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Pickleball vs Squash – Similarities? Differences?

A collage of Squash ball game and pickleball.

As someone who loves pickleball and squash, I often get asked about the similarities and differences between the two sports. So, today, I thought I would break it down for all you curious folks out there!

For the sport’s key aspects, pickleball and squash share some similarities. For instance, they are both racket sports played with a ball. However, there are also some key differences. Here’s a breakdown of each sport’s key aspects:

What is Pickleball?

A woman playing pickleball on an open court.

Pickleball is a paddle sport played with a hard plastic ball on a badminton-sized court. It began in the 1960s as a backyard pastime for families in Washington state and has since grown in popularity. It’s a mix of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong and can be played indoors or outdoors.

Today, there are pickleball courts all over the world. We can play the game with either two or four players and involves hitting the ball over a net with paddles.

What is Squash?

Squash balls and squash racket on a wooden floor.

Squash is a racket sport played with a small, hard ball on a four-walled court. It is like tennis, except the ball is played off the walls instead of over a net. It’s a mix of racquetball and handball. We can play squash with either two or four players. The game originated in England in the 19th century and is now played worldwide.

Pickleball Vs. Squash: Key Aspects

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of each sport, let’s compare and contrast their essential aspects.

Number of People That Can Play

2 squash players playing on an enclosed room.

Both pickleball and squash can be played with either two or four players. This makes them both great options for doubles or singles play.

The Court

Indoor court of the squash ball games.

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We play pickleball on a badminton-sized court, while we play squash on a four-walled court. This means that the ball can go out of bounds in pickleball, while in squash, it will always stay in play. The walls also make squash a faster-paced game, while pickleball is a bit slower.

The Ball

Squash ball left on the wooden floor.

We play Pickleball with a hard plastic ball, while we play squash with a small, hard ball. The difference in size and hardness makes the two balls bounce differently. It also means that the squash ball can travel faster, making the game more challenging.

The Rackets

In pickleball, we use paddles instead of rackets. These paddles are smaller and lighter than tennis rackets. In squash, we use special squash rackets that are slightly larger than tennis rackets. Another key difference is that squash rackets have strings, while pickleball paddles do not.

The NetMultiple pickleball outdoor court.

We hit the ball over a net in pickleball, while in squash, the ball is played off the walls. The height of the net in pickleball is lower than the tennis net. Its height depends on whether you are playing doubles or singles. In squash, there is no net. The room’s walls act as the boundaries of the game.

Accessibility to Play

Pickleball is generally more accessible than squash. This is because pickleball courts are typically smaller and can be found indoors and outdoors. Squash courts are usually only found indoors.

Gear Needed

Both sports require some essential gear to play. For pickleball, you will need a paddle and a ball. For squash, you will need a racket and a ball. They also recommended safety gear for both sports, such as eye protection.


Squash is a more strenuous sport, so wear athletic clothing that can wick away sweat. Pickleball can be played in various clothing, but I recommend shorts and a t-shirt. This is because we typically play pickleball outdoors, and the weather can be warm.

Other accessories like hats and sunscreen are also recommended for pickleball. For squash consider wearing comfortable shoes with good grip.

Cost Differences to Play

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The cost of playing pickleball and squash can vary depending on where you live. Squash is a more expensive sport to play. This is because squash courts are typically found in country clubs or private facilities. Pickleball courts can be found in public parks or recreation centers.

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The equipment costs for both sports are relatively low. A good racket for squash can cost around $100, while a decent pickleball paddle will run you about $100.

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The balls for both sports are inexpensive, with a can of three pickle balls costing around $8 and a can of three squash balls running about $15.

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How to Score?

The scoring system for pickleball is like that of tennis. We play the game to 11 points, and you must win by two points. In squash, we play the game to 9 points, and you must win by two points.

How Long are Games?

The length of pickleball and squash games can vary depending on the skill level of the players. A game of pickleball between two beginners can last 20 minutes, while a game of squash between two advanced players can last up to an hour. A championship is the best of five games.


A man holding a fiberglass pickleball paddle and ball.

Pickleball and squash share some similarities in strategy. The object of both sports is to hit the ball, so your opponent cannot return it. In pickleball, players often try to keep the rallies going for as long as possible.

This is because the scoring system awards points to the serving team if the opposing team makes errors. In squash, players try to hit the ball as hard as possible to make it difficult for their opponent to return it.

Difficulty to Learn

Pickleball is a relatively easy sport to learn. This is because the court is smaller, and the ball is more significant and softer than a squash ball. Squash is a bit more challenging to learn because the ball is small and complex, and the court is four-walled. I found it took me a few more times playing squash to get used to the different bounces off the walls.

Professional Leagues

A happy athlete celebrating a match.

Squash and pickleball have their professional leagues. The Professional Pickleball League (PPL) was established in the United States in 2016. Since 1967, the World Squash Federation has been governing squash. The WSF sanctions professional squash events worldwide, including the World Squash Championships.

Exercise Intensity

Pickleball and squash are both racket sports that provide a great workout. Pickleball is played on a larger court with no borders, so the game is typically slower-paced. However, squash is a more intense workout. This is because we play squash on a smaller court with walls, so the game is faster-paced.

Can You Play Pickleball on a Squash Court?

Yes, you can play pickleball on a squash court. However, you will need to set up the court differently. The dimensions of a pickleball court are 20 feet by 44 feet. The dimensions of a squash court are 32 feet by 21 feet. This means that you will need to use tape or chalk to mark off the playing area on a squash court. You’ll also need a net or barrier that is 36 inches high.

Can You Play Squash on a Pickleball Court?

No, you cannot play squash on a pickleball court. This is because squash requires a four-walled court, and pickleball can be played on any flat surface.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Play?

There is no age limit for either sport. People of all ages and abilities can play pickleball. Squash is typically played by people 10 years old or older.

Pickleball vs. Squash: The Health Benefits

Both pickleball and squash are excellent racket sports that provide a great workout.

They both offer

Hand-Eye Coordination Improvements

Hitting a small ball with a racket requires excellent hand-eye coordination.

Cardiovascular Endurance

A happy girl playing pickleball.

Running around the court to hit the ball will stimulate your heart and improve cardiovascular endurance.

Muscular Strength

Swinging a racket or paddle builds upper body strength. This can also help tone your arms, shoulders, and back.

Leg Strength

Chasing after the ball will give your legs a workout. Similar to running, this will help improve your leg strength and endurance.

Social Aspects

Friends greeting each other on a pickleball match.

Playing pickleball or squash is a great way to meet new people and make friends. They typically play both sports in the doubles format. So, you will interact with your partner and opponents.

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

The answer is that it depends on your preferences. Squash might be your better option if you are looking for a more intense workout. However, pickleball might be the better sport for you if you want a game that is easy to learn and can be played by people of all ages.

My opinion is that squash is more fun because it’s a faster-paced game. But, ultimately, the decision of which sport to play is up to you.