Pickleball Court on Tennis Court
If you can’t find a pickleball court near you, you might have to consider setting up one by yourself on an existing tennis court.
It’s very important to remember that for any permanent changes, you must get a permit from your city or town. Don’t paint any lines, drill holes or do any other permanent changes to the court without written permission, because it’s illegal.
Can you use a tennis court for pickleball?
Yes, you can use a tennis court for pickleball. In fact, it’s quite common to set up pickleball courts on existing tennis courts. One tennis court can actually provide space for one to four pickleball courts.
Pickleball court versus tennis court: the dimensions
The standard tennis court pad is 60 feet by 120 feet, and pickleball requires a space that is at least 30 feet in width and 60 feet in length. This gives players ample room to hit shots beyond the lines. The actual tennis court’s playing area is 36 feet by 78 feet, and the pickleball court is considerably smaller at 20 feet by 44 feet.
One pickleball court per tennis court
The easiest approach to this is to use the existing net, but you have to lower it by two inches in the center, which will be to 34 inches. If the tension on the net seems to be too extreme, go to the posts and use a ratchet to loosen the line.
Pickleball lines can be painted on the court (using a different color than the tennis lines) if you have permission, and if so, this would be a permanent conversion situation. Players have found the intermingling lines to be confusing to some degree at first, but they quickly become accustomed to them. You can also use tape for temporary use. To find out how to properly lay down your lines, go to Step 2 below.
If you have access to portable barriers, you might want to use them so you don’t have to run around the entire expanse of the tennis court chasing pickleballs that have gotten by you.
Two pickleball courts per tennis court
There are two ways you can set up two pickleball courts on one tennis court. However, you can’t use the tennis net for two courts due to the slant of the tennis net (it’s higher on the sides than in the middle), which means you’ll need to bring in your portable pickleball nets and set them up, one on either side of the tennis net. Basically, in one version of this setup, the tennis net will serve as a backstop for both pickleball courts as your pickleball nets will be set up parallel to the tennis net.
The second option is to place your nets directly on top of and following the tennis court’s center service line on either side of the court, which means the nets will be set up perpendicular to the tennis net (an angle of 90 degrees).
Like we said earlier, a tennis court pad is 60 feet by 120 feet and a pickleball pad is 30 feet by 60 feet, giving you ample space to create to pickleball courts without worrying about getting in the way of the other players. Plus, the tennis net will act as a barrier between the two courts. To lay down your pickleball lines, go to Step 2 below.
Four pickleball courts per tennis court
Yes, it’s entirely possible to set up four pickleball courts on one tennis court, as there is ample room for two on each side of the tennis net.
Follow the same rules for setting up two courts with the nets parallel to the tennis net, but put two on each side of the tennis net instead of one. You can use the tennis singles on either sideline to reference the middle of your pickleball courts, and then follow Step 2 below for laying out your lines.
Permanent conversion of a tennis court
Because the tennis court is an excellent surface to use for pickleball, and because pickleball is growing so rapidly and more people can take advantage of the space taken up by a tennis court, more people are converting the tennis court into permanent pickleball courts.
You have to consider that transforming the court will require removing existing tennis posts, which is usually cemented into the ground. You will also have to remove the pipe anchor, which is in the middle of the net and holds down the center net strap.
To fully utilize the tennis court space, you’ll want to make preparations for four courts, which means you have to install net post sleeves in footers for the four courts. Fortunately, these posts can be taken down if you want to use the surface for something other than pickleball or want to resurface the courts at a later date.
You’ll want the center of the nets to be stationary and stable, which is why you’ll need to install a pipe anchor at the center of each net.
Finally, you have the option of starting fresh with a new sport surface, covering up all the old lines of the tennis court and establishing a new layer from which your first rounds pickleball games will be played. Like a tennis surface, the pickleball court surfaces are textured with silica sand, which is smooth and rounded and will prevent you from slipping when the surface is damp or wet. You can choose among several colors, though light green and forest green are quite popular.
The other option is to stay with the old surface and tennis lines and mark out your new, permanent pickleball lines as directed in Step 2. Again, you’ll want to choose a different color so there is less confusion.
How to transform a tennis court into a pickleball court
Lowering the tennis net for pickleball
Simply use the center strap to bring the net down 2 inches. If you feel like it gives net cord too much tension, you should loosen the ratchet by the net post. This may require a wrench.
If you don’t want to mess with the straps or you’re getting complaints from tennis players, you might want to consider purchasing a net conversion kit.
If you’re going to use the tennis net as a backstop, simple set up your portable pickleball net in the middle of one side of the tennis court and you can use the tennis net as a backstop.
Marking the lines – adding pickleball lines to a tennis court
First off, you need to know the dimensions of the pickleball court. The total court length from baseline to baseline is 44 feet. The sidelines will be exactly 20 feet apart.
- Mark off your non-volley zone by measuring 7 feet from the net toward the baseline. Do this on either side, and then lay down your non-volley line all the way to either sideline, which will be 20 feet. There will be no centerline in the non-volley zone.
- Now, measure 15 feet from the back of your non-volley line and mark your baseline, which will extend from one sideline to the other (20 feet apart).
- Finally, find dead center between your sidelines, which will be 10 feet, and lay down the centerline from the baseline to the back of the non-volley line. This line will create the left service area and the right service area.
- To make sure you court is square, measure from the right corner where the baseline meets the sideline to the left corner on the opposite side of the net where the baseline meets the sideline. It should measure 48 feet 4 inches.
What should I use to mark the lines?
If your court is to be used to play tennis after you’ve finished your games, you will lay down what are known as “blended lines,” which means you’ll add pickleball lines that are a different color than the tennis lines.
If the tennis court is outdoors, you have options to mark the lines, including the following:
- Sidewalk chalk
- Contractors blue chalk dust
- Different types of tapes, which might be tricky to apply outdoors, as you will need clean and smooth surface for the tape to stick. If you use tape you will need about 200 feet per court
For indoor courts – tape is your only option.
Pickleball is the best game to play on a tennis court
Don’t tell a diehard tennis player this, but pickleball players know the truth – pickleball is the best game to play on a tennis court.