Can You Play Pickleball On A Tennis Court?
While pickleball has become extremely popular in recent years, for most people it is still a fairly new sport. Unfortunately, pickleball court construction is still lagging behind demand . This makes many aspiring players wonder:
Can you play pickleball on a tennis court, or is this impossible?
Undoubtedly, tennis and pickleball are closely related. Both have nets, balls, a paddle/racquet, and, at a first glance, you might think the two are played in exactly the same way.
But does this mean that you can play them on the same court? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might want it to be.
So, without further ado, let’s explore this topic!
Is It Possible To Play Pickleball On A Tennis Court?
According to the USA Pickleball Association, pickleball was the fastest-growing sport of 2022! However, despite this sport existing since 1965, it wasn’t as popular until recently, so there are not that many courts available.
Because of this, many people try to play it on widely available tennis or badminton courts.
Is this a good choice? Can you play pickleball on a tennis court, or is this just a huge misconception?
Well, the good news is that yes, you can! However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds.
While your first thought might be that pickleball looks a lot like tennis, it is a mixture of several sports, such as ping pong and badminton.
In fact, its court is more similar to the one you’d play badminton on!
Because of this, you’d need to make numerous adjustments if you’d wish to play pickleball on a court with tennis lines and nets.
Pickleball Court Vs Tennis Court
To understand why it might be challenging to just take a paddle and play pickleball on a tennis court, you need to know all the differences between two courts.
The first main difference is in the size of the court. A tennis court is much larger than a pickleball court.
A pickleball court has dimensions of 44 x 20 feet. The size is always the same, no matter if you want to play singles or doubles.
On the other hand, the tennis court has dimensions of 78 x 36 feet for doubles and 78 x 27 feet for singles. This is significantly larger than a pickleball court.
Another difference is in the positions of the lines. Pickleball has a non-volley zone that is 7 inches wide from each side of the net. This is called “the kitchen”.
Tennis court has sidelines that pickleball courts lack.
The final difference is in the net. Tennis has a net that is 36 inches or 3 feet in height in the middle, and 42 inches at the ends.
Pickleball has a net that is 36 inches at the ends, but it’s just 34 inches in the middle.
This means that the tennis net is slightly taller than the net you’ll use for playing pickleball.
How Many Pickleball Courts Fit On A Tennis Court?
Due to the size difference, many people might think that you can just split a tennis court into several parts and play pickleball then.
However, even this is not that simple.
If you do the math, theoretically you could fit four pickleball courts in one tennis court. However, this wouldn’t leave you any room on the side for multiple people to play at the same time.
As such, it’s always advisable to fit two pickleball courts in the area of one tennis court. Otherwise, the players will constantly run into each others’ areas.
How Do You Play Pickleball On A Regular Tennis Court?
Now, I’ve told you that you can play pickleball on a tennis court, despite all these differences. However, you won’t be able to do it properly before dealing with some issues first.
First off, a taller tennis net might make it challenging to play. While it’s not impossible, you’ll find that it can be really tricky to get the ball over a 2-inch taller net.
Next, while you can ignore the size difference in a way, you cannot ignore the improper lines. This is another thing you’ll need to fix.
I’ll explain everything below.
Setting Up A Net
There is no right way to DIY your own net. However, you can buy a pickleball net online or at a local equipment store.
Keep in mind that the exact setup for a portable net might vary. It all comes down to the manufacturer and the model you’ve purchased.
However, in most cases this is how a basic setup will look like:
What You’ll Need
- A portable pickleball net
Step 1: Find The Right Spot
First, you need to determine where you’ll place your net. This depends on how many courts you plan on setting up over a tennis court.
There are no rules as to where a net should stand. However, you should keep in mind that the pickleball court will require 22 feet of space on each side of the net, and some extra for the players and possible spectators.
Step 2: Set Up The Base
Once you’ve found that perfect spot, it’s time to set up the base pieces of your net.
Most nets will come with two base feet, a middle-point base piece, and poles.
You should connect the three base points with poles. Follow the instructions if some things are unclear. This is how you’ll get the body of the net.
Sometimes, you won’t get a middle-point base piece, so don’t panic if this is the case with your net. However, I always prefer buying kits that have it, as this will make the net much more stable.
Step 3: Put Everything Into Place
Your net should come with net posts. I would advise you to put them into the net first, and then put the posts into the base. Otherwise, you might struggle.
Finally, place the center rod right in the middle of the net.
Voila - you’ve made your own net!
Step 4: Secure The Net
An optional but important step is to secure everything. Luckily, most manufacturers have thought about this.
If your kit arrived with butt caps, use them to cover exposed rod ends. This is the case with most portable nets.
Other kits might come with velcro straps that will help you secure everything.
Either way, you want your net to be as stable as possible.
