Pickleball has captured the hearts of players worldwide with its unique blend of tennis, badminton, and table tennis.
While dedicated pickleball courts are becoming more common, many of us only have access to tennis courts for our pickleball fix.
Fortunately, with a few adjustments and additions, you can easily transform a tennis court into a pickleball haven.
In this article we'll:
- Explore the difference between pickleball and tennis courts,
- Delve into the process of adding pickleball lines to a tennis court,
- Discuss the essential dimensions of a pickleball court, and
- Even reveal how you can play pickleball on a tennis court using a tennis net.
So, grab your paddle, lace up your shoes, and let's go!
Is A Pickleball Court The Same As A Tennis Court?
While pickleball and tennis may share some similarities, their court dimensions, size and layout differ significantly.
The playing area of a standard tennis court measures 78 feet in length and 36 feet in width. The entire footprint of a regulation tennis court is 60 feet by 120 feet.
On the other hand, the playing area of a pickleball court’s dimensions is only 20 feet wide and 44 feet long, making it about one-third of the size of a tennis court.
The net height is another noticeable difference between the 2 sports:
- Pickleball nets are set at 36 inches at the posts and 34 inches in the center,
- Tennis nets are 42 inches at the posts and 36 inches in the center
The final difference is that pickleball courts have specific boundary lines that are different from tennis lines. For example, pickleball courts have a non-volley zone, commonly known as the "kitchen," which extends 7 feet from the net on each side.
Tennis Court vs Pickleball Court: Similarities
Despite their differences, pickleball and tennis courts do share some similarities.
Both sports require a smooth playing surface, typically made of asphalt or concrete, to ensure proper ball bounce and player movement.
The layout of the court is rectangular and includes baselines, sidelines, and a center line that divides the court into two halves.
Both pickleball and tennis courts utilize a net that spans the width of the court, albeit at different heights.
These shared elements provide a sense of familiarity to players transitioning between the two sports, making it easier to adapt and enjoy the unique aspects of each game.
How Many Pickleball Courts Can You Fit On A Tennis Court?
4 pickleball courts can fit on a regulation tennis court since pickleball courts are around ⅓ the size of a tennis court. A tennis court is 60 feet by 120 feet long while pickleball courts are 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. The size of a tennis court allows for 2 pickleball courts on each side of the tennis court, for 4 pickleball courts total.
In reality, though, some tennis courts are smaller than 60 feet x 120 feet, so the actual number of pickleball courts that can fit on a tennis court depends on the tennis court’s layout and court dimensions.
Assuming a regulation size tennis court, the tennis court can be divided into four equal sections, allowing for simultaneous pickleball play on each section.
This configuration provides a great opportunity for multiple players to engage in pickleball matches, maximizing the use of the tennis court space (up to 16 pickleballers versus 4 on a tennis court).
Can I Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court?
Yes! If you do not have a pickleball net and want to use a tennis court net, you can set-up pickleball lines on each side of the tennis net and play pickleball using the tennis net.
The tennis net is around 2 inches higher than a pickleball net at the center, so there will be a slight difference in the net height with this set-up (but it can be easily done and works great for most people!).
We walk through the steps for doing this in the sections below.
Pickleball On a Tennis Court: Options
Even though 4 pickleball courts can fit on a tennis court, that may not be the best set-up as space will be very tight.
Additional space is needed for the players to walk around the court, so if possible it’s a good idea to set aside an area of 60 feet by 30 feet for each pickleball court.
In addition to squeezing 4 pickleball courts onto a tennis court, there are 2 other options for playing pickleball on a tennis court:
Option 1: Add 1 or 2 pickleball courts to a tennis court
In this set-up, there would be 1 or 2 pickleball courts on the tennis court, one on each side of the net.
Option 2: Play pickleball using the tennis net on a tennis court
As mentioned in the last section, a 3rd option is to use the tennis court’s net and set-up only 1 pickleball court on the tennis court. In this set-up, ½ of the pickleball court would be on 1 side of the tennis net and the other ½ on the other side of the net.
How to Set-up a Pickleball Court On A Tennis Court
For option 1 above (setting up 1 or 2 pickleball courts), you will need:
- Pickleball net
- Chalk, paint, or tape to add temporary lines on the court
- Measuring tape
How To Add Pickleball Lines To A Tennis Court
Before we examine this in more detail, it’s vital to mention that you should never change somebody else’s tennis court without their permission!
Even seemingly temporary changes, like chalk or tape, can have long-lasting effects, so unless you own the tennis court, get permission first.
