It is definitely possible to play pickleball on a tennis court.

In my country, there aren’t any pickleball courts (this is sad). 

So if I want to play pickleball, I have to play it on a tennis or badminton court. 

A tennis court differs from a pickleball court in terms of size, layout, and net height. 

If you want to play pickleball on a tennis court, it’s best to modify the court slightly.

In this article, I will show you how to customize a tennis court in a non-permanent way so that you won’t get into trouble changing the court. 

But still, you should ask the tennis court owner for permission to play pickleball on it. 

Let’s get started.

Can you Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court?

Yes, it’s common to play pickleball on a tennis court. 

Since pickleball is a relatively new sport compared to tennis, there are much more tennis courts than pickleball courts. So when people cannot find a pickleball nearby to play, they repurpose tennis courts and play on them.

Even though there aren’t enough pickleball courts, the good news is that it’s easy to make a DIY version.

Pickleball Court vs. Tennis Court: The Differences

pickleball vs tennis court

To play pickleball on a tennis court, you should first understand the differences between a pickleball and a tennis court. You can check out my comparison between tennis and pickleball article for more details.

In short, there are only three significant differences:

Court Size

The tennis court is much larger than the pickleball court. You can fit four pickleball courts into a tennis court.

Net Height

A tennis net is higher than a pickleball net. A pickleball net is 36 inches at the side and 34 inches in the middle, while a tennis net is 42 inches in the side and 36 inches in the middle.

The difference seems minor, but it makes a big difference in actual gameplay, especially if you have gotten used to the pickleball net.  

Court Layout and Line configuration

Both a tennis court and a pickleball court have a baseline, centerline, and two service boxes. 

But the court layout is quite different.

The Service Area

A tennis and pickleball court has a service area consisting of two service boxes. The difference is the service area of a tennis court is next to the next, while the service area of a pickleball court sticks to the baseline. 

Sidelines

A pickleball court has one sideline, while a tennis court has two. Because in pickleball, a doubles match and a single match use the same court layout. While for tennis, a different sideline is used to count for the ball out in a double game than in a single game. 

The Non-Volley Zone or Kitchen

The Non-Volley Zone, also called the Kitchen, In pickleball, is a section of the court 7 feet away from both sides of the net and extends to each sideline.

A non-volley zone only exists in a pickleball court, so if you want to play a pickleball court on a tennis court, you need to draw the kitchen line yourself. I will show you how to do it in the sessions below.

If these sound confusing to you, don’t worry, you don’t have to understand all of these to customize a tennis court for pickleball. 

Cheapest Way to Build a Pickleball Court

If you want to convert a tennis court to a pickleball court or make permanent marks on a tennis court to make it a multi-functional one, it takes a lot of money, and you need to hire professionals.

Luckily, if you just want to mark a pickleball court on a tennis court for personal use, it takes only around 28 USD (varies according to the material you choose). 

I will show you how to do it in the next session.

How to Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court

Can you play pickleball on a tennis court
pickleball court layout on tennis court

When you are just starting out and want to try pickleball, you do not have to modify the court. 

You can use the inner sidelines of the tennis court as sidelines and the service line as a baseline. Since there isn’t a kitchen line if you are playing this way, just keep in mind that you shouldn’t camp near the net and keep volleying, which is the whole purpose of the existence of the kitchen line. 

But when you are getting more serious and want to play pickleball for longer, you should modify the court to make it more similar to a standard pickleball court. 

If you want to know more about the structure of a pickleball court, you can check out my pickleball layout and dimensions article.

Multiple Pickleball Court Layout

As mentioned above, you can fit a maximum of four pickleball courts into a tennis court.

So, you can set up a pickleball court in three ways, as shown here.

In this article, I will cover the first method, fitting one pickleball court into a tennis court. It is the easiest and cheapest way to set up the court. 

Permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary

You can set up a pickleball court in three ways – permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary.

It depends on the materials you use to draw the court line. Using tape or chalk is permanent or semi-permanent, depending on whether it can be removed. If you use a cone, then it is temporary.