How Much Will This Cost You?
While a pickleball net isn’t the cheapest thing out there, this piece of equipment will last you for a very long time. Not to mention how you cannot play pickleball without a proper net, so it is entirely necessary to have your own just in case!
The average price of a pickleball net is around $150, but you can find lots of cheaper or more expensive models.
Can You Use A Tennis Net To Play Pickleball?
No one is stopping you from playing pickleball for fun using a tennis net. If you are fine with having a somewhat taller net, go for it!
Just keep in mind that, although 2 inches don’t sound like a huge difference, a taller net is likely to negatively impact your game.
Similarly, if you get too used to playing on a taller net, you might have problems playing pickleball the right way later on.
Some tennis nets are adjustable, so you can lower them a bit and make them more suitable for pickleball.
Finally, you can find many tennis net adjustments on the market. These tools can help you constrict a tennis net and make it the size you need.
However, I would like to point out one problem that you might not think of at first.
As I’ve mentioned, the pickleball court is smaller than the tennis court, people are most likely to place 2 pickleball courts over a tennis court. When doing so, it isn’t possible to use the same net, as the location simply isn’t right.
On the other hand, if you simply paint one pickleball court on one tennis court so that you can use the net, you might take away the area from other people that also wanted to play.
Because of this, I would always advise you to bring your own net or to use the one intended for pickleball.
Drawing Your Own Lines
Some tennis courts nowadays have drawn lines for other similar games, such as pickleball or badminton. If this is the case with your local court, you can skip this step. If not, the best solution is to draw your own lines.
First off, you need to know which lines to draw. Pickleball has four sets of lines:
- The sidelines,
- The center lines,
- The service lines,
- The kitchen line.
The kitchen line doesn’t exist on the tennis court, while others will be located in different places.
Due to the size difference, you’ll want to subdivide the court.
Here’s how to do it correctly:
What You’ll Need
- Measuring tape
- Painter’s tape or other type of temporary tape,
Step 1: Measuring
First off, I’ll assume that you’ve already set your net up.
Now you need to measure things. Start with the first sideline. Place your measuring tape a foot inside the net, then extend from the net 22 feet and mark that spot.
Next, you’ll need to measure the baseline. From that 22-foot mark you’ve made, measure approximately 20 feet horizontally. Mark that spot, and mark in the middle, at the 10-feet point.
Then, repeat the first part and measure the second sideline. Make sure it connects with the baseline end.
Finally, you’ll measure the kitchen. Use the measuring tape and measure 7 feet from each side of the net. Connect them across the court, but make sure to mark the halfway point here, as well.
Step 2: Connecting The Dots
Use the chalk to connect everything from the base points to the end and draw some straight lines. Make sure to connect the two 10-foot halfway points, as well.
Congratulations! You’ve drawn your own pickleball lines.
While you can stop here, I would advise you to go to the next step.
This is because chalk lines are not as durable as taped lines. You’ll easily wipe them off by running over them or with the ball.
While you might think that this step is not necessary, I don’t agree. It’s very easy to make a measuring mistake. If you were to tape everything immediately, you might have trouble fixing the errors once you notice them.
Step 3: Taping
Finally, it’s time to use the painter’s tape and tape over the chalk lines.
This will give your court that final touch you need for your game!
Just remember to use a tape that’s easy to remove - and don’t forget to remove everything once you’re done playing.
Step 4: Repeat
Finally, it’s time to repeat the entire process on the other side of the net.
Make sure that all the lines align perfectly and that everything is straight. If all falls into place perfectly, you’ll know you’ve done a great job!
Now all that’s left is to grab that paddle and a pickleball and start playing.
How Much Will This Cost You?
Luckily, these temporary lines are very affordable. All three required items can be bought for very little money. I usually spend around $20 for the material that I can use many times.
Of course, if you own the tennis court or if you have a permit from the court’s owner, you can paint permanent lines, although I would advise you against this.
If you’d like to get permanent lines, it’s much better to call a professional. However, this can cost you several hundred dollars.
Why Is Pickleball Taking Over Tennis Courts?
It seems like there is a war waging between tennis players and pickleball players. Many tennis players are enraged that pickleball players are taking over their space, and it seems like most public tennis courts have pickleball lines drawn over them nowadays!
However, I think that people should be more tolerant. Pickleball is a sport that has just recently gained popularity and making new courts can be hard. Not to mention how it isn’t sustainable!
Fans and players of this healthy sport don’t yet have enough of their own space where they can enjoy this fun activity. Tennis courts are the most readily-available and affordable option.
While I understand the annoyance some tennis players must feel, I think that the most important thing is to have fun and to have the spirit of sportsmanship.
As long as either of these sports makes people stay active, that’s all that matters.
Enjoy your game!