Are you a fan of paddle sports but confused about pickleball vs paddleball and the difference between them? If so, you’re not alone. Both sports are played with a paddle and a ball, but they have many differences that set them apart. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the two sports, including their history, rules, and equipment. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of the differences between paddleball and pickleball.


What is Pickleball?

  • Pickleball is a popular paddle sport that was invented in the Seattle area in 1965. It’s a mixture of tennis and ping pong, with players using paddles to hit a lightweight, perforated plastic ball over a net.
  • The game can be played indoors or outdoors on a court that’s roughly the same size as a doubles badminton court.
  • The rules of pickleball are similar to tennis and ping pong, with various differences and additions. For example, in pickleball, you serve underhand, diagonally across the court. A rally then begins, and when someone eventually messes up, the other team gets a point. Scoring in pickleball is closer to ping-pong than tennis.
  • One unique aspect of pickleball is the ‘kitchen’—the 7-foot area on either side of the court. This is also known as the non-volley zone. You can never hit a volley while any part of your body is in the kitchen.
  • Pickleball paddles are roughly the same size as paddleball paddles but do not have any holes in them. Pickleball paddles are made of wood, plastic, or composite materials with a graphite face.
  • A pickleball ball is a lightweight, hollow, perforated ball, made from plastic. It has fewer holes than a traditional wiffle ball, so is slightly heavier.
  • Pickleball nets are similar to tennis nets but are about 6 inches lower.

What is Paddleball?

Paddleball is a lesser-known paddle sport that has been around for many years. There are two main versions of the game: one-wall paddleball and four-wall paddleball.

One-wall paddleball

One-wall paddleball was created as a variation of handball. Players decided to use paddles to protect their hands in a particularly cold winter, possibly in the 1940s. In one-wall paddleball, opponents stand side by side and hit the ball off a wall. The first player serves by striking the ball off the back wall and letting it bounce. The next player must hit the ball back off the wall. From then on, the object of the game is for each opposing player to return the ball against the wall without letting it bounce on the floor more than once.

Four-wall paddleball

Four-wall paddleball was invented by a physical education teacher, Earl Riskey, at the University of Michigan in 1930. In four-wall paddleball, opponents hit the ball off the front wall and attempt to hit it back before it bounces twice. The ball can strike any number of walls throughout the point. Four-wall paddleball is played indoors on a court that’s roughly the same size as a singles racquetball court.

A paddleball paddle differs from a pickleball paddle in that it has holes in it. These are added to reduce air friction, which allows for a faster swing. Paddleball rackets are also typically a slightly rounder shape.

Paddleball balls are usually small, soft rubber tennis balls. They’re a little bigger than a ping pong ball and similar to squash balls.

    One-Wall Paddleball vs. Four-Wall Paddleball

One-Wall PaddleballFour-Wall Paddleball
One-wall paddleball is typically played outdoorsfour-wall paddleball is typically played indoors.
In one-wall paddleball, the game is played between two players or two teams, and the court consists of a single wall. The ball must hit the wall before it bounces on the ground and then hit the wall again on the opponent’s side.  In four-wall paddleball, the court is an enclosed space with four walls, and the game is played between two players or two teams. The ball must hit the front wall before it bounces on the ground and then hit the front wall again on the opponent’s side. The ball can also hit the side or back walls before it hits the front wall
The first player or team to reach 21 points wins the game.  The first player or team to win two out of three games wins the match.  


While there are significant differences between paddleball and pickleball, there are also some similarities. For example, both sports involve hitting a ball with a paddle, and both require hand-eye coordination and agility.



The most obvious difference between paddleball and pickleball is the court.

Paddleball can be played indoors or outdoors, on a court with one wall or four walls.

Pickleball, on the other hand, is typically played on an outdoor court with a net.


Another significant difference is the size of the ball.

Paddleball balls are typically smaller than pickleball balls. They are made of different materials. Paddleball balls are usually made of rubber, while pickleball balls are made of plastic.


The paddles used in the two sports also differ.

Paddleball paddles have holes in them, while pickleball paddles do not.

paddleball paddles are typically longer and narrower than pickleball paddles.


The scoring systems of the two sports are also different.

In pickleball, the game is typically played to 11 points, while in paddleball, the game is typically played to 21 points.


In conclusion, while paddleball and pickleball share some similarities, they are two different sports with unique rules and equipment. Understanding the differences between the two can help players and spectators better appreciate each sport’s nuances and challenges. Whether you prefer the fast-paced action of paddleball or the strategic gameplay of pickleball, both sports offer a fun and challenging way to stay active and enjoy time with friends and family.

No, you cannot play pickleball with a paddleball paddle. While the two paddles may look similar, they are designed for different sports and have different specifications.

Yes, paddleball can be a great workout. The sport requires quick reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and agility, all of which can help improve overall fitness.

Yes, you can play paddleball indoors. Four-wall paddleball is typically played indoors, while one-wall paddleball can be played indoors or outdoors.

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