Pickleball Vs Squash: The Key Differences

pickleball vs squash


Are you looking to pick up a new racquet sport but feeling torn between pickleball and squash? Both games offer exciting challenges and fun ways to get active. To help you decide which one might be a better fit, let’s delve into the key features of each sport and see how they compare.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a mashup of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net, pickleball uses paddles and a perforated plastic ball. It can be enjoyed as doubles or singles.

What is Squash?

This fast-paced sport takes place inside a four-walled court. Players use racquets to hit a small, hollow rubber ball against the walls, aiming to earn points by making it difficult for their opponent to return the shot. Squash is a singles-only game.

5 Key Differences Between Pickleball and Squash

Pickleball and squash, both popular racquet sports, might seem similar at first glance. But take a closer look, and you’ll find some interesting distinctions that set them apart. Let’s dive into five key areas to help you decide which sport might be a better fit for you:

Pickleball Paddles Vs. Squash Racquets

  • Pickleball Paddles: These solid paddles are made from composite materials like graphite or fiberglass. They’re larger than table tennis paddles but smaller than tennis racquets, designed for control and precision when hitting the lightweight, perforated plastic ball used in pickleball.

  • Pickleball Balls: 
  • Squash Ball: The ball used in squash is a smaller, high-bounce rubber ball that can travel at impressive speeds.
  • Squash Racquets: Stringed racquets are the tool of choice in squash. They’re smaller than pickleball paddles and offer more flexibility for powerful strokes.

Pickleball Balls Vs. Squash Balls

  • Pickleball Ball: Imagine a perforated plastic sphere with holes all around it. That’s a pickleball ball! These lightweight balls are designed for a distinctive bounce. They can bounce once before being volleyed (hit in the air) by players, adding a strategic element to the game.

  • Squash Ball: Squash balls are small, solid rubber spheres. They come in different colors depending on their “bounce” rating – yellow for beginners (bouncier), red for intermediate players (medium bounce), and double yellow for advanced players (less bounce). Squash encourages continuous volleying off the walls, so a bouncier ball wouldn’t work well.

Pickleball Courts Vs. Squash Courts

  • Pickleball Courts: Imagine a badminton court with a slightly modified tennis net. That’s the playing field for pickleball. It’s a relatively small court, making it ideal for beginners or those with limited space. Additionally, a non-volley zone near the net (called the “kitchen”) adds a unique strategic element to the game.

  • Squash Courts: Picture a fully enclosed space with four walls. That’s your squash court. These courts are significantly larger than pickleball courts, and the walls themselves become part of the game as players use them to bounce the ball and outmaneuver their opponent.

Pickleball Rules Vs. Squash Rules

  • Pickleball Rules: Serving in pickleball is underhand, and the ball can only bounce once before being volleyed (hit in the air) by either side. Scoring is similar to table tennis, with games typically going up to 11 points.

  • Squash Rules: Squash has a steeper learning curve when it comes to rules. Mastering serves, strokes, and court positioning takes practice. Points are earned similarly to tennis, with games typically going to 11 points (with a two-point lead needed to win).

4. Singles or Doubles? Let’s Get Social

  • Pickleball: One of the beauties of pickleball is its versatility. It can be played as doubles or singles, offering a more social atmosphere for those who enjoy playing with partners.

  • Squash: Squash is strictly a singles game. While there are variations like doubles squash played in some regions, the traditional format sees players battling it out one-on-one.

Pickleball vs. Squash: The Health Benefits

Both pickleball and squash are fantastic options for getting your heart rate up and keeping your body healthy. But when it comes to specific benefits, there can be some subtle differences. Let’s delve into the ways these two racquet sports can boost your well-being!

Cardio Champions:

Both pickleball and squash are excellent cardiovascular workouts. The constant movement, quick bursts of activity, and need for agility get your heart pumping and improve your overall fitness. This translates to better endurance, stronger lungs, and a healthier heart.

Strength in Numbers:

While both sports involve using your upper body to swing a paddle or racquet, squash might give your arms and core a slightly more intense workout. The fast-paced rallies and constant volleying in squash require more explosive movements and core strength compared to pickleball’s controlled volleys and underhand serves.

Footwork Finesse:

Both pickleball and squash require good footwork to navigate the court effectively. You’ll be shuffling, lunging, and changing direction quickly to reach shots. This improves your agility, coordination, and overall balance, making you more stable and potentially reducing your risk of falls.

Mental Matchup:

Both games keep your mind sharp! You need to anticipate your opponent’s shots, strategize your next move, and react quickly to changing situations. This mental workout can improve concentration, decision-making skills, and hand-eye coordination.

Social or Solo? It’s Up to You!

Pickleball offers a more social experience as it can be played in doubles or singles. Squash, on the other hand, is strictly a singles game. So, if you’re looking for a fun and social activity with friends, pickleball might be a better fit. However, if you prefer a solo challenge and intense workout, squash could be your champion.

The Bottom Line: Both Win!

Ultimately, both pickleball and squash offer a wealth of health benefits. The best choice depends on your individual preferences and goals. Consider the following:

  • Social vs. Solo: Do you prefer playing with friends or going head-to-head in a solo challenge?
  • Intensity Level: Are you looking for a moderate workout or a high-intensity sweat session?
  • Skill Level: How comfortable are you with learning new rules and techniques?

No matter which sport you choose, you’re sure to reap the rewards of improved cardiovascular health, strength, agility, and mental focus. So, grab your paddle or racquet, and get ready to have fun while getting healthy!

So, which is the better sport? Pickleball or squash?

Here are some factors to consider when deciding which sport is right for you:

  • Skill Level: Pickleball’s easy-to-learn rules make it a great choice for beginners, while squash requires more practice to master.
  • Social vs. Solo Play: Pickleball can be played as doubles or singles, offering a more social atmosphere. Squash is strictly a singles game.
  • Available Space: Pickleball courts are smaller, making them ideal for those with limited space. Squash courts require a dedicated indoor space.
  • Fitness Goals: Both games offer excellent cardio workouts, but squash might be more physically demanding due to its fast-paced nature.


Pickleball and squash are fantastic options for anyone looking to have fun, stay active, and challenge themselves. The best choice depends on your individual preferences and goals. If you have the opportunity, try both sports to see which one you enjoy more!


Q: Is pickleball the easiest sport?

A: Not necessarily. Pickleball is known for being beginner-friendly with easy-to-learn rules. However, mastering strategy and advanced techniques takes practice.

Q: Why do people love pickleball?

A: There are many reasons! People enjoy pickleball for its social aspects, fun and competitive gameplay, accessibility for all ages and skill levels, and the great exercise it provides.

Q: What is pickleball and why is it called that?

A: Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. The exact origin of the name pickleball is unclear, with a few creation stories out there.

Q: Is pickleball a women's sport?

A: Absolutely not! Pickleball is enjoyed by people of all genders. It's a great sport for men, women, and everyone in between, and offers opportunities for mixed-doubles play.

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