Pickleball Vs Racquetball

Pickleball vs Racquetball

Racket sports are nothing new, but they are steadily growing in popularity each year. Pickleball, racquetball, tennis, and other racket sports have gained worldwide attention from college campuses to the country clubs and huge tournaments. The conversation of pickleball vs racquetball is confusing if you’re unfamiliar with the sports, but understanding the similarities and differences is easy!


Pickleball vs racquetball is a bit of friendly competition between two sports with a lot of the same rules. Pickleball can be played in singles or doubles, so it’s gameplay that tennis players are already familiar with. 


The sport is a popular choice because it isn’t as physically demanding as other racquet sports options. With a small court, lightweight equipment, and slower gameplay, pickleball attracts players who value a great strategy over sheer athletic ability. 

If you’re unfamiliar with playing pickleball, it’s time to change that!


A racquetball game is a great cardio workout that tests the player’s physical fitness. Playing racquetball involves a lot of running back and forth to hit the ball.


The racquet itself has enough weight to it to test your muscle strength a bit too.

This physically demanding sport offers a great workout, but it’s so much more than just mere exercise! Unlike tennis and pickleball, there’s no net, and the gaming rules are a bit different.

This game is more fast-paced than other racquet sports, but it’s so much fun you won’t even care!


Pickleball Serve

Only underhand serves are permitted when playing pickleball. The serve has to happen outside the baseline, with at least a one-foot distance from the baseline.

The official rules of the game say that all hits must be made at or below navel height. Once the ball has been served, the pickleball players can enter the court. 

The serve alternates after every point is scored. In doubles matches, each player gets to serve once before the opposing team serves.

Racquetball Serve 

Serving a racquetball has to be done very specifically to meet the rules of the game and set yourself up for a winning point. The ball must bounce off the floor once before bouncing off the front wall of the court.

For the service to be legal, the ball has to land behind the short line and before the back wall. Mastering a good racquetball serve takes hours of practice to learn exactly where to hit the ball and how hard.

Scoring the Game

Pickleball scoring begins with one very important rule: only the serving team can score. Only one point can be scored at a time, keeping this a relatively simple game. You have to win by at least 2 points to be named the victor of the match.

Games are typically scored to 11, but it can go as high as 15 or 21 in some games. To level the playing field and lower the server’s advantage, there is a rule that the ball bounces once on each side of the net before it’s hit in the air.

When a fault happens from the opposing team, the serving team wins a point. Faults occur when a ball is hit out of bounds or doesn’t make it over the net.

When you’re playing racquetball, only the serving team can score. Racquetball games are played to a score of 15 during tournaments, but the score can be changed for recreational games. Other common scores used are 21 and 7.

Once the ball has been served, players will take turns hitting the ball in a fast-paced rally. 

The rally continues until a player fails to return the ball to the front wall or carries the ball with their racquet. If the non-serving player makes one of those faults, the server wins a point.


Pickleball Court

Pickleball can technically be played indoors or outdoors, but the majority of pickleball courts are outdoors. A pickleball court looks similar to a tennis court at first glance. There’s even a tennis net in the middle of the court!

The biggest difference between a pickleball court and a tennis court is the size. Pickleball courts are much smaller than tennis courts. You can fit more than two pickleball courts inside a tennis court! A pickleball court measures 20 feet by 44 feet. There is a pickleball net in the middle of the court, separating the players on each side.

This size puts a pickleball court closer in size to a badminton court than any of the other racquet sports.

Racquetball Court

Indoor racquetball has the added benefit of being out of the sun and in the air conditioning to keep players cool.

A racquetball court is always inside. There’s no net present like you find on a pickleball or tennis court. The court is a closed indoor area with no out-of-bounds spaces.

Players must bounce their ball off the wall after it bounces off the floor once. If a ball doesn’t bounce off the wall, it wasn’t a proper racquetball serve.


Pickleball Paddle

Pickleball paddles are quite small compared the racquetball racquets. Paddles are allowed to be a maximum of 24 inches wide and 15 inches long.

Pickleball paddles can be made of wood, but most players prefer a paddle made of composite materials.

These paddles are lightweight, making pickleball a popular sport for all age groups and those that have injuries from playing other racket sports. 

Racquetball Paddle

A racquetball paddle is smaller than a tennis paddle but larger than a pickleball paddle. A paddle used for racquetball can’t be larger than 22 inches long. 

The paddles feature an oval frame and have strings in the area the ball will hit, similar to a tennis racket.


Pickleball Balls

The balls used in pickleball are made of a similar lightweight composite plastic as the paddle. The ball used in pickleball features holes that have been drilled through the plastic, setting them apart from other sports. 

Racquetball Ball

A racquetball is made of rubber that has a high bounce factor. The rubber ball is hollow, making them lightweight and easy to use. Racquet balls are smaller than tennis balls but larger than pickleball.

Should You Play Pickleball or Raquetball?

It’s clear that racquetball & pickleball have a lot in common and some important differences. Deciding which sport you should play is best done by getting out there and trying it! Play games of each of the two sports to find which one you like best. 

Both sports require skill and practice, but most people notice a preference pretty quickly. Grab a pickleball paddle and a racquetball racquet, and get out there!

Mastering ball hits and remembering the rules of each game will take time, but in the meantime, you’re sure to have a lot of fun.

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