Pickleball is a versatile game that can be played on nearly any surface, including grass, concrete, clay, asphalt, rubberized flooring, and wood flooring. Ideally, you want to play the game on a durable and smooth concrete surface.
Playing on a court explicitly made for pickleball can really up your game to the next level.
You’re probably wondering what you need to know about a pickleball court.
A standard pickleball court is smaller than a traditional tennis court. There are key differences between a pickleball court and a tennis court, such as the layout, the height of the net, and the rules that govern how the game should be played on the court.
Let’s get into it:
Building your own pickleball court
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. The Sports and Fitness Industry tracked the success and growth of the sport and found that pickleball has seen tremendous growth over the past seven years, from 2.5 million players to nearly 5 million pickleball players at the end of 2021.
And, with the sport’s growth, more and more facilities are becoming available to players who would like to engage in the sport. Finding an official pickleball court to play on is becoming increasingly accessible. However, not everyone is as lucky. Currently, the states with the most available courts are Florida, with 626 public courts, and California, with 666 courts to play on.
Did you know that you could build your own pickleball court?
Provided you have the space for a pickleball court, you can either hire a contractor to build it for you or, if you have building skills, you may be able to do it yourself. This article will review the size, material, surface, paint required, markings, fencing, netting height, and lighting requirements for the ideal pickleball court.
The size of a pickleball court
A pickleball court is smaller in size than a traditional tennis court. In fact, you could fit two pickleball courts into one tennis ball court. According to the USA Pickleball Rule Book, a pickleball court should be a minimum of 30 feet wide and 60 feet long and a maximum of 34 feet wide and 64 feet long. The latter is preferred. This will include the entire surface space of the pickleball court.
The current playing lines on the court’s surface are 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. This space is for both singles and doubles. If you would like to build your own court in your back garden and have a sufficient amount of space, these are the measures you will need to meet. In addition, courts should ideally be built with a north-south orientation. It is best to avoid the sun in players’ eyes while they play.
The surface of a pickleball court
There are two types of pickleball facilities: indoor and outdoor. Each one of these facilities provides a different kind of playing surface. Indoor playing facilities require smooth, soft surfaces that allow for fast movement and that may be used as a playing surface for other indoor sports such as basketball and tennis.
Asphalt is the surface of choice for outdoor pickleball courts because it is more forgiving on a player’s feet and legs.
Indoor pickleball courts can be found in recreation centers, fitness facilities, churches, and schools. The surface usually used in indoor facilities is either rubberized flooring or wooden flooring.
Pickleball court surfacing
An outdoor pickleball court should preferably have either a polyurethane surface or a 100% acrylic coating.
100% acrylic coatings are ideal for a few reasons. First of all, these coatings are breathable. Secondly, they allow vapor to pass through. These surfaces are perfect for creating that true pickleball bounce and provide a non-slip footing for players.
In addition, this surface creates much less wear and tear on pickleball balls.
Why it’s important to have a cushioned pickleball court
All pickleball players understand that this game can be demanding on legs, joints, and feet. The game consists of fast forward, backward, and lateral jumps and moves. Players often jump or start to excel at high speed suddenly. This means that the legs and feet need to be able to absorb a lot of the shock from landing.
One way of assisting players’ legs absorb the shock from these movements is to add cushioning on the surface of the pickleball court. The added cushioning helps absorb a lot of the shock, allowing for a softer landing that is more gentle on the joints than on a standard hard surface. Players experience a more comfortable game while stress is alleviated on the player’s body, legs, feet, and joints.
The challenge is finding a surface that offers a sufficient amount of shock-absorbing support while maintaining the bounce on the pickleball ball that the game and courts are so well known for. This is why 100% acrylic coatings are so ideal for these types of courts. These coatings offer the right amount of support and provide the right amount of comfort.
Pickleball Court Color
The USA Pickleball Association has one recommendation for painting outdoor pickleball courts. The paint should be 100% acrylic.
For the most part, you may notice that pickleball courts are traditionally painted blue or green. However, according to the Pickleball Association, the court can be any color, provided the lines contrast deeply with the surface color. There are specific reasons for this. It is important to select a surface color that is opposite to the line colors on the court. Seeing the ball as it moves across the court on a backdrop of stark contrasting colors will be easier.
The USA Pickleball Association does have a few recommendations regarding the color choices for pickleball courts:
- Lighter colors attract less heat and retain less heat. This helps to keep the playing surface cooler.
