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How to play pickleball on a tennis court

pickleball on a tennis court

How to play pickleball on a tennis court

Pickleball is a fun sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It can be played as doubles or singles. The game is played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net. Pickleball paddles and plastic balls are used along with the court. While pickleball courts are usually designed specifically for the sport, you can convert a tennis court to accommodate pickleball with a few adjustments. Here is a guide on how to set up pickleball on a tennis court for beginners.

The first step is setting up the net to the correct pickleball height. Regulation pickleball nets are 36 inches high at the sidelines and 34 inches in the center. Tennis nets are higher at 42 inches. To convert a tennis net:

Use a portable pickleball net system designed to fit over a tennis net. This allows you to quickly install and remove the net. These portable systems attach to the tennis net cables and lower the net to the proper pickleball height. They are easy to set up for beginners learning how to play pickleball on a tennis court.

For a semi-permanent solution, attach pickleball net height extensions. These clip or tie onto the tennis net cables to lower the height. This is an easy way to play pickleball on a tennis court without making permanent changes. The extensions can be removed when you want to switch back to tennis.

If you want a permanent pickleball net at the tennis court, install a second dedicated pickleball net at the proper height alongside the tennis net. This allows you to keep a regulated tennis net while adding a permanent net for pickleball. It also lets you play both sports on the same court.

Marking the Court

Once you have the net height adjusted, mark the pickleball court lines on the tennis court. There are a few options for lining the court:

Use painter’s tape to create temporary pickleball lines. Make sure the tape stays secured to the court surface. Tape allows you to quickly set up pickleball courts for a casual game or practice without permanently altering the tennis court.

Utilize a chalk line machine to chalk the pickleball lines onto the tennis court. Re-apply as needed. Chalking the lines is great for beginners learning how to play pickleball on a tennis court since the lines wash away after use.

For a permanent court, paint pickleball lines in a different color than the tennis court. Use outdoor court paint for durability. Painting permanent pickleball lines is ideal if you plan to play regularly. The different color helps distinguish the pickleball boundaries.

A regulation pickleball court is 20 feet wide by 44 feet long. On a tennis court, you can fit 2 or 4 pickleball courts. Mark the court boundaries and center line based on the number of courts needed. Typically 4 pickleball courts fit on one tennis court. This allows for singles or doubles play. Marking 2 courts is better for more casual pickleball play. Refer to pickleball court diagrams for lining guidance.

Learning the Rules

The basic pickleball rules are like a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Here are some key rules to learn as a beginner:

  • Serve underhand starting on the right side. The serve must be made diagonally cross-court.
  • Only the serving team can score points. They score when the opposing team fails to return the ball.
  • Games are played to 11 points, but you must win by 2.
  • The ball must bounce once on each side before volleys are allowed.
  • The non-volley zone extends 7 feet from the net on each side. No volleys are permitted in this zone.
  • Double bounce rule – Each team must bounce the ball once before returning. Failure to do so results in a fault.

Knowing the basics will help you get started playing pickleball on a converted tennis court. As you play more, you’ll get the hang of rules and strategies.

Equipment Needed

To play pickleball on a tennis court, you will need:

  • Portable pickleball net – Either one that fits over the tennis net or a separate net for pickleball.
  • Paddles – Pickleball-specific paddles with larger surface areas than tennis racquets.
  • Balls – Pickleballs have holes like a wiffle ball and are slightly smaller than tennis balls.
  • Court shoes – Tennis shoes or court shoes work well. The soles should allow for quick starts and stops.
  • Court marking tools – Painter’s tape, chalk, or court paint to mark boundaries.

That covers the basics of setting up pickleball courts on an existing tennis court. With a few modifications, you can convert most tennis courts to allow for exciting games of pickleball. So grab your paddle and start playing this fun sport.


While you can convert most tennis courts, it’s essential to check if the facility allows pickleball play.

Pickleball has a smaller court, and the game dynamics are somewhat different. It’s generally easier for beginners.

Comfortable tennis or court shoes will work well for playing pickleball on a tennis court.

Yes, you can play singles or doubles pickleball on a converted tennis court.

While it’s possible, it’s best to use pickleballs to maintain the integrity of the game.

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