Padel vs. Pickleball: A Comprehensive Comparison for Beginners

Reading Padel vs. Pickleball: A Comprehensive Comparison for Beginners 5 minutes

Racquet sports are a fantastic way to stay active and have fun, and two sports that are gaining popularity worldwide are padel and pickleball. If you're new to these sports and wondering which one to try, this comprehensive comparison will help you understand the key differences and choose the one that suits you best.

Court Size and Layout

Padel and pickleball courts differ significantly in size. A padel court measures 20 meters by 10 meters, while a pickleball court is much smaller at 13.41 meters by 6.1 meters. The smaller size of a pickleball court makes it easier for beginners to cover the court and participate in fast-paced gameplay.

Court Material

Padel courts are typically made of artificial grass or artificial turf, providing a consistent playing surface that is gentle on the joints. In contrast, pickleball courts can be made of various materials such as asphalt, concrete, or wood, each offering a different playing experience and requiring different footwear.

Enclosed Court

A unique feature of padel is the enclosed court, surrounded by walls made of glass or metal mesh. These walls are used to play the ball off, adding a strategic element to the game. In pickleball, the court is open, and players must rely solely on their racquet skills to control the ball.


Padel and pickleball use different equipment. In padel, players use a solid paddle and a depressurized tennis ball, while in pickleball, players use a paddle made of wood or composite materials and a perforated plastic ball. The differences in equipment lead to differences in the way the ball is hit and the speed at which it travels.


The scoring systems for padel and pickleball are similar, with both sports using a rally scoring system. In padel, a game is typically played to 9 or 11 points, with a team needing to win by 2 points. In pickleball, a game is typically played to 11 points, with a team needing to win by 2 points.

The scoring system in padel is similar to tennis, with games typically played to 9 or 11 points, with a team needing to win by 2 points. However, there's a unique twist: if the score reaches 40-40 (deuce), the next point is called a golden point. The team that wins the golden point wins the game, adding an exciting element of tension to the match.

Types of Hits in Padel

Padel involves a variety of shots, each with its own technique and purpose. Here are some common types of hits in padel:

  • Bandeja: A high, offensive shot hit with the forehand that aims to make the ball bounce close to the opponent's baseline, putting them on the defensive.
  • Víbora: A low, angled shot hit with the backhand that aims to create an acute angle and force the opponent to move quickly to return the ball.
  • Smash: A powerful overhead shot typically hit with the forehand, executed when the ball is high and allows the player to hit it downwards towards the opponent's court with force.
  • Contrapared: A defensive shot hit with the backhand that is executed close to the body, often used to return fast and low balls.
  • Chiquita: A soft, delicate shot hit with the forehand or backhand that aims to drop the ball close to the net, often used as a surprise tactic.

These shots require different techniques and skills, adding depth and strategy to the game of padel.

Types of Hits in Pickleball

Dink: A soft shot hit just over the net, usually with backspin, to make it difficult for the opponent to return.

Drive: A fast and powerful shot hit with the intention of making the ball travel quickly and land deep in the opponent's court.

Drop Shot: A shot hit softly and with precision to make the ball drop just over the net, often used to catch opponents off guard.

Lob: A high-arcing shot hit over the opponent and aimed to land deep in the opponent's court, used to force the opponent back or to reset the point.

Volley: A shot hit in the air without letting the ball bounce, usually executed near the net to intercept the ball early and put pressure on the opponent.

Slice: A shot hit with sidespin, causing the ball to curve in the air and bounce unpredictably, often used to add variety and control to shots.

These shots require different techniques and strategies, adding depth and excitement to the game of pickleball.

Physical Demands

Both padel and pickleball are great sports for beginners, as they are less physically demanding than sports like tennis. Padel offers a full-body workout, with players using their arms, legs, and core muscles to hit the ball and move around the court. Pickleball is also a great workout, with players using quick, explosive movements to reach the ball and control the game.


In conclusion, padel and pickleball are both fun and exciting racquet sports with their own unique characteristics. Whether you prefer the fast-paced, enclosed court of padel or the open, accessible court of pickleball, both sports offer a great way to stay active and have fun. So, grab your paddle or racquet and give padel and pickleball a try to experience the unique joys of each sport!