Pickleball vs. Squash

Pickleball vs. Squash: 11 Key Differences

If you are a squash player who is considering playing pickleball, you might wonder how the two sports differ. Though Squash and Pickleball are similar in many ways, there are a few key differences that set these two sports apart, such as the type of court, the ball used in the game, and the presence of a net.

Keep reading to explore these differences in detail, so you know which sport better fits your personality and preferences.

Table of Contents

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball has been one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States for the past 3 years, and is also gaining popularity in other parts of the world. It is a racket sport played by two or four players in teams using a plastic ball and paddles. Pickleball is similar to badminton, tennis, and ping pong in several ways.

What Is Squash?

Squash is an internationally played and acknowledged game. What makes squash unique is that it is played indoors in a court bounded by four walls. This is also a racket sport that requires a hard rubber ball and stringed rackets. Squash is very similar to racket ball.

Origins of Squash And Pickleball

The sport of pickleball came into existence in 1965 in Washington. It was created by Joel Pritchard and his friend Bill Bell in an attempt to have some fun with their families. They lowered a badminton net and experimented with various balls, rackets and techniques to finally come up with this amazing game. Soon the game became popular in other areas. Several modifications were made to the original game before the present day pickleball emerged.

The sport of squash originated in the 19th century in the prisons of London. Initially, players experimented with different types of balls, rackets and styles of play. Rubber balls were introduced into the game and rackets were modified. Soon squash courts were set up all over the world and a squash association was formed.

Pickleball vs. Squash: Key Differences

Here we’ll compare Pickleball and Squash in detail.

1. Type of Court

Pickleball vs. Squash: Type of Court

A pickleball court is very similar to a badminton court in terms of size. It measures around 44 feet in length and 20 feet in width. A line demarcated 7 feet from the net marks the non volley zone. You can play pickleball in both indoor and outdoor courts.

On the other hand, squash is played in an indoor court enclosed by four walls. It measures around 32 feet long and 22 feet wide, which makes it smaller than a pickleball court. A number of lines are marked on the court according to the game rules.

2. Ball

The ball used to play pickleball is a 0.8 oz perforated plastic ball. It is lighter as compared to a squash ball. Whereas a squash ball is a small hard rubber ball that is designed to bounce off the wall.

However, both squash ball and pickleball ball are hollow from the inside.

3. Racket

Another major difference between the two sports is the racket. In pickleball, the racket used is a solid structure called a paddle. It is smaller than a tennis paddle and is much shorter and wider. It can be constructed using polymer, wood or campsite material. Explore what’s the best material for a pickleball paddle here.

Conversely, a squash racket is a stringed racket like that of badminton. Also, it is much longer than a pickleball paddle.

4. Net

Pickleball vs. Squash: Net

If you are playing pickleball, there has to be a net between the opponents. The ball is hit over the net. A pickleball net is slightly lower than a tennis net.

Unlike pickleball, there is no net in squash. Instead of a net, there is a tin in squash. It is placed at the bottom of the front wall and acts as a net.

5. Player Positioning

Pickleball can be played in doubles or singles. In both cases, the players take position on opposite sides of the net.

However, in squash as there is no net, players stand next to each other and hit the ball alternatively against the front wall.

6. Serving Techniques

Both squash and pickleball have specific serving techniques. As a general rule, in pickleball the serve has to be made with an underhand or backhand motion and should be aimed diagonally opposite across the court. If a player fails to serve, he doesn’t get a second chance, as the serve transfers to the partner or to the opponent.

Much the same way as in pickleball, the serve in squash is also served overhand. The serve is made from inside the court, and only one serve is allowed. The ball is served diagonally across the room off the front wall.

7. Scoring System

The scoring system of pickleball is similar to tennis. Each match is played to eleven points and 2 points are needed to win. In tournaments, there are 15 or 21 points.

Similarly, squash is also played to eleven points and a player must win by 2 points. Matches are best of 3 or 5 games.

8. Popularity

In terms of popularity, squash is the clear winner. It is an international game that is also included in the Asian Games. It is played competitively and recreationally all around the world.

On the other hand, pickleball is the most popular game in the United States. It is a comparatively less intense game and is enjoyed by all age groups, including children and senior citizens.

9. Pace of The Game

Pickleball is a comparatively slow-paced game with ample time for hand eye coordination. As the court size is considerably larger than a squash court, the ball takes its time to fly across the court. Nevertheless, professional players can also turn pickleball into a fast-paced game. See our guide on how to become a 4.5 pickleball player, of which adjusting your pace is an important part.

On the contrary, squash is played in a closed court where the ball never goes out of bounds and the player always has to stay vigilant. Moreover, the squash court is smaller, and the rubber ball swiftly bounces across the walls. Therefore, squash is considered a fast-paced game.

While pickleball is generally easier to play compared to squash, read our guide on: Is pickleball easier than tennis?

10. Level of Difficulty

Pickleball vs. Squash: Difficulty Level

In terms of difficulty to learn, squash is considered more challenging than pickleball. In fact, it is one of the toughest racket sport. This is because the rules are complex, and the ball moves very fast. It requires the player to be in good shape and well-trained. Playing squash requires a high level of physical exertion.

Alternatively, pickleball is a much simpler and easy to learn game. Players of all age groups can easily enjoy this game. Pickleball requires a moderate to low level of physical exertion.

11. Sport Attire

For pickleball, you do not need to wear any special clothing. Any casual sports wear like T-shirt and shorts that is comfortable enough is a good choice. You do not need any protective equipment except glasses (which, too, is optional).

However, for a squash game, you have to make sure to be dressed in proper squash gear. This includes neat athletic clothes and specific squash shoes. Moreover, it is better if you wear protective goggles to a squash game to keep your eyes safe.

Is Pickleball or Squash More Expensive?

When it comes to expense, squash is a more expensive sport. Even though the cost of equipment for both squash and pickleball is the same, the difference is due to the courts. As squash courts are indoors, you will find them in private clubs. However, pickleball courts are typically present outdoors and are usually found in public parks.

Can You Play Pickleball On A Squash Court?

Yes, you can play pickleball on a squash court. However, you will need to make some additions and adjustments. This includes marking a new playing area on the court according to the requirements of pickleball. Apart from this, you will have to erect a 36-inch net in the middle of the squash court.

Also, see our guide on: Can you play pickleball on a tennis court?

Pickleball vs. Squash: How to Choose?

Now you would have a better idea about the differences between squash and pickleball. Both are equally interesting and competitive sports. Which game you want to pursue totally depends upon your choice. If you prefer a more physically challenging yet rewarding sport, then squash is for you. However, if you enjoy a slow-paced game while still getting the adrenaline rush, then pickleball is your game.

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