Pickleball is quickly becoming one of the nation's most beloved games, and the number of courts popping up across the country is proof! From tiny backyards to stadiums, courts are showing up on every corner. But how much space do you really need to build a pickleball court?
A standard pickleball court is 20 feet wide by 44 feet long. The minimum playing surface required by USA Pickleball measures 30 feet wide by 60 feet long, which adds ample room to all sides of the court.
Whether you want to muster up some elbow grease to build your own, or you're just curious about the topic, this guide will cover the specs of all things pickleball courts. We’ll look at court sizes, ceilings, fences, lines, and equipment. Let's begin with the basics.
How Big Are Pickleball Courts?
Have paddle, will travel! That should be the mantra of most players, and that's because pickleball is so versatile and portable.
With its small playing area and lightweight components, you can set up an impromptu game virtually anywhere with a flat and hard foundation. From sports courts to level driveways, all you'll need is a net, a ball, an opponent, and of course the best pickleball paddle around.
Because it's so easy to transport and set up, you'll find courts all over the place - and frequently doubling on paddle and racquet courts.
Pickleball courts are nearly identical in size to badminton courts, but smaller than tennis courts. In fact, tennis playing areas are nearly 3 times larger than most pickleball courts, and a tennis court size is 4 times larger than pickleball courts. Regardless, tennis or badminton courts can be transformed into pickleball courts.
To do this, you need to know the proper court dimensions so you can create the appropriate guidelines and court boundaries. These may vary depending on the type of pickleball players you want to attract.
For recreational players, a standard pickleball court measures 20 feet by 44 feet. USA Pickleball's guidance on minimum playing surfaces requires the court to sit evenly inside a 30-foot width and 64-foot length, which adds 10 feet to the width and 20 feet to the length.
This increased playing surface lets players move and run more freely without having to worry about going into a wall or fence.
Can You Play Pickleball on a Driveway?
Yes, you can play pickleball on a driveway and it’s a great way to enjoy the sport without having to travel to a court. A driveway can make for an ideal surface, as long as it's flat and even. With a few simple steps, you can set up a regulation-size court that's perfect for singles or doubles play.
You know what's great about playing pickleball in your driveway? It's super convenient. No need to drive to a local court or rec center - you can just play right at home. Plus, it's easy to set up; all you need is a portable net, balls, some markers for boundaries, and of course a couple of Paddletek premium paddles (shameless plug). It doesn't hurt that it's easy on the wallet too. You don't have to worry about court fees every time you get the itch to play or the wait time for an open court.
It's perfect for families, too, since it's a fun activity everyone can join in on, no matter their age or skill level. Your neighbors may decide to join you, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your situation. That's the seamless segue to our next section - the downsides to playing pickleball in your driveway. One biggie is the limited space, which might mean a smaller playing area and some adjustments to your game plan. But hey, you can still have a blast and make the most of it by adapting your playstyle.
Also, keep in mind that safety comes first when playing pickleball in your driveway. Watch out for uneven or slippery surfaces that could cause injuries, and be mindful of cars and other obstacles around. Just make sure the area is clear of hazards and well-maintained, and you're good to go.
For more serious players, getting used to a different surface and all the uneven nooks and crannies could be harmful to your actual court play. But as long as you treat backyard pickleball as a completely recreational activity, it shouldn't be an issue.
What Lines Does a Pickleball Court Have?
Pickleball courts have multiple lines that define the boundaries of the game. These can be created with a permanent solution like paint, or something more temporary like chalk and tape, where the tape is more commonly used for temporary lines.
Necessary lines include:
- Sidelines - Length lines of the court that are perpendicular to the net.
- Baselines - Width lines of the court that are parallel to the net.
- Centerline - Line that evenly divides the backcourts perpendicular to the net.
- Non-Volley Lines - Parallel lines 7 feet from the net, on both sides of the court.
All pickleball lines should be 2 inches wide and white. This thickness and color create high contrast, aiding in calling lineballs and marking what's in or out.