Important note: Do not use permanent or semi-permanent material without permission from the court owner.

In the last session of this article, I will show you how to set up a court without using any permanent or semi-permanent marker. 

We will use temporary markers that will not leave any mark on the court, so you don’t get into trouble setting up the court.

only for pros, show you the other two (or just one)

What you’ll need 

To follow the tutorial, you only need these materials:

At least 11 Cones or 11 Rubber Strips

A Measuring Tape (optional)

Getting Started 

This is what we are going to build. 

The service line of the tennis court will become the baseline of our DIY pickleball court. The centerline can be used without changing. And we will draw the sidelines and the kitchen line using cones or rubber strips, depending on your preference.

Drawing the sidelines

The service area of a pickleball court is 20 feet long, while the area of a tennis court is 27 feet long.

The service area of a pickleball court is 7 feet shorter than a pickleball court.

So I don’t recommend using the tennis court’s inner sideline as the pickleball court’s sideline. 

Instead, it’s better to draw custom sidelines 3.5 feet away from the inner sidelines of a tennis court.

To do this, first stand on the corner of the service area of the tennis court.

Then pull the measuring tape to 3.5 inches and align it with the centerline. (If you do not have a measuring tape, you can measure by three-foot steps)

Put a cone on the end of the measuring tape.

Now walk to the center of the sideline.

Again, pull the measuring tape to 3.5 inches and put it perpendicular to the sideline.

Then put another cone on the end of the measuring tape.

Now rotate the measuring tape by 90 degrees.

Put one end of the measuring tape to the cone on the centerline and the other end of the meshing tape to another cone. 

Now put two more cones along the measuring tape. (if you do not have a measuring tape, just estimate the position of the cones so they form a straight line) 

Finally, repeat the process for the other side of the service area. 

Drawing the Kitchen Line

You can now walk to the net. Then pull the measuring tape to 7 feet and align it with the line of cones. (if you don’t have a measuring tape, just measure by footstep) 

Now move the cone that is closest to the measuring tape to the end of the measuring tape. This is the edge of the kitchen line.

 Adjust the position of other cones or add new ones if needed to maintain a visible straight line. 

Now we have two cones that act as the edges of the kitchen line.

Pull the measuring tape to 20 feet and put one end on one cone and another on another.

Now put 4-6 more cones along the measuring tape to make a straight line.

This is the kitchen line of the DIY pickleball court.

Repeat for the other side

The final step is to repeat the step above and put the cones on the other side of the court.

Lowering The Net (Optional)

A pickleball net is two feet lower than a tennis net.

You can decide whether or not to lower the net. While two feet doesn’t seem like a big difference, I recommend you lower the net if you have played pickleball for some time because you have gotten used to the net height. 

There are two ways to lower the net. 

The first one is loosening the net. If you can do this, it’s the easiest option.

You can use a tennis net center strap if you don’t have the first option.

Use the center strap to adjust the height of the center of the tennis net to 34 inches. You can use the measuring tape to see if you have done it right.

Playing Pickleball on Tennis Court

That’s how you set up a tennis court for pickleball. If you are interested in how pickleball is different from tennis, check out this pickleball vs tennis article.

FAQ

How do you use a tennis net for pickleball?

A tennis net is two feet higher than a pickleball net. And there are two ways to lower the net. The first one is loosening the net. If you can do this, it’s the easiest option. If you don’t have the first option, you can use a tennis net center strap to lower the center of the tennis net to 36 feet.

How to play pickleball on a tennis court?

The simplest way is to use the inner sidelines of the tennis court as sidelines and the service line as a baseline. Since there isn’t a kitchen line, you shouldn’t camp near the net and keep volleying, which is the whole purpose of the existence of the kitchen line. 

But when you are getting more serious and want to play pickleball for longer, you should modify the court to make it more similar to a standard pickleball court. 

How much does it cost to build a temporary court?

If you just want to mark a pickleball court on a tennis court for personal use, it takes only around 28 USD (varies according to the material you choose).

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