Step into the exciting worlds of pickleball and badminton – two thrilling sports beloved by enthusiasts worldwide. With their fast-paced action and unique appeal, they have captivated players and fans alike.
In this comprehensive article, we’ll be exploring the differences between pickleball and badminton. In particular, we’ll be shedding light on their origins, court dimensions, equipment, gameplay, techniques and popularity.
Whether you’re a seasoned player or curious beginner, this article will be your ultimate guide to understanding 7 unique differences between pickleball and badminton!
1. Origins and History
Pickleball owes its creation to the innovative minds of Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum. The sport had its humble beginnings dating back to 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
The trio, looking to create a fun and engaging game for their families, ingeniously combined elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis. They embraced the use of a wiffle ball, appreciating its slow flight characteristics. Additionally, they crafted homemade paddles from plywood, resulting in a truly unique and captivating gameplay experience.
The origins of the sport’s name, “Pickleball,” carry an amusing tale – it’s said that the Pritchard family’s dog, Pickles, was an eager participant in retrieving stray balls during the early days of the game, thus inspiring the quirky moniker.
In contrast, badminton boasts a history steeped in tradition and cultural significance. Its roots trace back thousands of years to ancient civilisations in Asia including China, India and Greece. Early versions of the game involved hitting a shuttlecock, known as a “birdie,” with hands or simple rackets, and it evolved over time into the sport we recognise today.
The modern form of badminton gained prominence in British India during the mid-19th century when British army officers stationed there introduced it to England. Its popularity surged, and the sport’s rules and regulations were formalised, culminating in the establishment of the Badminton Association in 1893.
Since then, badminton has grown into an internationally renowned competitive sport, becoming an Olympic event in 1992.
2. Court Size and Net Height
A standard pickleball court measures 6.1m in width and 13.4m in length. The pickleball net height at the centre of the court is set at 0.864m, while it slightly increases to 0.915m at the posts.
The court’s non-volley zone, commonly referred to as the “kitchen,” extends 2.13m from the net on both sides. Players are restricted from volleying within this zone, adding strategic depth to the game as they need to position themselves effectively to gain an advantage over opponents while staying outside the non-volley zone.
Badminton courts have identical dimensions to pickleball courts, measuring 6.1m in width and 13.4m in length. The net height in badminton is higher than in pickleball. At the centre of the badminton court, the net stands at 1.55m, while at the posts, it measures 1.57m.
Unlike pickleball, badminton courts do not have a non-volley zone. Players can move freely across the court, allowing for more dynamic and agile movement during gameplay. The absence of a non-volley zone in badminton encourages players to utilise quick footwork and agile manoeuvres to cover the entire court effectively.
When it comes to equipment, pickleball and badminton couldn’t be more different.
In pickleball, players use solid pickleball paddles made from wood, composite or graphite, providing a sturdy and controlled feel.
Pickleballs, designed with a plastic composition and a striking resemblance to wiffle balls, are a distinctive hallmark of the sport. Their design allows for precise shots and less bounce, contributing to a slower-paced game.
Looking to pick up a pickleball paddle or two? Check out our article on the 9 Best Shops To Buy Pickleball Paddles in Singapore!
On the other hand, badminton players opt for lightweight rackets made of graphite or other materials, enabling swift movements and quick shots.
Instead of a ball, badminton uses a shuttlecock which features feathers or synthetic materials. The shuttlecock’s aerodynamic design results in fast-paced rallies and unpredictable flight patterns.
4. Grip Styles
An essential aspect of any racket-based sport is the grip style employed by players, and both pickleball and badminton showcase fascinating differences in this regard.
There are predominantly 4 types of pickleball grips. They are the continental, eastern, semi-western and western grips. Typically, players opt for the continental or eastern grip, which provides them with a remarkable advantage in executing a diverse range of shots with impeccable precision.
However, when it comes to badminton, the realm of grip styles expands significantly. Badminton players embrace various grips, each serving distinct purposes on the court. The forehand grip, favoured for its power shots, and the backhand grip, ideal for defensive manoeuvres, are just a few examples of the versatile techniques they utilise.
This divergence in grip styles between pickleball and badminton not only highlights the uniqueness of each sport but also underscores the specialised skills and strategies that players employ to master their respective games.
5. Gameplay and Rules
In pickleball, the captivating double bounce rule sets the tone for rallies. The ball must bounce once on each side before players are allowed to volley. This rule fosters longer rallies and encourages skillful shot placement, as players strategise to gain control over the game.
Additionally, pickleball introduces the non-volley zone, often referred to as the “kitchen.” Players must be cautious when stepping into this area, which is situated just outside the net, as they are prohibited from volleying the ball while inside it. This rule adds an extra layer of complexity to the game, as players need to find the right balance between aggressive plays at the net and maintaining proper court positioning.
Conversely, badminton’s fast-paced nature stems from its different set of rules. Unlike pickleball, badminton does not have the double bounce rule. This means players can directly hit the shuttlecock after the serve, leading to rapid-fire exchanges and swift rallies that demand quick reflexes and agile movements.
Moreover, badminton players have the freedom to score points on every serve, making it essential for players to maintain focus and capitalise on every opportunity. The shuttlecock’s flight path also adds an element of unpredictability, testing players’ ability to read their opponent’s shots and respond with well-timed returns.
6. Playing Style and Techniques
The essence of pickleball revolves around close-quarters play, elevating the kitchen area as a pivotal point for control. Skillful execution of dinking, volleying and overhead smashes become brushstrokes that players deftly wield to gain an edge on the court.
Meanwhile, badminton emphasises agility and quick footwork to cover the larger court area. Players use various techniques including clears to send the shuttlecock deep into the opponent’s court, drops to gently place the shuttlecock over the net, and powerful smashes to put pressure on their opponents.
7. Accessibility and Popularity
In recent years, pickleball has been on the rise, with its courts becoming increasingly accessible worldwide. Many recreational centres and parks now offer pickleball facilities, making it easier for enthusiasts to engage in the sport.
In Singapore, for example, there are a wide range of locations to play pickleball such as:
Another driving factor behind pickleball’s growing popularity is the reasonable cost of equipment. Unlike some other sports, pickleball equipment is relatively affordable, attracting players of all ages and skill levels.
Badminton has long been a global favourite, with its courts widely available in numerous countries. Particularly in Asian nations like China, Indonesia and India, badminton enjoys immense popularity. Its presence in schoolyards, community centres, and professional sports clubs has contributed to its soaring success.
Additionally, the sport’s simplicity and accessibility have made it a favourite choice for recreational play among people of all backgrounds.
FAQs About Pickleball vs Badminton
Yes, both pickleball and badminton are known for their accessibility to players of all skill levels. These sports are beginner-friendly and offer a great opportunity for people of varying athletic abilities to have fun and stay active.
Yes, both sports can be adapted to accommodate players with joint or mobility issues.
The smaller court size and slower pace of pickleball can be particularly suitable for those with mobility challenges. Additionally, players can modify their techniques and movements to suit their individual needs.
Yes, both pickleball and badminton can be enjoyed in both indoor and outdoor settings.
The duration of a match can vary depending on factors such as the skill level of the players, the format of the game (singles or doubles), and the scoring system. Pickleball matches often last around 20-30 minutes, while badminton matches can range from 30 minutes to an hour or more for competitive play.