The non-volley lines set the parallel boundaries of the non-volley zones, which are the zones on both sides of the net where players aren't allowed to volley the ball. This is what's widely referred to as the kitchen, and includes the kitchen line.
Behind the kitchen (non-volley zone), a pickleball court is divided into four service courts, where the centerline equally divides two service courts on each side of the court.
Is the Court Different for Singles and Doubles Games?
One of the things that makes pickleball so versatile is that the court size doesn’t change between singles or doubles. Both will utilize a court dimension of 20 feet wide by 44 feet long, and a minimum playing surface of 30 feet wide by 64 feet long to meet USA Pickleball regulations.
Singles games can be more difficult because one player is expected to defend the entirety of their side of the court - this can mean covering far more ground in a game. Doubles has its challenges, but they mostly surround communication and teamwork, having less to do with the court dimensions or playing surface.
What Materials Do You Need for a Pickleball Court?
You can make pretty much anything work if you’re just creating a homemade court. However, there are a couple of common materials that pickleball courts are made of.
Pickleball courts can be made of a variety of materials, but concrete (including cement) and asphalt are the most recognized. Concrete is recommended for outdoor courts because it can withstand climate conditions better than asphalt, but asphalt is a more affordable option than concrete.
How Expensive Is It to Build a Pickleball Court?
Whether you want to build a pickleball court for competitive play or just for fun, be prepared to make an investment.
Building a quality pickleball court can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000, depending on the size, materials used, and location. Still, it's a price worth paying for pickleball amateur and pros alike - after all, there's nothing quite like having your very own court in the comfort of your backyard!
If you’re converting a tennis court into a pickleball court, the ideal pickleball court dimensions are 30 by 64 feet - and since a tennis court is far larger than a pickleball court, this is a more cost-effective way to utilize your space compared to a completely new construction.
It’s easy to add pickleball lines and equipment to existing courts, but it’s cheaper to build a new pickleball court than a new basketball or tennis court.
When building from scratch, pickleball courts generally cost between $15 and $40 per square foot. If you’re building a 30-by-64-foot court, this would average at about $45,000 if you’re using high-quality materials.
How Large Is a Tennis Court?
A tennis court measures 78 feet long by 27 feet wide for singles play, and 36 feet wide for doubles play. This larger size is due to the ball distance and faster pace of tennis and the need for more room to accommodate the players' movement and the ball's trajectory during play.
The main reason tennis courts are bigger than pickleball courts is simply because of how fast the game is played. Tennis balls zip around at lightning speed, so players need extra space to move and react. Plus, those powerful serves and volleys call for more room for players to show off their skills and plan their next move.
Another thing to consider is the difference in ball behavior. Tennis balls bounce higher and fly farther than their pickleball counterparts, so it makes sense that tennis courts need to be larger to accommodate that. This is the reason a tennis net is higher than a pickleball net - the ball simply bounces more. It's just part of what sets each sport apart and makes tennis a more spacious affair. Tennis rackets are way bigger than pickleball paddles too, which means players can create more power (simple physics really) with their shots. Naturally, that extra oomph requires more space on the court to keep things fair and competitive.
Of course, player movement is a big factor, too. Tennis players have to cover more ground to return shots, which means they need plenty of room to stretch their legs. The larger court size lets athletes tap into their agility, speed, and stamina, making tennis a pretty intense workout.
Finally, there's the matter of serving rules. Tennis serves are no joke - they're super powerful and can cover a lot of ground. Add in the potential for speedy back-and-forths, and it's clear why tennis courts need to be roomier. It just gives players the space they need.
Are Pickleball Courts Worth It?
Pickleball is proving to be a game-changer in the world of recreational sports. Not only does it provide an easy-to-learn and enjoyable activity for all age groups, but it's also catching on with professional athletes and teams.
For resorts, clubs, and recreation centers, investing in a Pickleball court is not only rewarding - it's worth every penny!
For homeowners with the space and means to build a pickleball court, your reward mostly lies in the amazing convenience of opening the back door whenever you feel like hitting the ball.