The Rise of Pickleball: A Family-Friendly Sport on the Up

A Growing Popularity

Pickleball, a sport invented in Washington state in the mid-1960s, has been in existence for longer than many would think. However, it is only in recent years that this family-friendly sport has seen a significant surge in popularity and participation. If you have heard of pickleball and want to give it a try, you’ll need to find or set up your own pickleball court. In this article, we will delve into everything related to pickleball court dimensions, surfaces, and more.

Getting the Dimensions Right

A pickleball court is 20ft wide and 44ft long, equivalent to 6.10m x 13.41m. Within the playing area, there are several unique zones specific to pickleball. The non-volley zone, also known as the “kitchen,” is 20ft wide and 7ft long. The right and left service areas are both 10ft wide and 15ft long.

Each side of a pickleball court is divided into the non-volley zone and the right and left service area. In the non-volley zone, players are prohibited from volleying the ball, meaning they cannot hit the ball without it bouncing first. The service area, on the other hand, allows players to volley once a rally begins.

Surfaces and Nets

While the rules and regulations regarding the dimensions of a pickleball court are strict, the sport can be played on a variety of surfaces. Concrete, asphalt, astroturf, clay, wood (indoor sports halls), and even grass can be used for playing pickleball. The most common surface for indoor pickleball courts is a specialized polyurethane sport surface, while most home and backyard courts are marked out on concrete.

Furthermore, the regulation pickleball net height is slightly lower than a tennis net, measuring 36 inches (91.44cm) at the sidelines and 34 inches (86.36cm) at the center.

Playing on Tennis Courts

Tennis courts, being larger than pickleball courts, have different markings and dimensions. Tennis courts are 36ft wide and 78ft long, while pickleball courts are narrower at 20ft wide and 44ft long. Tennis courts are primarily designed for doubles matches, which is why they are wider compared to singles matches, whereas pickleball courts are the same size for both singles and doubles games.

Despite the size difference, it is possible to play pickleball on a tennis court by using line-marking equipment to create temporary pickleball courts and using freestanding pickleball nets. However, it is important to consider the direction of the sun when setting up pickleball courts on a tennis court, as it can create visibility issues for players.

Combinations with Badminton

Interestingly, the dimensions of pickleball courts are the same as doubles badminton courts. This makes doubles badminton courts a great option for playing pickleball. However, there are some differences in the line markings. The non-volley zone in pickleball is marked 7ft on either side of the net, while in badminton, it is marked 6.5ft from the net. Additionally, the net height in badminton is significantly higher than in pickleball.

Creating Your Own Pickleball Court

If you want to create a pickleball court at home, it is recommended to have a space that is at least 30ft wide and 60ft long. While it is possible to play on grass, a concrete base or area is ideal as it provides a more consistent bounce and avoids damage to the turf.

To mark out a pickleball court, start by positioning the net correctly, as it will serve as a reference point. Mark out the two baselines 22ft from the net, ensuring they cover the full width of the court. Then mark out the sidelines, which should be 22ft apart and 40ft long. Followed by marking the non-volley zone, 7ft from the net, spanning the full width of the court. Finally, mark out the centerline, perpendicular to the sidelines, 10ft from each sideline.

Conclusion

Pickleball, a once lesser-known sport, is now gaining popularity worldwide due to its family-friendly nature and accessibility. With clear guidelines on court dimensions, surfaces, and net heights, the sport can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you set up a dedicated pickleball court or convert a tennis court, there are plenty of options to indulge in this exciting sport. So, dust off your rackets and get ready to pickle!

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