When I first started pickleball, I was surprised to find myself on a very small court. My previous racket game was tennis, which is a much larger court. I soon adjusted to the size of the court.
I have also played some great pickleball on a tennis court. It is possible to play pickleball on a tennis court. There are just some technicalities you have to consider.
Playing pickleball on a tennis court
The surface of an all-weather tennis court is the same as that of a pickleball court. This means the bounce of the ball and speed of the game won’t change if you play pickleball on a tennis court. There are a lot of similarities between tennis and pickleball.
One of these is to do with the two courts. A tennis court is much bigger than a pickleball court. However, the basic layout of the service squares of a tennis court are very similar to the whole pickleball court.
This means you can have a makeshift game of pickleball on a tennis court. If you want to play pickleball a little more formally on a tennis court, you will need to mark out the court. To play pickleball on a tennis court, you need to work on the markings of the court.
Dimensions of a pickleball court
- Total pickleball court area = 880 sq ft (260.8 sq metres)
- Court = 20 ft x 44 ft (6 m x 13.4 m)
- Total playing area = 1800 sq ft (548 sq metres)
- Total playing area dimensions = 30 ft x 60 ft (9.1 m x 36.5 m)
- Distance from the net to the edge of the no-volley area = 7 ft (2.1 m)
- Length of service areas = 15 ft (4.6 m)
- Width of service areas = 10 ft (3 m)
Dimensions of a tennis court
- Total tennis court area = 2808 sq ft (260.8 sq metres)
- Singles court = 27 ft x 78 ft (8.23 m x 23.77 m)
- Doubles court = 36 ft x 78 ft (10.97 m x 23.77 m)
- Total playing area = 7200 sq ft (669 sq metres)
- Total playing area dimensions = 120 ft x 60 ft (36.5 m x 18 m)
- Service blocks = 21 ft x 14 ft (6.4 m x 4.11 m)
- From service block to back line = 18 ft (5.48 m)
Adding a pickleball court to a tennis court
You can’t turn a tennis court into a pickleball court, because a tennis court is way bigger than a pickleball court. In fact, you can fit four pickleball courts into the full playing area of a tennis court. You can use the basic layout of a tennis court for pickleball.
What is convenient is that the length of the four service squares on a tennis court is only just shorter than a whole pickleball court. In fact, they are only two feet shorter. This means you can play pickleball within the service squares of a tennis court.
Keeping things simple
Pickleball can be played for fun on a tennis court. Not quite properly, but just about. You can play like this, by keeping in the service squares.
You’ll have to ignore the no-volley section. You can also approximate where it may lie on either side of the net.
Marking a pickleball court
You can mark a pickleball court on a tennis court.
- First, mark the back lines of the pickleball court. Mark a line one foot away from the end of the service blocks on each side of the tennis court. It must run right along the width of the singles court.
- The next step is to mark the length of the pickleball court. The lines run parallel to the outside markings of the tennis singles court. They must be 3.5 feet inside the tennis lines.
- Then, mark the non-volley area. The lines run parallel to the net. They must extend along the width of the pickleball court. These lines are seven feet away from the net on either side.
Marking the lines permanently
You can paint the markings for a pickleball court permanently on a tennis court. This is only if it is your court, or you have permission to do so. Make sure the pickleball markings are in a different color from the tennis markings.
Yellow is a good color to use.
Marking out the court temporarily
It’s quite easy to mark out a pickleball court temporarily on the tennis court. The easiest way to do this is to use pavement chalk. This will make marks on the surface of the tennis court without harming it.
The chalk will also wash off. You can also leave it to wear off. Another alternative is to use salt. Take a bag of salt and cut a hole in one corner.
Walk slowly along the line, allowing salt to pour out. The line will be quite clear for a while. It will blow away eventually.
You can also brush or wash the salt away.
Adjusting the net
The net on your tennis court will stretch much wider than the pickleball court you have marked. This won’t affect the game in any way. The standard height of a tennis net is 42 inches (106 cm) on the side and 36 inches (91 cm) in the middle.
The standard height of a pickleball net is 36 inches (91 cm) on the side and 34 inches (86 cm) in the middle. When you play pickleball on a tennis court, you can decide to use the tennis net as it stands. This means you will have to hit a little higher than usual.
You can also adjust the net, so that it sags enough to be 34 inches (86 cm) in the middle. A tennis net is nearly double the length of a pickleball net. This means that the sag will most likely keep the net to just about the correct pickleball height for the width of the pickleball court.
Playing pickleball successfully on a tennis court
Playing pickleball on a tennis court feels much the same as playing on the right court. This is because the surfaces of the two courts are the same. You can play an informal game of pickleball on a tennis court quite easily.
If you want to play properly, though, you will need to mark out a pickleball court on your tennis court. Then the game will be the same in all respects.