- Darker colors attract and retain more heat. This may not be ideal. However, in states that experience high snow levels during the winter, these darker lines or playing surfaces may help melt the snow faster due to heat retention.
- When selecting the base and line colors for a pickleball court, it’s best to use contrasting colors.
Pickleball Court Layout
The pickleball court layout is an essential piece of information in this article. It will stipulate the format of the court, which is crucial to understanding player positions and specific pickleball rules.
As previously mentioned, the standard court size is 20 feet wide by 44 feet long. The exterior lines of the court are known as the baselines and the sidelines. These lines highlight the width and length of the court, respectively.
The pickleball court is divided down the middle by a line. This line is where you will also find the pickleball net. There is another line on either side of the net, about seven feet in distance. This area is known as the no-volley zone or, alternatively, as the kitchen.
The distance on either side of the court, from the kitchen or no-volley zone, to the baseline, is fifteen feet. The right and left service areas are divided by a centerline on each side of the court.
The pickleball net is 36 inches in height on both sides and 34 inches in the center. There are two options when it comes to the pickleball net. The first option sits on the floor, while the second netting option leaves a gap between the floor and the bottom of the net. Nets come in permanent and portable styles for convenience.
Pickleball Rules on the Court
One of the pickleball court‘s first and most essential rules is serving. When the first player serves the first ball, the player must stand outside the baseline. Both feet of the serving player must clear the baseline when they are serving the ball. When the server serves the first ball, it must clear the net and the no-volley zone and land on the opponent’s service court.
Players must allow the ball to bounce once on each side before starting to volley the ball. And, when players are volleying the ball back and forth, their feet may not touch or be inside the no-volley zone.
There is a rule in pickleball that is called the double bounce rule. A pickleball ball may not bounce more than once on the pickleball court before it is returned.
Pickleball Court Lighting
Lighting is an essential aspect of the court. Proper lighting will help players to identify where the ball is and will help to improve their game. The best lighting will enable players to react responsively and create much better visibility on the court. If you plan on building your own pickleball court in your back garden, it would be best to give some serious consideration to lighting and not to skimp on the budget for lighting.
According to Pickleball USA, there are a few key considerations regarding the appropriate lighting for your pickleball court.
The quality of the lighting installed is paramount. Firstly, the higher the lighting quality, the less glare you will have on the court. Glare can harm your game and add strain to your eyes. The lighting should properly light the entire court surface and should light it equally. In other words, areas shouldn’t be darker than others.
For outdoor lighting, LED lights seem to be the best. LED lights hold the most benefits and advantages for pickleball players and courts. These lights provide a total of 100,000 hours. They are also much easier to maintain and require less work to maintain. In addition, LED lights can be used with dimmers.
Of course, it goes without saying that indoor lighting will differ from outdoor lighting.
Indoor lighting should be a mixture of direct and indirect lighting and may include different types of indoor lights, such as LED lighting, HID, and fluorescent lighting.
Is Fencing Required for Outdoor Courts?
Fencing is not always required for your pickleball courts. However, they have many benefits for you and your pickleball balls. The first question I would like to ask you is: how many pickleball balls have you lost when playing outdoors?
Fencing helps keep the balls inside the court, and it’s much easier to collect them after a tournament or friendly play. Fencing doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. You can install a cost-effective solution that will keep your pickleball balls inside the court and not hinder visibility. Fencing is not a requirement but more of a luxury in pickleball.
How often should I clean my pickleball court?
The great thing about pickleball courts is that they are usually low maintenance. You will rarely need to clean your court. Another great thing about acrylic courts is that these courts actually benefit from the rain. You won’t need to wash your court if it rains often, or at least rains often enough.
However, if your pickleball court needs cleaning, you can use a pressure washer. Keep in mind that traditional handheld washers may cause damage to the surface of your court. You are advised to get a professional to clean your court for you or, at the very least, hire professional cleaning equipment.
Furthermore, you should avoid using a stiff, bristled brush. These types of brushes can really damage the surface of your pickleball court and cause more damage than good.
Are there accessories for a pickleball court?
Absolutely. There are a few accessories that you can purchase to make your pickleball court stand out. Firstly, you can place benches on your court. These are ideal for a few teams playing on the court. The players who aren’t actively playing can sit comfortably on the sideline and watch the game.
You can also add shade shelters to your court to help keep your players cool and out of the sun while not playing. Spectator seating is a great addition to your pickleball courts if you are a professional pickleball association and want to add something for your viewers.
Pickleball is very addictive! Pick up the paddles and find out for yourself.
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