Pickleball is a game that is slowly becoming very popular, in fact, I have tried my hand at it and I have to say I did quite enjoy it. I wasn’t very good at it at first but slowly got the hang of it, as it is pretty much the same as tennis with some rules and restrictions that do not exist in tennis. I am writing this article just to convince you that if you have never tried tennis before, but are interested in pickleball, give tennis a shot. I am almost certain that you will end up falling in love with the game even more so than your initial interest in pickleball.
I really like pickleball, especially for warming up my muscles before playing actual tennis. It loosens up the muscles and gets you conditioned for the grueling one or two hours of tennis one might play. Let’s see some of the reasons I think you should try tennis first.
The Skill Ceiling is High for Tennis
Sports or games that have high skill ceilings give people the ability to excel at them indefinitely and become masters at their crafts. Tennis is a game that can certainly provide that avenue. You see Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic, you’ll see what I am talking about. They have raised their games to such levels that the normal pro player in top 50 can only very rarely beat them.
Tennis as a game is filled with a lot of complex intricacies that you can get good at taking advantage of against other players. Pickleball is a game that, while you can learn it very easily, doesn’t really give you much room to improve and become so much better than the average joe. I am not coming down on pro pickleball players that have spent hours and hours mastering their shots but it is definitely an easier game to learn and master than tennis is.
A beginner tennis player that has played two months and a beginner tennis player that has played one-month considering average learning abilities will perform extremely differently. The same cannot be said for pickleball beginners because the muscle memory to learn the strokes and shots is much easier to develop.
You Get a Better Workout in Tennis in The Same Amount of Time
Tennis is a wonderful game because you can play it pretty much any way you want. You can play very casually, hitting balls that land in your hitting zone or you can try and emulate pro players, running up to every ball and trying to hit with every ounce of strength you have. This gives tennis the ability to give you a workout of your choosing while being very fun and engaging. A pickleball court cannot provide that because it revolves around some quick movements, and the court is very small.
In tennis, you get to condition your biceps, triceps, your back, and hip muscles. I can’t even begin to explain what good it does for your lower body and stamina. I used to be a kid that lacked stamina that could barely run a mile when I was 13, but tennis increased my stamina a lot and I can 3-4 miles no problem now because of tennis. I get up to balls in a flash and people at my local tennis court praise me for being fast.
If you get 80-90 minutes every day for working out, I would recommend tennis because you will feel it actually making a difference, because it definitely helped me regulate my weight. I used to be close to 180 lbs and was worried that I might actually get overweight because I could not play tennis due to some logistical reasons. When those reasons were not an issue, tennis instantly brought a healthy change in me. I went from 180 to 165 while gaining muscles and my body got into shape like it’s never been.
Pickleball is a good workout if you have a lot of time to play and are suffering from some medical conditions that would stop you from playing tennis. But I won’t recommend it if you need to get into shape and lose those extra pounds that you have gained from all the pizzas and soda.
I eat pizzas and drink sodas without a care in the world because tennis helps me maintain that calorie count pretty easily.
Tennis is Much More Recognized Internationally
Pickleball is slowly gaining popularity in the USA, but it still has a long way to become an international sport and be competitive. Tennis, on the other hand, has been growing strong for the last 70 years, before that it had some problems with tournaments and stuff. Ever since the first open tournament, it has established itself as a very lucrative sport and worth going professional in.
If you travel a lot internationally and like to keep yourself on a fitness routine, you will find a tennis court almost everywhere. More often than not you might have to pack a pickleball court along with you with an extra paddle and balls just so someone might play with you. This is a very unlikely scenario because when people travel, they like to keep it very light packing things that are very essential. No matter which country you go to, you will find someone playing tennis and they will welcome you with open arms, provided you are decent.
Tennis Is Established as a Competitive Sport
Looking for a sport to put your kid in so they can play it in college? Tennis can provide that. A lot of NCAA Div I-III colleges give out millions of dollars of scholarships just to get the best tennis players of their respective regions and foreigners too.
Tennis isn’t seasonal either because of the flexibility to where you can play the sport, indoors, outdoors, grass, clay or hard etc. The tennis season goes around the whole year and it only takes the holiday season off. You can find countless tournaments from the beginner levels to the full master levels. Players try to remain fit because the sport is extremely competitive and requires mental fortitude to play effectively throughout the year.
The Starting Costs Are Pretty Much the Same
Starting costs for tennis and pickleball are pretty much in the same ballpark. There are free public courts for tennis, but you might have to buy a net for pickleball because most places only have tennis courts and not dedicated pickleball courts.
A beginner can get a pretty good tennis racquet for around $60-$80 and a can of balls costs $6-$7. Some of the racquets I recommend for beginners are:
- Head Ti. S6
- Head MicroGel Radical
- Wilson Tour Slam Racquets (You can either get a pair or a pair with balls, that’s the best starting point)
While the pickleball equipment might seem cheaper in cost. You have to add the cost of the net 8 times out of 10. A pickleball net on Amazon costs around $146. You can check it for yourselves here.
At the end both the sports cost roughly the same, so if you ever have an argument with someone as to which sport is cheaper you can blow them out of the water. Pick tennis without fearing that it will cost you more, the public courts are free, while pickleball courts are part of private clubs and you’ll have to sign up with them to play pickleball.
Getting interested in Tennis and want to figure out the next step? I have a great beginner’s section which goes over all the steps, from picking a tennis racquet to hitting your first serves. I am sure you will enjoy the Beginner’s Section I have made.
