Imagine standing for hours with your earpods in, listening to your favorite tunes and practicing pickleball. It could even be raining outside, or in the dark. You can do this with a pickleball practice wall.
They are quite easy to make and are affordable. A pickleball practice wall (or picklewall) can change your game entirely.
Aim of putting in a practice wall
The aim of having a practice wall is to be able to practice playing ground shots. You will improve your aim and technique. You can also practice serving and volleying.
Dimensions of the wall
Ideally, you should aim for the wall to be 10 feet (3 m) wide. This is half the width of a pickleball court. The wall should be 6 feet (1.8 m) high.
How to make the wall?
Choosing the wood
The best material to use for making a pickleball wall is plywood. You will have to use at least ¾ inch (2cm) thick. This will give enough strength to the wall for it to stand.
It will also give enough resistance for the ball to bounce back strongly. Plywood comes in a standard size of 5 ft x 5 ft (1.5 m x 1.5 m). You will need at least two of these sheets.
This will only give you a wall that is 5 ft (1.5 m) high. This will still give you just over two feet (26 inches / 66 cm) above the net height. This can be fairly adequate.
It would be better to make sure the height of the wall is at least 6 ft (1.8cm) high. This is likely to mean you’ll need to have sheets of plywood cut to form the correct size. Try to make sure you use as few sheets as possible.
You should be able to make the wall with two sheets.
Choosing the method
There are two sorts of wall you can create:
- A reinforced plywood screen
- A plywood screen on a solid frame
For both of these, let’s assume you are building a wall that is 10 ft (3 m) wide and 6 ft (1.8 m) high.
Reinforced plywood screen
1. Join the sheets of plywood together
- The first step in making the pickleball wall is to join the two sheets of plywood together.
- Lay the two plywood sheets flat on the floor against each other.
- Take one 6 ft (1.8 m) two-by-four lengths and lay it down the length of the join.
- Screw the two-by-four into the plywood along its length. Make sure you alternate the screws. They should be attached to both sides of the joint.
2. Reinforce the outside edges of the screen
Take two lengths of 6 ft (1.8 m) two-by four. Lay them along the outside edges of the screen. Screw these two-by-fours onto the plywood screen.
3. Reinforce the inside of the screen
- Take the other four two-by-four lengths.
- Lay them parallel to the other reinforcing lengths along the plywood.
- There should be two on each side.
- Make sure these reinforcing lengths are evenly spaced.
- Screw the two-by-fours onto the plywood.
4. Finishing the front of the screen
- Turn the whole board over.
- Use wood putty to fill in any part of the join that is not smooth.
- You may also need to use the putty to fill in where the screws have bit into the wood.
- When the putty is dry, paint the wall with two coats of clear polyurethane.
5. Painting the wall
Paint the whole wall with a coat of white PVA. Put a strip of thick painter’s tape, or masking tape, along the width of the wall. This should be 34 inches (86 cm) away from one long edge of the wall.
Paint the whole wall in the colour you choose. This is most likely to be blue or green. When the wall is dry, remove the tape.
You now have a line across the wall indicating where the net runs.
Plywood screen on a solid frame
1. Create the outside edges of the frame
- Take two 10 ft (3 M) two-by-fours. Lay them on the ground parallel to each other and about 6 ft (1.8 m) away from each other.
- Take one of the 5’5” (1.6 m) lengths of two-by-four. Lay it between the ends of the two 10 ft (3 m) two-by-fours on the ground.
- Screw the long pieces of wood to the ends of the shorter pieces.
- Repeat this with the other short piece of two-by-four to the opposite end of the same long piece.
2. Create the rest of the frame
- Attach the remaining 5’5” (1.6 m) two-by-four to the same long piece of two-by-four.
- Make sure they are evenly spaced along the length.
- Attach the second 10 ft (3 m) length of two-by-four to the loose edges of the shorter lengths.
3. Attach the sheets of plywood to the frame
- Lay one sheet of plywood on the frame.
- Make sure the corners are square.
- Attach the plywood to the frame at the corners with screws.
- Lay the second plywood board on the frame.
- Make sure the center line is flush and the corners are square.
- Screw the second sheet onto the frame at the corners.
- Screw the boards onto the frame along the edges.
- You can attach each one along the two-by-four lengths that run close to the join.
4. Finishing the front of the wall
Use wood putty to fill in any part of the join that is not smooth. You also need to use the putty to fill in where the screws have bit into the wood.
5. Paint the wall
- Paint the whole wall with two coats of clear polyurethane.
- When it is dry, paint the wall with a coat of green or blue.
- When it is dry, paint it with a second coat.
- When it is dry, use masking or painter’s tape to mark off a strip that is 2 inches (5 cm) wide along the width of the wall.
- The strip must be 34 inches (86 cm) from the long side of the wall.
- Paint along the strip with yellow paint.
- Remove the tape. The strip marks the level of the net.
Standing the wall
Your pickleball wall will be solid enough to stand up against the garage or basement wall. It may be at a bit of an angle, though. You could attach it to the wall.
This can be done with long masonry screws and rawl bolts. You could also use some kind of adhesive. Another alternative is to attach angle brackets to the back of the board, so that it can stand on its own, just as a pickleball rebound wall does.
Using the pickleball practice wall
Once your practice wall is complete, you’ll be able to use it in any weather. Enjoy practicing your strokes and technique. You can also have friendly family competitions against the wall.