Just like any other sport out there, pickleball includes a number of rules, specifications and regulations just to make sure that the game is played safely and fairly.
Many of the specifications are in regard to the equipment used, including the size of the court played on.
If you’re thinking about building your own pickleball court, or just want to make sure the local court is the right size, you’re right where you should be!
Let’s take a dive into the basics of pickleball, the dimensions of the court and other regulations you may need to know before playing yourself.
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The Ins and Outs of Pickleball Basics
If you’re new to the concept of pickleball, then it’s important to know a few basics about the sport.
It’s a game much like tennis or badminton, but with its own unique flavor.
Played with a small wiffle-style ball and wooden paddles, this is a game that many can enjoy.
Like similar games, you can play with one or two people on each side.
The basic concept of the sport is to hit the ball back and forth over a net.
However, the playing space tends to be smaller than that in tennis.
The balls used are much lighter and it tends to be a more beginner-friendly option.
Pickleball Court Specifications
pickleball court game scheme. different perspective top, side, isometric view in flat line color. stock vector illustration
Knowing the dimensions of the court can be incredibly useful. You may just be curious, you may be planning to build your own court or you may want to double-check to make sure a nearby court is up to standards.
Not only does the overall court need to have the correct dimensions, but the areas within typically need the correct dimensions as well. That includes the no-volley zones, play zones and more.
Read Related Article: Is Pickleball An Olympic Sport?
Pickleball Court Dimensions
At the most basic level, it’s important to know that a standard pickleball court should be 44 feet long and 20 feet wide.
This allows for enough space to play, and it creates a court that can be divided into the different playing areas without cutting into the allotted space or making things too easy.
Furthermore, those areas within the court also need to be specific sizes. This includes spaces for doubles players, resulting in left and right service areas. Each of these areas should be 10 feet wide and 15 feet long.
This will represent the playing space that is in-bounds and allows volleys.
Crossing the very center of the space, you’ll find the net. On each side of the net, there is another measured space that is important to include in the court.
This is the no-volley zone, and it extends outward from the net for 7 feet on each side.
What About the Net?
When it comes to the net, the most important aspects are in regard to size and height.
The material that the net is made from isn’t incredibly important, as long as it’s a net designed for the right kind of court and comes in the correct width and length.
Because the net needs to be able to cover the width of the court, it needs to be a minimum of 20 feet long. Furthermore, the idea width should be at least 2 feet, just to make sure everything is in a standard setup.
What tends to be highly important is the height of the net you’re using. On each side, you should be able to measure the net at 36 inches from the ground. Meanwhile, the center should be 34 inches from the ground.
In order to make adjustments easier, you may opt to use a center strap as long as it isn’t getting in the way.
Using a Tennis Court
It’s not always easy to find an official pickleball court, but tennis courts are quite popular.
Often, when you visit a tennis court, you may find at least one court that includes the required boundaries for pickleball courts as well.
Generally, each tennis court with this addition will provide space for two pickleball courts as well.
Each smaller court can be found on its own side of the tennis net.
What you may need to keep in mind is that you may need to set up pickleball nets in these smaller courts before playing.
Building Your Own Pickleball Court
For those who really love pickleball, the local court may be farther away than you want to travel.
Or, you may just want to be able to play a game at a moment’s notice, in which case, you might choose to build your own pickleball court right in your own yard.
When you’re planning your court, don’t forget to make sure you have every aspect covered. This starts with the layout, which you may choose to have made from asphalt, concrete or even plastic.
On top of that, you’ll need to be able to lay out the boundary lines, which should be 2 inches in width, and in white paint only.
Furthermore, a decent fence is a good idea, as it keeps you from having to chase the ball too far.
You’ll also need poles in place for the net, which should rest outside the sidelines of the court.
Thinking About Other Pickleball Equipment
If you’re new to the sport and haven’t yet bought equipment, or aren’t sure if the equipment you have is up to standards, then it never hurts to know the specifications.
Below, you’ll find actual guidelines for your paddles, ball and even clothes. They are all useful for those who want to prepare for league games, tournaments, or who just want to make sure they’re playing the right way!
It never hurts to be fully prepared, just in case you decide you want to go beyond the casual games.
Paddles are another piece of equipment that are regulated for pickleball, though not quite as strictly as the court size overall.
For the most part, these paddles can be made from just about any material, assuming it’s one that is safe and abiding by the rules.
What is important is that the paddle cannot have any kind of ridging, such as indentations or holes.
It needs to be a flat surface with a smooth texture. This is to avoid an unfair ability to add spin to the ball when other players may not have the same level of ability.
You do have the freedom to dictate the weight of your paddle as well as the color, assuming any paint added allows it to continue to be smooth. It can also be as thick as you want, within reason.
Additionally, there is a limit of 17 inches on the length of the paddle.
Much like the paddle, the pickleball itself also needs to be smooth. It cannot have any additional textures, just to maintain the standards of the game.
Additionally, pickleballs typically have holes in them, and these holes are limited to a range of 26 to 40 in total.
When it comes to the color of the ball, there isn’t a lot in the vein of which specific colors they can be, just that they do need to be one single color overall.
That doesn’t include things like small marks that exist for the purposes of identification.
The majority of specifications for pickleballs lie within the weight and measurement. When it comes to weight, the ball needs to be in the range of .78 and .935 ounces. Furthermore, the diameter needs to rest between 2.874 and 2.972 inches.
It should also have a bounce only between 30 to 34 inches.
There aren’t too many rules you need to worry about with regard to clothing. For the most part, clothing used should be for the purposes of staying safe and comfortable.
As long as the clothing is appropriate, there are few actual specifications.
However, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind when dressing to play pickleball.
To begin with, consider where you’re playing. If it’s outside, you’ll want to make sure your clothing suits the weather, but also keep in mind that you’ll be moving around as well.
Wearing shoes that are designed for in-court use is a good idea, as not all sneakers will have a design that can handle frequent side-to-side motions.
You may also want eye protection, SPF protection and a jacket, hat or sweatband to keep sunlight and sweat out of your eyes.
While the regulations in pickleball may seem complicated, it’s worth keeping in mind that the USAPA website includes lists of things like paddles and balls that are approved.
When it comes to those pieces of equipment, you can choose anything on the list and know you’re abiding by the rules.
Furthermore, most pre-made courts are also up to pickleball standards. It never hurts to verify, but you can rest assured that typically these areas are measured out during painting.
Meanwhile, if you’re building your own court, then make sure you have everything you need to get going.