced game where patience and ball placements matter a lot. Therefore, pickleball players, at least hobbyists, don’t necessarily need to have a lot of stamina, unlike tennis players. They have a small court to cover and so less movement.

Pickleball is more often played in doubles, which makes it even easier. In tennis, both singles and doubles are common.

5. Shorter Net and Underhand Serves

In pickleball, service is always underhand. Overhand and backhand are not allowed. Though underhand serves in pickleball have a lot of variations and might be tricky, they are less physically tiring.

The net height is low, and the court is also small, making the volley very forceful. Therefore, you cannot enter the non-volley or kitchen area to hit the volley.

6. Ease of Play

You can play pickleball anywhere, on a tennis or volleyball court. You can play in indoors or outdoors. That is not the case with tennis. So there’s more flexibility and ease of playing.

Factors that Make Pickleball Tricky and Tough

Despite being easier than tennis, pickleball is still a challenging game and there are several aspects that make it tricky.

  • Pickleball games can be slow pace games, but very fast at the same time. So the placement of the ball and accuracy is the key to score, which is a skill you must learn.
  • You stay near the kitchen line in pickleball to get better access to the ball. Hitting the ball high is not a good option in pickleball. Yet, in tennis, players are all over the court.
  • Pickleball requires patience. You can not try to hit a passing shot and get a point every time, especially in doubles. So you’ll have to earn each point by planning and strategies like stacking or poaching.
  • The slow pace and small court reduce unforced errors you make. But this also means that your opponent won’t easily make a mistake, and you’ll have to play smarter for the point.

The Bottom Line

Both games require the coordination of hands and eyes, speed, flexibility, and agility. It would help if you had good reflexes for both games. Yet, tennis also needs strength and stamina. It demands physical fitness and focus, which makes it the harder of the two games.

On the contrary, pickleball is less physically-demanding or intense and results in fewer injuries. It’s also easier as you have to cover a small area, compared to tennis.

That said, becoming a professional player in pickleball can still be challenging. It is easy to start and enjoy recreational matches, but making a career out of it requires a lot of hard work and practice.

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