Building the Perfect Indoor Pickleball Facility

Creating a Premier Pickleball Destination

Pickleball, with its expanding player base and growing popularity, has become one of the fastest-growing sports in the country. As more players and fans get involved, the demand for quality indoor pickleball facilities continues to rise. Unlike outdoor courts, which are at the mercy of the elements, indoor facilities offer year-round protection and ensure that play can continue regardless of the weather. For businesses, recreation centers, and sports complexes looking to build an indoor pickleball facility, understanding the requirements of the sport and creating an enjoyable experience is crucial. This guide provides essential insights and recommendations for creating the ultimate indoor pickleball facility that will not only attract players but establish itself as a premier pickleball destination in its region.

Designing the Structure

One of the first considerations when building an indoor pickleball facility is planning the structure that will house the courts. Unlike other athletic buildings, indoor pickleball facilities require unique designs. Factors such as the number of courts and whether the facility will cater solely to pickleball or also accommodate tennis with blended lines must be resolved in the beginning stages of the project. The facility’s location and the desired playing environment should also be taken into account. Whether the facility will be partially open-air or fully enclosed depends on the climate and the owner’s goals. Clearspan Structures, known for their expertise in athletic facilities, can optimize dimensions and enclosure goals to meet each facility owner’s needs.

Choosing the right cladding for the facility is essential. Insulated metal panels are a viable solution for facilities located in severe climates. They offer durability, ease of installation, and excellent thermal efficiency for maintaining interior temperatures. Fabric cladding is another popular option, as it allows sunlight to filter into the facility while keeping it naturally cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Cape Henry Racquet Club owner, Daryl Cummings, praises the natural feeling space created by fabric cladding, stating that it is more enjoyable to play in a structure that doesn’t feel like a warehouse.

Court Considerations

The most important aspect of building an indoor pickleball facility is the design of the courts themselves. Constructing properly sized and comfortable courts is crucial in creating a superior pickleball experience. A recommended surface for indoor pickleball courts is a 100 acrylic coating, which provides a dependable base for play, limits slipping and player injury, produces a true pickleball bounce, and minimizes wear and tear on the balls. Court colors should contrast with the color of the pickleball to ensure optimal ball visibility. Blue courts have become a popular choice, as they provide excellent visibility for the common yellow, orange, or lime green pickleballs.

Restraints and dimensions must also be taken into account. Sidelines span the length of the court, totaling 44 feet, while baselines are 20 feet in length and run parallel to the net. A centerline separates the service areas, and two 15-foot service areas are created on either side of the net. Non-volley zones, commonly referred to as “the kitchen,” sit parallel to the baselines and separate the service areas from the net. The height of the net is 36 inches at the sidelines, sloping down to 34 inches in the center of the court.

The total playing area for casual and open play should measure 30 feet wide by 60 feet in length, while competitive and tournament play prefers dimensions of 34 feet wide by 64 feet in length. Building an indoor pickleball facility with ideal size playing areas ensures that every court can be used simultaneously without players interfering in each other’s games.

Court Quantity and Spacing

Determining the number of courts and their spacing is crucial in an indoor pickleball facility’s design. While it was common in the past to start with a small number of courts and gradually add more, many operations now opt to build a facility that can accommodate over fifteen courts right from the start. Regardless of the chosen approach, a minimum of eight courts is recommended to provide flexibility for various types of play, from smaller tournaments to recreational pickleball clubs.

Adequate spacing between courts is essential to ensure player safety and avoid potential injuries. Building too many courts inside a facility can lead to players being too close to walls, fencing, or each other. Proper court spacing also allows for the incorporation of extra amenities like concession areas, locker rooms, spectator sections, or a pro shop, if the facility aims to become an all-in-one venue.

An Example to Follow

The Opelika Sportsplex in Opelika, Alabama, serves as an excellent example of a well-designed indoor pickleball facility. This addition to the existing recreational facility incorporates a Clearspan fabric truss building, providing ample coverage for twelve indoor pickleball courts. The facility can accommodate everything from casual play to Olympic qualifying tournaments, regardless of weather conditions. The Sportsplex’s clearspan structure allows players to continue playing without interruption, even during sudden rain showers. The success of the Opelika Sportsplex led to its decision to construct a second covered pickleball structure, providing room for even more courts and accommodating their growing fan and player base.

Building the perfect indoor pickleball facility requires careful planning and consideration of various factors. By following these guidelines and taking advantage of available technologies and expertise, any operation can create a premier pickleball destination that caters to players’ needs and fosters the sport’s continued growth.

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