Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America. It currently boasts 4.8 million players, double its numbers from five years ago. But pickleball’s skyrocketing popularity and demand have rapidly outpaced the availability of dedicated pickleball court space, leaving cities and business owners scrambling to find creative ways to provide more space for eager pickleball players. That’s why some sports club, rec centers, and hotel chains have started turning some of their tennis courts into pickleball courts. If you’re looking to meet the growing demand for more pickleball court spaces, scroll down to learn how to convert a tennis court into a pickleball court.
Why Is Pickleball So Popular?
Pickleball isn’t new: the memorably-named paddle sport has had a devoted base of players since its 1965 invention in Washington State. The three dads who invented pickleball envisioned it as a game that would be something of a cross between tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It’s played using a rectangular wooden paddle and a plastic ball similar to a whiffle ball.
One of the elements that has fueled pickleball’s growth and widespread popularity is its accessibility. With its small courts, gentle learning curve, and relative ease of play, it’s able to be enjoyed by men and women across age groups, income brackets, and skill levels. While about a third of pickleball players are under the age of 25, 17 percent are over the age of 65, and the 65+ age bracket boasts the most consistent pickleball players.
The Rise in Pickleball
While pickleball has had its devotees since its invention, its explosive growth has largely been within the last several years. It had been growing steadily before the pandemic, with its player base growing by an average of 7.2 percent a year: from 2.8 million players in 2016 to 3.5 million in 2019. But the sport took off during the pandemic, with the number of pickleball players skyrocketing to 4.8 million (with 39.3 percent growth between 2020-21). That growth is expected to continue, as experts predict the number of pickleball players will reach 40 million by 2030.
As pickleball continues to skyrocket, there’s been a struggle to meet the demand for playing spaces, with long lines and wait lists for court time at rec centers. Municipalities, sports clubs, hotel chains, and more are scrambling to provide more court space, in part by converting tennis courts to pickleball courts.
How to Convert a Tennis Court into a Pickleball Court
A standard tennis court can be converted into one, two, or four pickleball courts. Tennis nets can be used for pickleball, provided that they can be lowered to pickleball height. Otherwise, tennis nets should be removed and replaced with pickleball nets. (If you convert one tennis court into two or four pickleball nets, you’ll need new nets and posts anyway.) A pickleball net should be 34 inches tall at the center, and 36 inches tall at the posts, which is a few inches shorter than a regulation tennis net.
You’ll also need to add pickleball boundary and service lines to ensure that the pickleball court is regulation size. The International Pickleball Federation guidelines state that for singles play, the pickleball court should be 20 feet wide by 44 feet long; for doubles play, the court is 30 feet wide by 64 feet long. The service line should be seven feet from the net, divided into left and right service boxes. Lines also denote the non-volley zone (also known as the “kitchen”), the seven-foot deep area between the net and the service line that stretches the width of the court.
If your business is interested in how to convert a tennis court into a pickleball court, remember that you aren’t limited to one sport. A regulation-size tennis court can be permanently converted into one, two, or four pickleball courts, but our team of experts at New England Courts can also help you convert a tennis court into a multi-sport, multi-use surface that can be used not only for pickleball but for whatever other sport your team can dream up.
Whether you’re looking for a pickleball court or a multi-sport court, the knowledgeable team at New England Courts can help bring your vision to reality with custom designs suited to your needs. We can also assist with installation and financing options. When you’re ready to learn more about the process, contact us by calling 866-928-3047 or sending us a message online. You may also wish to explore the court accessories we have available for pickleball courts and our tips for building a game court.