Pickleball and tennis are similar in the fact that they are both racquet sports. However, they do have major differences, including rules of the game, scoring systems, and, more noticeably, the court dimensions.
So what is the difference between a pickleball court and a tennis court? Let’s find out.
Pickleball Court vs Tennis Court: What’s The Difference?
If you were to look at each court separately, it would be quite hard to tell the difference. Therefore, we have taken it upon ourselves to break each court down and get right into the nitty-gritty.
The dimensions of a typical pickleball court are as follows:
- The court must be 20ft (feet) wide by 44ft long (the same as badminton courts). These dimensions are the same for singles and doubles.
- Indoor height clearance must be 18 feet.
- Non-volley zone must extend 7 feet either side of the net.
Related post: Can you play pickleball on grass?
A typical tennis court pad is made up of the following dimensions:
- The court must be 60ft (feet) by 120 ft
- The playing area should be 36ft by 78ft
- Indoor height clearance must be at least 40 feet.
How Many Pickleball Courts Can Fit in A Tennis Court?
A whopping four pickleball courts are able to fit into a tennis court.
Pretty impressive, huh? From this piece of information, we can gather just how big tennis courts really are.
Can You Convert A Tennis Court Into A Pickleball Court?
Yes, transforming a tennis court into one or more pickleball courts is relatively easy. Here’s how to do it.
One Pickleball Court
To transform a tennis court into one pickleball court, you will firstly need to lower the net from 36 inches to 34.
Once the net has been successfully lowered, you will need to paint pickleball lines on the court. If you do not have permission to do so, you can use colored tape, which can be removed at the end of the game. The great thing about adding lines is that you can play tennis and pickleball!
Top Tip: To avoid confusion, you could lay down the pickleball lines in a different color than the tennis court lines.
Two Pickleball Courts
You will need to bring portable pickleball nets for two pickleball courts. This is because you cannot use the net for two courts as it tends to slant in the middle, making it uneven.
Four Pickleball Courts
The same can be said for four pickleball courts in that you should use four portable nets on either side instead of two.
Guide to Transforming A Tennis Court Into A Pickleball Court
While basketball courts, inline hockey rinks and volleyball courts can also be used, tennis courts are much easier as the lines aren’t much different. Follow our step-by-step guide below to find out exactly how to do it yourself.
Step #1: Lower The Tennis Net
You will first need to lower the tennis net to the correct height, as mentioned above. To do this, you can either use the strap located at the center of the net to bring the net down slightly. Alternatively, you may need to loosen it by the net post.
Step #2: Add The Pickleball Lines
Whether you have permission to use paint or tape, the pickleball lines must be the same dimensions as on a traditional pickleball court. Here’s what you need to do:
- The non-volley zone should have lines 7 feet from the net to the baseline on either side. Then you will need to create a 20ft line across from sideline to sideline.
- Mark your baseline by measuring 15 feet away from the non-volley zone. This will also reach out to each sideline.
- The center between your sidelines should be exactly 10 feet. From here, you should create a centerline from the baseline to the non-volley line (the back of it).
- You need to make sure your court is square. To do this, you need to measure from the right corner of the baseline (where it meets the sideline). This needs to be laid down all the way to the opposite side, where the baseline meets the sideline.
Other Differences Between Pickleball and Tennis
Aside from the court size for each, there are a few other reasons to set these sports apart from one another. Let’s take a look at what they are.
The net in a pickleball court sits at 34 inches high, whereas a tennis court net is higher at 36 inches.
This is where the biggest difference lies in both sports. Let’s take a look at what is required to play.
Pickleball bats, or paddles, look very similar to table tennis bats and are primarily designed using carbon fiber or rubber. However, they are rectangular as opposed to tennis racquets which are oval-shaped.
Tennis racquets are larger and are designed with mesh netting. They are created out of a variety of materials, including graphite, titanium, fiberglass, and kevlar.
Pickleball balls look pretty different from tennis balls in that they are plastic. They are also perforated, allowing the ball to move slower through the air.
Tennis balls are extremely bouncy and are made out of rubber, and contain pressurized gas. The ‘bounciness’ of a ball is ideal so that the ball can travel around the large court.
Generally, it can be said that pickleball is quite a ‘noisy’ sport. This is down to the way the ball bounces off the paddle and the court.
When a tennis ball hits the racquet, it doesn’t sound so loud as they have a mesh, or wire, construction, unlike more solid pickleball paddles.
There are some key differences in the scoring system of pickleball and tennis. One major point is that pickleball must be served underarm, whereas tennis can be served underarm or overarm.
Pickleball is played up to 11 points, and tennis is the first to win two out of three sets. Looking at this, it is easy to see that pickleball is much easier to learn and get the hang of, whereas tennis rules are stricter, which, therefore, can be difficult for some to understand.
Both sports demand a basic level of fitness, especially if playing singles. Players must be able to move quickly around the court to hit the ball back to the opponent. As tennis courts are larger than pickleball courts, it is fair to say that tennis is possibly the more physically demanding of the two.
Related post: Pickleball Court Colors
The most obvious difference between pickleball and tennis courts is the size difference. For example, you can fit four pickleball courts inside one tennis court which is quite a difference!
While there are other differences between the two, it is fair to say that each one makes for a fun, enjoyable sport that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels.