Is Pickleball and Paddle Ball the Same Thing?

Is Pickleball and Paddle Ball the Same Thing?

Pickleball and paddle ball are both sports that are played with a paddle and a ball, but there are some key differences between the two.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the history of each sport, how they’re played, and the equipment you need to get started. We’ll also discuss the benefits of each sport and help you decide which one is right for you. Let’s get started!!

History of Pickleball

According to the United States Pickleball Association (USAPA), pickleball was invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, a politician, and former professional tennis player. The game was based on paddle ball, which is played with one hand instead of two like in tennis. 

He created the game to be more accessible to older adults and people with physical limitations, so they could still enjoy playing a game together. 

At first, it was called “Paddle Tennis”, but the name was changed to pickleball after Pritchard’s wife began calling it that since players always seemed to be ‘picking up the ball’ (referring to the etiquette of letting other players retrieve the ball after a missed shot). 

Here’s a brief timeline:

  • 1965 – Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell invent pickleball while living in Washington State.
  • 1967 – Pickleball is recognized as an official sport by the USAPA, the governing body of paddle sports in America.
  • 1968 – The first national pickleball tournament was held on the island of Maui, HI.
  • 1973 – Pickleball is recognized as an official sport by the US Olympic Committee.
  • 1975 – The first international pickleball tournament was held in Toronto, Canada.
  • 2014 – Estimated 1 million people play pickleball worldwide according to the USAPA.

History of Paddle Ball

Paddleball has been around since at least the 1920s, and there’s some debate about who invented the game. Some people say it was George Padelford in 1921, while others claim it was Barney McCallum in 1925. 

Similar to pickleball, a paddle ball is played with a paddle and a small rubber ball. It’s played on a court that’s similar in size to a tennis court, but instead of hitting the ball across the net, you hit it against the side wall.

How is Pickleball Different from Paddle Ball?

One big difference between pickleball and paddle ball is where the game can be played. While both can be played on a tennis court, pickleball can also be played on any flat surface such as a basketball or handball court.

You can even play pickleball in large indoor spaces such as gyms and ballrooms. Another difference is the number of people who can play at once. In pickleball, two to four players compete against each other, while paddle ball is usually played in doubles.

The equipment needed for pickleball and paddle ball are somewhat similar. Both require a small rubber ball, some sort of racket or paddle, and some sort of court surface.

However, the size of a pickleball court is smaller than a paddle ball court since players have to be able to reach across the net. Typically a pickleball court should be 20′ x 44′, while a paddle ball court should be 28′ x 52′.

In terms of equipment, pickleball paddles are larger than those used in paddle ball since they have to protect players from the net as well as being able to hit the ball across to the other side. 

Additionally, pickleball paddles need to be lightweight so as not to interfere with a player’s speed and accuracy. Also, paddle ball is usually played with wooden or composite paddles, while pickleball is usually played with an ultra-light plastic paddle.

Benefits of Playing Pickleball vs Paddle Ball

The benefits of playing pickleball over paddle ball are vast. First, the court size is smaller which means players have to be more focused and strategic as opposed to just being able to hit the ball hard. 

In pickleball, a player needs to have good hand-eye coordination in order to accurately hit the smaller ball back across the court. Another benefit is that pickleball can be played by people of all ages, whereas paddle ball tends to be more popular among older adults.

Additionally, the smaller court size makes it easier for players who are less physically fit to enjoy the game as well.

Who Can Play Pickleball vs Paddle Ball?

Like tennis, it’s recommended that players in pickleball and paddle ball be at least eight years old. Additionally, the USAPA recommends that players be in reasonable physical health in order to avoid injury when playing either game. This means not suffering from any stress fractures or other injuries that could be worsened by playing either sport.

Pickleball vs Paddle Ball: Who’s Winning?

Today it seems like pickleball is winning the popularity contest!

The USAPA currently has over 40,000 registered members and estimates that around 1 million people worldwide play pickleball. In comparison, there’s no official governing body for paddleball that keeps track of worldwide participation or membership.

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