Pickleball Guides

Pickleball vs Racquetball – A Tussle of Paddles

Pickleball vs Racquetball
Written by Alex

Being considered a lovechild of at least three renowned sports, badminton, tennis, and ping pong, Pickleball certainly has a thing for sharing uncanny resemblance regardless of the fact you play it indoors or outdoors.

Even for an avid enthusiast like me, differentiating it from other infamous sports such as Racquetball can get tricky, nevertheless, there are some discrepancies which we will be exploring in detail right down below.

Speaking of which, since you have already found yourself at this designated Paddles rendezvous, I will provide a brief insight on which sport out of pickleball vs racquetball is more suitable for your playstyle.

Major Difference Between Pickleball and Racquetball

While both of these sports might look like two peas in a pod, once you dive down into their intricacies, there are some key differences such as,

1. Serving Methodology

The first and foremost discrepancy of these sports relies on the “blink and you will miss” factor because at first glance it may feel the same. However, as per Pickleball’s official rules, players are required to execute an underhand serve motion, and any other move such as overhand swing or splice is strictly prohibited.

The server has to be adjacent to the height of the net, otherwise, it will be counted as an illegal serve, and in some cases, you may be required to repeat your serve.

On the flipside, Racquetball offers a more lenient form of serve, in fact, whether you want to serve underhand or overhand, there is no particular rule that will result in a fault.

However, for Pickleball, the serve has to be performed baseline, meanwhile, Racquetball players have to ensure one of their feet has to be in the service box while the other stays behind the service line.

In General, the Serving methodology is considerably simpler as compared to Racquetball since the player does not particularly have to focus the trajectory of the ball so that it bounces before the service line.

2. Double Bounce Implementation

Speaking of Bounce frequencies while serving, in Pickleball, the ball must bounce at the server side as well as the receiver side since PIckleball preserves a sense of fair play at both by preventing any form of unfair advantage.

As for Racquetball, there is no such thing as double bounce and players can directly execute a serve and it lets bounce only once before it hits the wall, allowing it to bounce behind the service line.

3. Non-Volley Zone

This is where things get interesting because in Pickleball you need to be mindful of the Kitchen or Non-Volley zone, which is a volley-restrictive area that stretches up to 7 feet from the net that divides the court.

Racquetball, on the other hand, doesn’t really have any sort of Non-Volley Zone and is free to maneuver anywhere in the court and execute shots without running into penalties.

4. Court Size

Another pivotal difference is the court that you would have your respective session at, astoundingly enough, they are polar opposites in size. 

As per official pickleball rules, a Pickleball court must measure around 44 feet long and 20 feet wide, while a Racquetball Court must measure 20 feet in length with a width of 40 feet.

The net height also has to be 36 inches for pickleball, whereas, it hangs a mere height of 20 inches in Racquetball, due to the nature of the sport.

However, a Pickleball court does not necessarily have to be played in indoor settings since it doesn’t need walls to support its core mechanics. Racquetball is supposed to be played in a walled court where all four walls play a crucial role whenever a player is executing a shot.

5. Paddle Type

Weighing no more than 9.5 ounces, a Pickleball paddle resembles a ping pong paddle and has a rectangular shape, mainly made of graphite, wood, or Fiberglass material with a unique core composite.

These paddles have a textured surface to enhance friction to ensure players holding them can exert spin on the ball.

A Racquetball Paddle weighs merely 6.4 ounces at best due to its lightweight structural design and has a smoother finish on its face, due to its fast-paced use cases. Depending on its quality and variant, most Racquetball Paddles are made either from Aluminum or Graphite Composite.

6. Scoring System

The only similarity both of these sports share is the victory conclusion at the end of each session. In other words, a team wins a match when they are in a 2-point lead. However, the score cap limit is partially different.

Pickleball being the slowest in nature offers a maximum score limit of 11 points in a session, meanwhile, Racquetball maintains its snappy core mechanics and lets players rack up points all the way up to 15 points.

7. Ball Type

Pickleball, as the name suggests, uses a perforated ball that has at least 20-40 holes depending on the settings you are playing in, i.e. Indoors or Outdoors, and is typically made from plastic material with a hollow structure. The ball is flimsy and wobbles easily when played outside in a heavy burst of wind or when spin force is applied to it.

Racquetball is stiff and made from dense rubber which provides a flexible feedback when hit with a robust swing from the paddle and has a diameter of 2.5 inches and weighs no more than 1.55 ounces. 

Pickleball Vs Racquetball, Which One Suits Your Personality

If you are looking for a quick burst of adrenaline pumping through your veins and want to put yourself on your toes, then I would highly suggest that you hit the Racquetball court since it offers an electrifying experience as it is much oriented towards players that enjoy an aggressive playstyle.

Pickleball, at its core, is designed for individuals who are more laid back see the bigger picture in their life, and want to attain leisure without putting much effort or pushing the limits. While there are fast-paced rallies to enjoy in the game, most footwork wouldn’t make you go through cardio sessions when compared to Racquetball.

In Conclusion

As mentioned above, Racquetball caters to players who love the delight of Power packed swings while Pickleballs let you take on things one at a time, nevertheless, if you are looking for a wholesome experience, it is safe to conclude that you would find an abundance of it.

So, hopeful that’s all the information about Pickleball vs Racquetball you may need to make up your mind in deciding which one is suitable for your playstyle, so pick up the paddle hit the courts, and show your opponent who boss!

About the author


Hello, I'm Alex, and welcome to PicklerSpot – your ultimate resource for all things pickleball! I've curated this blog to share my 5 years of expertise and tips to enhance your pickleball skills.

Leave a Comment