On May 14, 2024

Pickleball on Tennis Courts: Differences, Adjustments

Various court types are valuable in part because they can be used in multiple ways, and tennis courts are a great example. A common question often arises: Can you play pickleball on a tennis court? The answer is typically yes.

At Courts Unlimited, we’re proud to offer an extensive range of residential and commercial tennis courts, pickleball court surfacing and other related services to clients around Utah. You can usually play pickleball on a tennis court – with some adjustments in many cases, that is. What are these adjustments, and at what point might you consider simply installing a pickleball court if this is your more common use of the space? This two-part blog series will go over everything you need to know.

Differences Between Tennis and Pickleball Courts

Firstly, it pays to know the key differences between tennis and pickleball courts. Both are played with a racket and involve hitting a ball over a net, but there are some key distinctions to be aware of:

  • Court size: The biggest difference is that tennis courts have more space to work with – they measure 78 feet long by 27 feet wide for singles matches, while pickleball courts are 44 feet by 20 feet. This means you’ll typically have more room for movement and longer rallies in tennis, while pickleball is a quicker and slightly more compact game.
  • Net height: Pickleball nets are also generally lower than tennis nets – 36 inches at the sidelines versus 34 inches for pickleball. This makes it easier to hit overhead shots in pickleball, but also means you have less room to work with when trying to hit passing shots.
  • Court surface: Tennis courts are typically made from hard or clay materials, while pickleball courts can be played on a variety of surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, or even grass. The type of playing surface used can greatly affect the speed and bounce of the ball in both sports.
  • Non-volley zones and sidelines: Another key difference is the presence of non-volley zones and sidelines in pickleball. These areas are designated to prevent players from volleying or hitting shots too close to the net, adding an extra layer of strategy and finesse to the game.

Adjusting a Tennis Court for Pickleball

Due to these differences, some modifications may need to be made in order to play pickleball on a tennis court. These include:

  • Marking out lines: To conform to a standard pickleball court size, you’ll need to mark out the sidelines and baseline with tape or paint. This will also help players keep track of where they are on the court.
  • Lowering the net: If possible, it’s recommended to lower the tennis net to 34 inches in the center and raise it to 36 inches on the ends. This will create a more level playing surface for both sports.
  • Creating a non-volley zone: Using tape or paint, mark out a seven-foot non-volley zone on either side of the net. This will help prevent players from getting too close to the net and disrupting play.
  • Setting up portable pickleball nets: For a more permanent solution, consider purchasing portable pickleball nets that can easily be set up and taken down on a tennis court. These are also great for shared use of the space between both sports.

In part two of our series, we’ll look at some situations when you might consider simply converting or installing a pickleball court instead of adjusting a tennis court. Stay tuned for more information on the benefits and drawbacks of each option!

At Courts Unlimited, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the best quality courts for their needs, whether it’s tennis, pickleball, basketball, or any other sports. Contact us today to learn more!