Pickleball Court Dimensions & How to Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court
Pickleball, a rapidly growing sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. While dedicated pickleball courts are still fewer in number compared to tennis courts, it is possible to temporarily convert an existing tennis court to play pickleball. In this article, we will explore the dimensions, surfaces, net height, and terminology of a pickleball court, along with a guide on how to adapt a tennis court for pickleball play.
Dimensions of a Pickleball Court:
A standard pickleball court measures 20 feet wide and 44 feet long, with identical dimensions to a double’s badminton court. Adapting a tennis court for pickleball requires understanding the necessary modifications.
The net height in pickleball is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches at the center.
- Baseline: The back boundary line of the court parallel to the net.
- Non-Volley Zone (NVZ): Also favorably called "The Kitchen" A 7-foot-deep section located on both sides of the net. Players must not volley the ball (hitting it in the air without letting it bounce) while standing inside the NVZ, except when the ball bounces in this zone.
- Sidelines: The two lines that run parallel to the net and mark the width of the court.
- Centerline: The line that divides the court into two equal halves.
- Service Courts: The areas on either side of the centerline where the serve must be directed.
- Service Area: The area behind the baseline where the server must stand when serving.
Surfaces for a Pickleball Court
Pickleball courts can be constructed on various surfaces, each with its unique characteristics. Here are some popular choices:
- Asphalt: Asphalt is a common choice due to its affordability and durability. It provides a smooth and consistent playing surface, making it suitable for players of all skill levels.
- Concrete: Concrete surfaces are another popular option, offering excellent durability and low maintenance requirements. However, they can be relatively hard, resulting in more impact on players' joints.
- Wooden Surfaces: Wooden courts offer a unique playing experience with their natural aesthetic appeal. They are commonly found in indoor facilities and provide good ball bounce.
Line Adjustments for Pickleball on a Tennis Court
A standard tennis court already provides a suitable framework for playing pickleball. However, some modifications are necessary to create accurate boundaries for pickleball. Here's how you can adjust the lines:
Sidelines: Utilize the existing tennis court's centerline and measure out 20 feet on either side to create the new sideline boundary.
Baselines: Adjust the baselines by drawing new lines parallel to the existing ones, 22 feet from the net.
Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) or "Kitchen": The NVZ is a crucial element in pickleball, and it should be created in front of the net on both sides. Extend the sideline halfway into the service area, creating a 7-foot zone (measured from the net) where players are prohibited from hitting volleys. Temporary tape or chalk can be used to mark these lines.
Temporary Court Marking
To temporarily mark the modified pickleball court lines on a tennis court, consider using removable masking tape, chalk, or water-soluble court paints. These options allow for easy setup and removal without causing damage to the court surface. Ensure that the markings are clear and visible to avoid confusion.
Net Adjustments for Pickleball on a Tennis Court
The standard tennis net height is 36 inches at the center and 34 inches at the sidelines, which is higher than the regulation pickleball net height of 34 inches throughout. To adjust the net:
Lower the Net: If possible, adjust the tennis net to a height of 34 inches throughout the court. Some tennis nets have adjustable heights, making this process easier. If an adjustable net is not available, consider using bungee cords or similar mechanisms to secure the net at the desired height.
Tension the Net: Ensure that the net is taut. Proper tension maintains the integrity of the net and prevents it from sagging or interfering with shots.
Different Configurations of Pickleball Courts on a Tennis Court
A single tennis court can accommodate multiple pickleball courts, providing opportunities for simultaneous games. Here are three common configurations:
One Pickleball Court: If you only have one pickleball net available, simply use the modified lines and net adjustments on one side of the tennis court. This allows for a single pickleball court while preserving the option for tennis play on the other side.
Two Pickleball Courts: For two simultaneous pickleball courts, position two portable nets side by side at the center of the tennis court, separating the space into two halves. Each court utilizes the adjusted lines and net modifications discussed earlier.
Four Pickleball Courts: To create four pickleball courts on a tennis court, place four portable nets across the width of the tennis court. Adjust the lines accordingly to create four separate courts, each with their own NVZ and boundaries. This configuration accommodates a larger group of players.
Converting a tennis court into one or more pickleball courts is a practical solution for pickleball enthusiasts without access to dedicated courts. By making line adjustments, marking the court, modifying the net height, and considering different configurations, you can create a versatile and enjoyable pickleball experience on a tennis court. So gather your pickleball paddles, invite your friends, and make the most of the space available to play this exciting and growing sport.
If you are interested in learning more about the difference between tennis and pickleball, give our Pickleball vs Tennis post a read.