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How To Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court? – A Complete DIY Guide

How To Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court
Written by Alex

Just like an Apple that doesn’t fall far from its tree, Pickleball in its core closely follows all the bits of its renowned predecessor, Tennis, which is why most of its aspects feel so similar down to every minute detail.

Now you would be wondering if both Pickleball and Tennis are “cut from the same cloth”, can you share a Tennis court with Pickleball players? And if it’s “Yes”, then “how to play Pickleball on a Tennis court”. 

Well, the answer to your question is pretty much a mixed bag and needs to be explained in a brief manner as Pickleball players might face some complications when stepping onto a Tennis court.

Playing Pickleball On A Tennis Court

While both of these sports might seem like two peas in a pod, you cannot simply pick up a paddle and start your pickleball session right away because,

1. The Dimensions Are Off

One of the biggest obstacles in your way is the physical dimensions that basically change the whole dynamics of the game, for starters, as per official court rules, users are required to utilize a 20 feet wide and 44 feet-long surface area which remains the same regardless of the fact you are playing it in singles or doubles format.

A Tennis session, however, is played on a much bigger court as the overall dimensions required range up to a whopping 78 feet in length and 27 feet in width, and that’s only for singles format.

If you want to partake in Doubles format, you need to increase the dimensions up the notch as the width has to be 36 feet while the length remains the same.

So in much simpler and profound words, you would be playing on a much bigger surface area which directly violates the Pickleball court rules.

2. Height Of The Net

Now comes the most strategic and game-changing aspect, when both of these sports are laid side by side in comparison the height of the net differs by miles.

In Pickleball, you have your net hanging as high as 36 inches at the post and 34 inches in the middle. Meanwhile, the Tennis court requires the net to be 42 inches at the posts while being 36 inches in the middle.

Considering the fact even a single inch will ruin the dynamics of your Pickleball session, it is pretty much obvious that you won’t be playing unless and until you tweak the net dimensions.

3. Kitchen or Volley Zone

Even though Pickleball seems much simpler than tennis, in its court it implements an additional rule of Kitchen region or Non-Volley Zone.

As the name suggests, the Non-volley zone prevents players from volleying directly across the net and ranges up to a whopping 7 feet.

Meanwhile, there are no such restrictions in Tennis, as the Kitchen Zone is absent, allowing players to volley anywhere from the court.

So, Can You Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court?

In theory, yes, however, you may have to perform a couple of fundamental changes such as,

1. Get A Permit

If it’s a public tennis court before you make your own customization or tweaks, you need to consult with the appropriate building department or the park management, otherwise, you will be handed fines and even escorted off the court which certainly leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Luckily for you, getting a permit is simple and straight as you don’t have to jump through hoops just to get the required permission to make changes in the court.

2. Lowering The Net

If you step onto a Tennis court, you would instantly notice the height of the net is off by the miles and needs to be lowered to at least 36 inches at the post and 34 inches in the middle.

Luckily for you, you can easily lower the net by loosening the attachment points at the post, allowing you to overcome such a minuscule hurdle at the moment’s notice.

3. Tweaking The Court Dimensions

Net height won’t be the only aspect that needs to be shrunk down the notch because you would need a magic tape to make new boundaries that range up to 44 feet while being 20 feet wide, which is way shorter than a tennis court.

Avoid using paint as you may ruin the Tennis court and even end up in heavy penalties especially if you are in a Public park. Try using visible tape with contrasting colors so all the boundaries are illuminated well when playing a Pickleball game.

4. Integrating a Non-Volley Zone

Let’s not forget the most pivotal zone known as the Kitchen region which is approximately 7 feet in length, on each side across the net.

Since, in a tennis court this unique zone is absent, you need to create special boundaries in order to determine your Nonvolley zone, otherwise, you are pretty much violating the official rules of pickleball and even breaking the dynamics of the sport.

Do I Have To Use Different Equipment?

Obviously, it’s not like you are going to use the same equipment that you would rather use in Tennis as Pickleball uses Paddles similar to Ping pong and a small hollow ball made from synthetic plastic, so make sure you get your sports equipment when borrowing the court from your tennis buddies.

In the meantime, make sure you test out the court surface as the bounce response of the court paint might differ from Pickleball court since it utilizes a special type of epoxy or Acrylic paint which is applied liberally on concrete surfaces. 

Are Serving Rules Similar To Tennis?

No, in Pickleball, a player standing behind the baseline has to serve underhand while ensuring the paddle remains below the waistline.

Keep in mind the serve has to be initiated in a diagonal line and must be cleared off the Kitchen Zone.

In Tennis, however, there are no restrictions corresponding to Kitchen Zone, and players can perform both overhand and underhand serve as long as they are standing behind the baseline.

How To Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court? – Final Word

So that’s about it folks, the changes you need to make in a Tennis court wouldn’t cost you any penny, however, they are deemed sensitive and need to be highly accurate in terms of dimensions especially if you are marking the Non-volley zone, otherwise, you are pretty much breaking the core mechanics of the game.

On the other hand, the net height also needs to be adjusted as it is pretty obvious that the plastic ball won’t be able to make its way across as effectively otherwise.

That being said, feel free to share this guide corresponding to “Playing Pickleball on a Tennis Court” among your friends, family, and peers, and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

About the author


Hello, I'm Alex, and welcome to PicklerSpot – your ultimate resource for all things pickleball! I've curated this blog to share my 5 years of expertise and tips to enhance your pickleball skills.

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