It is Just Plain Old Fun
Fun is the most subjective thing in the whole world, while someone might enjoy reading a book and they will have fun with that, most teenagers will call that boring and try to play some video games to have fun.
Tennis and pickleball are in the same ballpark. I have a lot of fun with both games but the adrenaline that tennis provides sticks with me a lot longer than pickleball does. I can never get the idea out of my mind that pickleball is mini tennis and tennis is the main domain to have fun. I play with my father pretty regularly and seeing him try to beat me is fun for me and I have fun bashing on his game because I know it inside and out.
For me, tennis is fun because I like the competitive spirit of that sport that I simply don’t get while playing pickleball. I invite you to do the same, you will end up having a good time; I’m pretty sure.
The tennis community is very welcoming, you will find a small and buzzing community in almost all states except for the really cold ones. Playing tennis sucks in cold weather, you need to rent an indoor court with air conditioning and you’ll have to find like-minded people to split the rent and play with you.
States which are great for sports (SC, NC, etc.) can play tennis pretty much throughout the year and have fun. There are a lot of clubs that do not have high fees and you will find countless people that invite you with open arms regardless of skill level. I have been to courts that are split into different categories but as a whole, they are more than friends. The seasoned players give pointers to the beginners; they sometimes even play with them just to give them a taste of how it feels to play with someone way above your category. At the end of the day, they might go for coffee, lunch or dinner just to the end it on a good note.
I personally love the community, it has provided me long lasting friends that always invite me to play whenever I visit their cities. They are extremely caring and I always have a lot of fun with them.
Now that I have gotten you interested in the game, you might have some questions. I will try and answer some of them below but if you have any others you can just mention them in the comments and we can discuss.
Already a Tennis player but struggle with your Forehands? I have just the thing for you; This is a 5 day Forehand Guide that will make you a total monster at hitting forehands. I have students which I teach the same things, and you can learn them while sitting at home.
Is Tennis Hard?
Learning tennis can be a little hard if you do not know what you are doing but that is the case with pretty much any sport. Pickleball is great if you want to learn the basics of tennis and get some key pointers instilled in your muscle memory.
When starting out in tennis if you start thinking about complex shots and situations, you will end up getting confused as to what to do, and not learn anything at all.
Do a bit of research (I have a great beginner’s section just for people who are starting that goes over the basics) and start from the first step. You will learn the game much faster than I ever did because you have a small roadmap. I also wrote a pretty detailed guide to improve your tennis forehand, so there’s a lot of resources to make the hard sport easier to learn.
Pick from the racquets that are recommended above so you play with something that is meant for beginners, and not something that was made for college or pro players.
Is It More Expensive Than Pickleball?
As explained above for beginners, it is not very expensive at all. Yeah if you want to take it to the next level, try out different strings with hybrid combos and different stiffness ratings, then it will start costing you some.
You can take it from my example, I bought a racquet that was $140 in 2012, in fact, I bought two of them because I was going to college and I feared breaking the strings on one of them. The kicker is that I still use the same racquets today, they look new and perform like new. The only cost that I have to pay every month is the string that needs replacing, and that costs around $8-$9 and some pack of balls that I split the cost of with my father and that costs me around $20-$25 without the split.
It has not been very expensive for me and I am a pretty seasoned player that likes to play with new balls. As a beginner, you will have the same amount of fun while spending very little.
Would You Need Lessons for It?
Lessons lessons lessons, well taking them depends on how fast you want to learn the game. If you want your child to learn the game, then I would most probably recommend getting them some good lessons. Tennis is a game that is learned best from a young age, all the pros that are seen on TV started out at 3-4 years of age.
On the other hand, if you just want to have some fun and want to learn at your own pace then you do not need lessons. There are a lot of online resources that can help you out with it. I definitely would have benefitted from tennis lessons when I was learning the game because it took me quite a bit of time just to self-learn. Now whenever I meet parents that want to get their kids into tennis, I tell them to invest in some good coaches.
Good and bad coaches can make or break a child because the initial months are the most important. If the child ends up learning bad habits from a bad coach, they will continue doing it for the rest of their lives. Do not skimp out on cheap coaching, and try and get a coach that will make your child a complete player.
Can You Play It Alone?
Tennis requires someone according to the rules, but the rules definitely don’t state that you can’t have fun alone. Some of the best tennis I have learned has been against a wall and all of it totally alone. The wall is the best hitting partner and coach you will ever get. So, to answer the question, yes you can play it alone but without the rules.
You can also buy a ball machine for the odd time that your hitting partner is busy or at work. There are a lot of things in tennis that you can do alone and still have a great time. You will probably end up learning a lot of new things, errors in your game that you didn’t see before.
Can Any Age Group Try the Game and Have Fun?
Tennis is known as a game of the old people, probably because a lot of people can still play it even though their hands and legs don’t move as well they used to before. My local tennis club probably has 8-9 players that are in their 70s and they continue to have fun with this beautiful game even though they do not play very optimally. The joking, teasing and calling out names to each other makes them have a fun evening.
No matter what age you are or whatever stage you are in life, you can enjoy this beautiful game.
The beauty of this game is that it doesn’t discriminate against age, gender or social setting. If you know how to play, people will welcome you and become friends with you. I hope you pick up tennis as your favorite past time and share it with other people that might be somewhat interested in it.