Don’t lose hope if you’re taking up pickleball but have no pickleball courts in your area. Pickleball courts are smaller than most sports courts, and, thankfully, most areas will have a tennis court or two you can rent. So how would you set up a tennis court to play pickleball?
Two pickleball courts can be placed on a tennis court by placing them on either side of the tennis net, parallel to the length of the tennis court. Each court occupies 60 feet from net to fence in court length and will require a central net and taped lines to show no-volley zones.
Ready to play pickleball? Wait just a moment! Organizing a tennis court for your pickleball game is the first step in setting up your court. Before jumping into the setup stage, consider the extra costs and regulations. So, think and read first what is required of you before the fun begins.
Can You Fit Two Pickleball Courts On A Tennis Court?
Depending on the tennis court’s size and layout, you could fit anything from 1 to 4 pickleball courts within the space of a tennis court.
Setting up four pickleball courts will take up the entire tennis court and is only effective if the tennis court is not constructed too narrowly. You must carefully plan this setup, and the court must be divided into four (cut once length and breadthwise, into equal parts) to use the space effectively.
On the other hand, two pickleball courts can easily and comfortably fit on a tennis court and still leave space for spectators or additional equipment to be left on the sidelines. The individual pickleball courts will need to be set up on either side of the tennis net, running parallel to the length of the tennis court. Thus, one pickleball player from each court will have the tennis net as a backdrop.
Setting up the court to be parallel is crucial as it ensures the courts face north-south. This step, while not strictly a rule, is good to follow as it keeps players from being blinded by the sun while playing.
The Dimensions Of A Pickleball Court
A pickleball court is a comfortable 44×20 feet (13.4×6.1 meters), including the boundary lines. According to the pickleball rulebook, the minimum needed space per court is 60×30 feet (18.3×9.1 meters) to ensure there is enough space for players to move around and not intrude on other courts. A minimum gap of 10 feet (3.1 meters) is advised between pickleball courts. Making two courts the ideal layout.
Alternatively, standard tennis courts are usually 120×60 feet (36.6×18.3 meters) if not made by an individual for personal use. Court sizes may vary, becoming narrower or broader if explicitly constructed for single or double tennis. When choosing a tennis court to set up your pickleball court, be sure to check the court’s dimensions if you are considering setting up more than two pickleball courts.
Each court will have a central net in the middle of the non-volley zone or kitchen. The serving areas will be 7 feet from either side of the net and only have 15 feet of maneuverable space.
What Types Of Tennis Courts Can Be Used For Pickleball?
Pickleball and tennis can be played on various surfaces, which affects the play of the sport. For example, clay courts may slow a ball and affect its bounce, while grass courts are heavily affected by the weather and maintenance. Indoor courts or gymnasiums pose the issue of being slippery and lacking grip.
The preferred courts, like hard and cushioned courts, are not faultless but have some significant advantages. Hard courts, like asphalt or concrete, are preferred as they offer good grip and bounce. Cushioned courts minimize player stress and shock and will not affect the ball’s bounce as much as grass and clay courts.
Concerns When Altering A Tennis Court For Pickleball
Constructing a new pickleball court can be time-consuming, very expensive, and take up space you cannot spare. At a minimum, you might have to fork over $20k to a sport surfacing company, which may seem a bit nauseating if you’re on a budget or not constructing the court for professional use.
How you decide to approach the matter of converting the tennis court for pickleball (entirely or partially), will determine different considerations to address, as below:
- Temporary conversion: if you are changing the tennis court for a few hours, you must have permission from the court owners before making any adjustments, such as painting or taping lines and lowering nets. If you bring a net, you will have to ask permission to set it up in case the net stand might damage the court.
- Permanent conversion while keeping tennis facilities: you can permanently alter your tennis court to accommodate pickleball by painting new lines to delineate pickleball court areas and have portable nets stocked. You can also insert sleeves for pickleball posts that are covered when not used.
- Permanent conversion removing tennis facilities: To completely replace sporting facilities, the tennis posts and lines will need to be removed and new ones installed. You can fill the tennis sleeves or resurface the court, paint new lines designating pickleball courts, and install sleeves for the pickleball net posts.
Ultimately, if you merely plan on renting space (a tennis court or otherwise) for pickleball, you should bring your own equipment and ask permission from the owners before adjusting or adding anything to the court itself. If it is your own court, more permanent options will save you setup time in the future.
Using A Tennis Net For Pickleball
You may even decide only to set up one pickleball court if you play singles with a friend or a loved one. In that case, you can use the tennis net instead of acquiring a portable pickleball net. The net in pickleball should be 34 inches (87.3 cm) high in the center and 36 inches (91.4 cm) along the sides, as contrasted by the tennis net’s 36 inches in the center and 42 inches (106.5 cm) at the post.
The lower net used in pickleball means players have less error when hitting over the net, favoring the overall experience rather than tennis’s brute force and technicality. Whether you set up your net to touch the ground or have it suspended above the ground with a gap between them doesn’t really matter as it does not affect gameplay.
You must adjust the central strap to lower the net from 36 inches to 34 inches in the center to use the tennis net for pickleball. If this is something you cannot manage, or the club needs to permit you to change, it might be best to acquire your own portable pickleball net. These can be bought online and look much like a camping chair bag.
Using and adjusting a tennis court for pickleball is possible but requires planning on the player’s part. Once you know how many pickleball courts you need and have chosen a proper tennis court to convert, make sure to plan by asking permission to add tape lines and acquire a pickleball net for each court you set up.