Playing pickleball is an exhilarating experience. The game is more similar to traditional tennis. But the dimension of the court greatly varies as a pickleball court actually measures around 1/4th of a traditional tennis court.
Before getting into the conversion process, let’s discuss a little about the basic differences between these two games.
- A tennis ball is court is around 4 times larger than a regular pickleball court.
- The overall height of the nets of these two games is similar at 36 inches. However; the middle of the pickleball net is slacked at 34 inches, whereas the net of tennis ball stands at a height of 36 inches in the middle.
- The ball used in both the games substantially differs in the material used, and the dynamics. A tennis ball is made of lightweight rubber and surrounded by a layer of fur. A pickleball looks more similar to a wiffleball, with lightweight and perforated construction
- Paddles used also differs to handle different type of balls used. Although they look similar in terms of structure, they are made of different materials. A pickleball is made of high-quality wood or composite material and made a flat surface without inclusion of a tensioned net. A tennis ball bat is made of wood in the early 80s’. Now, Tennis ball bats are made of fiberglass or graphite to provide great rigidity with less weight. Also, the mesh net inside the frame of a tennis ball bat is made of a synthesized gut material to offer greater reactive force.
Comparison of Pickleball & Tennis Court dimensions
The overall layout of a pickleball court is rectangular in shape, measuring 20×44 feet in width and length. A tennis ball court’s overall layout is also rectangular in shape but measures 60×120 feet. So it’s an easy conversion and not labor intensive.
In fact, you can mark up to four number of pickleball courts inside a single tennis ball court, considering a little extra space around it, but I recommend to lay a maximum of two, as too much of line intersections will create confusion.
Read these methods before heading to the conversion process.
How to Convert Tennis Court into Pickleball Court
- Court’s Surface Nature
Pickleball uses a light perforated plastic ball which needs a hard surface for easy bouncing. Tennis ball courts may have different surfaces like grass, carpet, hard court, acrylic, asphalt, concrete, etc. A muddy or grass surface is not recommended for playing pickleball as it is hard to bounce the ball on those surfaces. So it’s better to choose hard courts like acrylic, asphalt, concrete or any other harder surfaces.
If there’s no hard surface available, hardening the surface might help.
- Single Court
If you opt to have a single pickleball court inside a regular tennis ball court, the process is very easy. Follow any of the below given methods.
- Overwrite Lines
This is one of the simplest methods, in which you just have to lay lines with respect to the dimension of a pickleball court.
If you choose to have only one pickleball court inside the tennis ball court, the process is very easy. You can just keep the net as the axis and can draw respective lines to create a pickleball court. Overwriting the lines might create a little confusion when you use the court to play both pickleball and tennis ball. But players will be able to differentiate the lines easily after playing a few numbers of games.
- Net Height and length
The height of a tennis ball net and a pickleball net differs in height and length. A tennis ball is 42 inches high, and has a middle slack of 6 inches, lowering it to 36 inches in the middle. However, a pickleball dips up to 34 inches in the middle while the height near the poles stays at 36 inches.
Length of tennis ball court should have a minimum of 38 to 40 feet, as a double player court measures a width of 36 feet. To make it pickleball ready, you have to bring down the middle of the net to 34 inches using a net strap or a holder.
- Drill Points
To place a holder firmly to bring down the tennis net, you may need to drill two holes on the surface at a distance equal to the width of a pickleball court. The holes should be in line with the poles of the tennis ball net.
- The need for Temporary Barriers
Due to the large area covered by the tennis ball court, you may need temporary barriers to prevent the ball from escaping outside the court. This may eventually waste time in chasing the escaped ball. Using temporary barriers that can be removed anytime is the best option to avoid overthrows.
These temporary barriers are helpful especially when your court is situated near any residential area or the nearby court is really busy with another game. Balls floating or falling on other courts during the gameplay will be quite annoying.
- Portable poles
If you plan to lay more than one pickleball court without affecting the playability of tennis, you may lay two pickleball courts on both sides of the net of a tennis ball court.
In this scenario, portable poles provide more comfort. They don’t need any holes on the surface, as they stand steady on their own bases. Leaving tennis ball net without removing provides a natural backstop for any one team.
- Backstops and Side Stops
A tennis ball court is relatively larger, and a backstop may be necessary to avoid overthrowing the balls outside of the court. All these stops should measure at least a minimum of 36 inches in height to arrest most balls within the court.
This way, you can avoid wasting time in chasing the balls inside the vast tennis ball court that escaped your bat.
It’s easy to convert a tennis ball court into a pickleball court. It’s recommended to use temporary equipment for conversion when needed. For a permanent setup, you may remove the tennis ball net, erase the lines, and can lay up to 4 numbers of pickleball court with permanent poles drilled on the surface.