In case you aren't familiar with what the lines are called on a pickleball court, here's a quick primer:
Here are the steps to set-up a pickleball court on a tennis court:
- Choose a side of the tennis court to use.
- Use the measuring tape to find the halfway point between the tennis court’s net and the fence.
- Set up your pickleball net on this halfway line.
- Measure 22 feet from the pickleball net in both directions and draw the pickleball service lines (aka baselines) on both sides (the service lines run parallel to the pickleball net). Each service line should be 20 feet wide.
- Draw the 2 sidelines and connect them to the service lines/baselines. The sidelines run perpendicular to the service lines and reach from the service line to the net. Each sideline should be 44 feet long (this is 22 feet on each side of the court)
- Draw the non-volley (aka kitchen) lines parallel to the net. The kitchen line should be seven feet away from the net, one on each side. The non-volley lines should be 20 feet wide, extending from sideline to sideline.
- Lastly, draw a centerline on each side of the pickleball court. The centerline should start at the service line and extend 15 feet toward the net, stopping at the kitchen line. The centerline is in the center of the court, so 10 feet from each sideline.
Once you're done, the court should look something like this!
Adding Pickleball Lines To A Tennis Court When Using The Tennis Net
If you don’t have a pickleball net and want to play using the tennis net, you can quickly draw your lines that will let you play and use the tennis net.
- From the center of the net (where the center line in the service box meets the net), measure 10 feet to each side. Draw 2 sidelines. The sidelines are perpendicular to the net and should extend 22 feet from the net toward the service line of the tennis court.
- After drawing your sidelines, add the pickleball service line (aka baseline). The service line connects the 2 sidelines (so the service lines should be 20 feet wide and run parallel to the net).
- Draw the non-volley or kitchen lines 7 feet away from the net on both sides, parallel to the net and baselines. The non-volley lines should be 20 feet wide and extend from sideline to sideline.
- For the pickleball centerline, the center line on the tennis court can be used. Just extend that line to meet your pickleball court’s service line.
- Finally, if it's possible, remember to lower the tennis net , so it’s 36 inches high on both ends and 34 inches in the middle.
Once you are finished, the court should look like this!
Summary: How to Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court
Playing pickleball on a typical tennis court is not just possible, but very easy! Whether you have a
pickleball net or choose to use the tennis net, you can use a measuring tape and sidewalk chalk to mark the court. The entire process shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes and you’ll be pickling in no time!
FAQs: Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court
Can 2 Pickleball Courts Fit on a Tennis Court?
Yes - the dimensions of most tennis courts support 1 pickleball court on each side, so 2 pickleball courts can fit on a tennis court.
Can You Play Tennis On A Pickleball Court?
The size differences between tennis and pickleball courts mean that you can’t play tennis on a pickleball court. At least, not correctly. Tennis is a game that requires more space than pickleball, so it’s not advisable.
Can You Play Pickleball On A Paddle Tennis Court?
Paddle tennis courts are slightly larger than pickleball courts. This means you can play pickleball on a paddle tennis court, but you will have to draw pickleball lines on the court. The process is similar to that of converting a tennis court.
Can You Play Pickleball On A Platform Tennis Court?
Platform tennis courts are slightly larger than pickleball courts, which makes it physically possible to
play pickleball on them. However, since platform tennis courts often have wooden flooring and aren’t perfectly flat, your pickleball game may not be as fun as it normally is. A platform tennis court will work in a pinch but may not be a great permanent option.
What Is The Best Surface For Playing Pickleball?
You can play pickleball on hard, flat surfaces, but asphalt or concrete works best. The surface should be flat and smooth. You should then coat the surface with a 100% acrylic coating to protect it.
Does Pickleball Damage Tennis Courts?
Pickleball inflicts a certain level of wear and tear on a tennis court, just like tennis does. But there is nothing in pickleball that will damage a tennis court.
Can You Play Pickleball On A Basketball Court?
An average basketball court’s size allows you to play pickleball on it. Outdoor basketball courts also have concrete or asphalt surfaces, which are ideal for pickleball.
Can You Play Pickleball Using A Tennis Court Net?
A tennis net is only a few inches higher than a pickleball net. Apart from that, there are no vital differences, so you can adjust a tennis court’s net to the correct height (36 inches on the sides, 34inches in the middle) to play pickleball.
Can You Play Pickleball On A Clay Tennis Court?
Clay, as a surface material, isn’t as solid as asphalt or concrete. The difference will affect the bounce
of your pickleball. In other words, clay surfaces don’t meet the requirements for professional pickleball, but it is possible to play pickleball on a clay surface if you’re just playing for fun.