Building a pickleball court is a challenging but ultimately rewarding task that can take your enjoyment of the sport to the next level. As the fastest-growing sport in the United States, new pickleball courts are needed all the time. Check out the tips below for some advice on DIY pickleball court construction.
Measure the space you have to work with
The first consideration for anyone looking to create a new sports court is space. Before you begin construction, think about where your court is going to be placed.
Do you have an existing court, such as a tennis court, that can be adapted for playing pickleball? If so, that can make your life a lot easier.
Either way, you’ll need a good understanding of the pickleball court dimensions. Though the actual playing area of a pickleball court is 20′ x 44′, the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) guidelines state that the minimum playing surface is 30 feet by 60 feet. However, their recommended playing size is 34 by 64 feet.
This means you’ll need a total area of 2176 square feet for every pickleball court you are looking to create.
That brings us to the second consideration for DIY pickleball court creators: how many courts are you looking to build? If the answer is more than one, such as for anyone building courts at a recreation center. you’ll want adequate space between the courts. This raises the amount of square feet you’ll need per court, so it’s something to keep in mind.
The recommended surface for a new indoor or outdoor pickleball court is asphalt or concrete. Both offer a flat, solid surface that provides consistent ball bounce and requires minimal upkeep or resurfacing when well-constructed.
Pickleball court surface coating is the material that is laid over concrete or asphalt to create the playing surface. The best option is 100% acrylic surface coating. According to the USAPA, this is because they are ‘breathable and allow some vapor transmission.’
If you’re creating a temporary court, perhaps on top of an already lain concrete or asphalt patch, Mateflex offer snap-together tiles that can be used to create courts.
Create Your Pickleball Court Layout
Once your dimensions are settled and you have a good idea of the positioning of your new pickleball court, it’s time to think about the court layout.
The USAPA recommends that your pickleball court runs North-South rather than East-West. This is to prevent one pickleball player or team from constantly looking into the sun.
Next, you need to think about the painting of your lines. The court lines should obey the following dimensions:
- Each sideline should be 44 feet long, 22 feet on either side of the net.
- The baselines should be 20 feet wide, split down the middle by the centerline: 10 feet in width for the right and left service area.
- The non-volley line, which differentiates the non-volley zone from the service areas, should be positioned seven feet from the net.
In terms of colors, you want to ensure a strong contrast between your lines and your surface color, with most pickleball courts having white lines. Apart from that, any surface color will do. Be aware that darker colors retain heat more, creating a warmer playing surface. This can be a benefit for melting snow or frost, but can cause problems in hotter climates.
Add lighting and fencing
Lighting and fencing can be an expensive addition to a pickleball court, but are essential for ensuring safety and playability all year round.
The USAPA recommends chain link fencing, ensuring that any gaps in the fence are small enough to prevent a pickleball from passing through (they recommend 45mm or 55mm links).
In terms of height, the following dimensions are recommended:
- A minimum height of 10 feet for backstops. If another person’s property is behind the court, or a place where balls will be lost, higher fences are recommended.
- Side fences should be at least three feet tall, but should maintain the height of the backstop fence for at least 20-30 feet.
Lighting is another consideration. Though not necessary for a DIY pickleball court, depending on where you live, a lack of lighting could make your court only playable at certain points of the year.
Pickleball court lighting is complex and needs careful research. Here are some basic considerations to set you on your way:
- Wiring should be underground
- Light needs to be spread uniformly throughout the pickleball court to avoid dark spots
- Light poles should be five feet from the sidelines, and should be padded if they are within the fenced area.
- Lighting should be positioned downward directly onto the court, but arranged to minimise the chance of players looking into the bulbs.
Choose a pickleball net
The final stage of creating your DIY pickleball court is setting up your net. Nets can either sit flush to the floor or be lifted a couple of inches off the playing surface. Either is acceptable.
Net posts can be permanent or portable. There are many options for portable nets that can be stored and put away between games.
Permanent nets are more expensive, but will reduce the hassle each time you wish to play. If your pickleball matches are sporadic, a temporary net might be a better solution.
Put it all together
Once you’ve thought about all of these considerations, you’re ready to start building! Unless you have experience with construction or DIY projects, you might think about hiring a professional contractor to help you.
USAPA recommends SportMaster Sport Surfaces, who are the official court surface partner of the USA Pickleball Association.
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