Padel vs Pickleball: An In-Depth Comparison

padel vs pickleball

In recent years, racket sports enthusiasts have seen the rise of two fast-growing sports: Padel and Pickleball. Each sport offers a unique blend of strategy, physicality, and fun, attracting players of all ages and skill levels. Though they share some similarities, Padel and Pickleball are distinct in their playstyle, equipment, court specifications, and origins. So let’s take a look at Padel vs Pickleball!

Origins and Popularity


Padel, a sport that originated in Mexico in the late 1960s, was created by Enrique Corcuera as a modified version of tennis that can be played in smaller spaces. It quickly spread to Spain and Latin American countries, where it has become a major racket sport. In recent years, Padel’s popularity has surged across Europe and the Middle East, with professional circuits and tournaments elevating its profile.


Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, Washington, by three fathers – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum – as a game for their families to play. It combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Pickleball has experienced exponential growth in the United States over the past decade, and its appeal is spreading internationally, with communities and leagues forming worldwide.

Court and Equipment

Padel Court

The Padel court is smaller than a tennis court, measuring 20 meters (66 feet) in length and 10 meters (33 feet) in width. It is enclosed by walls made of glass or solid material, which are used actively in the gameplay. The net in the center divides the court into two equal halves.

Pickleball Court

A Pickleball court is similar in size to a badminton court, measuring 20 feet in width and 44 feet in length for both singles and doubles play. The net is lower than in tennis, standing at 36 inches high at the sidelines and 34 inches high in the center. The court includes a 7-foot non-volley zone on each side of the net, known as the “kitchen,” to prevent smash shots from close range.


Padel uses a solid, stringless racket, which is smaller and more compact than a tennis racket. The balls used in Padel are similar to tennis balls but have slightly less pressure.

In contrast, Pickleball employs a solid paddle made of graphite/composite materials and a lightweight plastic ball with holes, often compared to a wiffle ball.

Gameplay and Rules

Scoring and Play

Both sports are typically played in doubles, though singles versions exist. Padel and Pickleball share a similar scoring system to tennis, with games, sets, and matches marking the progress of play. However, the gameplay and strategies differ significantly due to the court size, equipment, and specific rules.

Unique Features

Padel is characterized by its use of walls, as players can play the ball off them similar to squash, adding a unique tactical element to the game. One very cool and unique thing about Padel is that you can play a Salida (‘exit’). Where you play the ball back into action after it goes over the wall and off the court.

Pickleball is known for its “kitchen” or non-volley zone, which prevents players from executing smashes close to the net. Thus emphasizing placement and strategy over power.


Padel vs Pickleball, while similar in their appeal to a wide range of players and emphasis on strategy and fun. Offer distinct experiences due to their unique rules, equipment, and playstyle.

Whether you’re drawn to the tactical wall plays of Padel. Or, the strategic depth of pickleball’s non-volley zone. Both sports provide ample opportunity for enjoyment, physical exercise, and social interaction.

As their popularity continues to grow, Padel and Pickleball are set to become fixtures in the world of racket sports. With each having its own vibrant community and competitive spirit.

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