Padel vs. Pickleball: The Key Differences and Where to Play

Padel vs. Pickleball: The Key Differences and Where to Play


Here’s the 101 on padel and pickleball—the two racket sports rapidly gaining popularity—and where to play either in Metro Manila

When you think of racket sports, the first to come to your mind is likely to be tennis or badminton. Of course, they’re the most popular, but there’s also table tennis, squash, and racquetball, which are renowned globally. Now, there are two more racket sports reaching our shores and rapidly gaining popularity: padel and pickleball.

Asia Padel Academy
Photo: ASIA PADEL ACADEMY (via Instagram)

Both look relatively similar on social media, which is likely where you’re hearing about them. So many people are raving about padel and pickleball, but you may be wondering how they are different from each other and other racket sports. With that, here’s the 101 on the two, plus all the trendiest spots in Metro Manila where you can play either sport.

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What’s the difference?

The quickest way to differentiate between the two sports is to observe the rackets and balls used. If the players are using what looks to be tennis balls and rackets with holes, then they’re playing padel. If the balls have holes and the rackets have none, then they’re playing pickleball. But that’s not all that sets the two apart. Besides the equipment used, the court size, net height, scoring systems, and rules differ, too.

Padel Club racket
Photo: PLAY PADEL CLUB (via Instagram)
Pickleball racket and balls
Photo: TOBY’S SPORTS (via Instagram)

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Notably, between padel and pickleball, padel is more like tennis since the two share the same scoring system. However, the rules, strokes, and techniques are different. Even padel balls are ever-so-slightly smaller than regular tennis balls.

But overall, if you have experience playing tennis or table tennis, you’ll pick up padel and pickleball pretty quickly. For more in-depth information about how each sport is played and the rules that bind them, hit up a padel or pickleball court and meet the instructors waiting there. Like most sports, padel and pickleball have rich communities surrounding them, so you’ll find your place among them soon enough.

The trendiest spots

Keen on trying these racket sports yourself? Check if your nearest sports club is already housing its courts. With how popular these sports are becoming, there are sure to be more courts being constructed at clubs nationwide.

Esteban Novoa in Manila Padel Club
Photo: ESTEBAN NOVOA (via Instagram)

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But if there aren’t any pickleball courts at your sports club, you can hit an Ayala mall for a game of pickleball. Ayala Malls launched an initiative last year called PickleMall, where clinics and game events were hosted in various branches. Now, a few malls are housing permanent pickleball courts, including Market! Market! in Taguig and U.P. Town Center in Quezon City. You can also head to The Zone Sports Center in Makati to play pickleball, badminton, or basketball.

For Padel, you can check out Manila Padel Club in BGC and Play Padel Club in Mandaluyong. Both are facilities where you can play the sport, get coaching, and enjoy the growing sports community. Keep an eye out for their social media pages if you want to join any upcoming sports events, too.

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