A Detailed Comparison of Pickleball vs. Racquetball

You’ve probably heard or have been part of the ongoing debate of pickleball vs. racquetball.

You may also be having difficulty differentiating the two. 

Either way, you’re here seeking answers regarding the “Pickleball vs. racquetball” conundrum.

Don’t worry; continue reading as this article will go through each similarity and difference to eliminate confusion.

A Man Playing Raquetteball In An Indoor Court.


Pickleball is a paddle game that uses a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.

It has parts of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong

Everyone of any age or level of skill can enjoy this game.

Pickleball is easy to learn because the rules are easy to follow. 

It can become a fast-paced, challenging, competitive game when people get better at it.

Pickleball can be played by one person or by two, so tennis players already know how to play it.

People like to play this sport because it isn’t as hard on the body as other racquet sports.

Pickleball is played on a compact court and requires light and minimal gear. 

It is also played slower by people who value strategy over pure athleticism.

If you don’t know how to play pickleball, it’s time to start!

Related Reading: Paddle Tennis Vs. Pickleball – Read About It Here


Racquetball is a fast-paced action sport played worldwide with the same equipment on courts all the same size.

The sport was popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s because it was enjoyable, easy to learn, and a great workout.

Racquetball/health clubs popped up nationwide, allowing people to meet new people and have fun in a clean environment with great programs. 

During its “hey day” in the mid-1980s, more than 10 million people played racquetball.

Over 5 million people play racquetball yearly, so it is still trendy.

A game of racquetball is a great cardio workout and a test of how fit the player is.

To hit the ball in racquetball, you have to run back and forth a lot.

The weight of the racquet itself will also test your muscle strength.

This sport demands your body and gives you a great workout, but it’s much more than a workout.

There is no net like in tennis or pickleball, and the rules are slightly different.

This game moves faster than most racquet sports, but you won’t mind because it’s so much fun.

Similarities of Pickleball And Racquetball


These sports are more accessible to play than tennis.

They are simple and easy to learn and play than tennis because the court and the hitting tool are smaller. 

Pickleball and racquetball are better when you react quickly to the ball with good eye-hand coordination.

However, you can hit a racquetball to move much faster than pickleball.


Both have courts that are about the same size.

The courts are four feet long, but the pickleball court is slightly shorter. 

You can play either game inside or outside.

But racquetball is rarely played outdoors, and outdoor courts are hard to find or construct. 

It is most commonly agreed upon as an indoor game.

Muscles Used

To drive the ball, both use arm and wrist strength.

The lower body is used in both games, but strong legs are not as crucial in pickleball because it requires less body movement. 

But strong legs help with both driving and shooting.


In both, a ball is used, but the shape, size, speed, and materials used to make the ball are very different.

The racquetball is a hollow rubber ball that you can hit very quickly. 

The pickleball ball is made of hard, hollow plastic with holes.

It is much bigger than a tennis ball, and different balls are used indoors and outdoors.


Neither sport requires specialized shoes.

But players of either sport will do better if they wear court shoes instead of running or basketball shoes. 

Even though special shoes aren’t required, they will help make it easier to move laterally and stop and start.

Players & Scoring

In both games, you can play with two players (called “singles”) or four players (named “doubles”).

You can play racquetball with three people (cutthroat), which is not an option in pickleball, but it is possible.

Only servers can win points in both, and both play games that usually end with the first to 11 and ahead by two.

Any matchup could have multiple paths to victory in a tournament setting.

Related Reading: Is Racquetball In The Olympics – Learn About It Here

Differences between Pickleball and Racquetball

Two Elderly Men Playing Pickleball.

Walls and Ceiling

In racquetball, the walls are both the edge of the court and essential pieces of strategy that help you score points.

You can play balls that pass you by off the back wall. 

Pickleball is played between two lines.

Racquetball is played with the walls used to hit angles and pass shots.


To get points in pickleball, every shot must go over the net.

In racquetball, there is no net, and driving the ball down and into the corner is a common way to score points. 

Tennis and pickleball players struggle to adjust to hitting shots down rather than up and over a net.

This difference in hitting shots makes it hard for tennis and pickleball players when acclimating to playing racquetball.

In pickleball, the players can use the areas closest to the net if they don’t hit volleys.

In racquetball, there is no rule like this one.

Also, you cannot make services from this area.


In racquetball, players must move quickly from side to side and front to back, often more than once in a single point.

Most of the time, hitting a shot is a much more physical process requiring more strength.

Pickleball has less space to cover than other racquet sports.

Players have to be on their feet and move around, but most shots are dinks or drops, which don’t require much physical effort. 

On the other hand, the length of rallies means it can take many strokes to win a point.

Many points are won with skill instead of strength.


The paddle for pickleball is much smaller than the racquets used in tennis or racquetball.

It is also smaller and lighter, and its face is solid. 

It takes more work to make a spin.

There are many different kinds of materials and ways to make them. 

The pickleball paddle doesn’t have strings.

However, if the solid face is broken, cracked, or damaged, you must replace the whole thing. 

After much use, the paddle’s surface eventually wears down, so replacing this is inevitable.

Racquetball racquets can be restrung, just like tennis racquets, and usually need restrung every so often to work well.

Rule of Two Bounces

Only in pickleball can you not hit the serve or the return of the service before it bounces.

This fundamental rule dramatically affects how the game is played.

Related Reading: Pickleball Paddles –Read About It Here

Final Thoughts

It is easy to mistake the two sports for each other, but they are different.

Both sports are exceptional forms of exercise. 

However, pickleball is less strenuous on the body if you are looking for a calmer sport between the two.

Conversely, if you need a more active sport, then racquetball is for you.