Do you know the origins of Pickleball? In 1965, Washington Congressman Joel Pritchard and his entrepreneurial friend Bill Bell picked up ping pong paddles and a wiffle ball to play around on an old badminton court. From there, pickleball (getting its name from Pritchard’s dog, Pickle) was born.
More frequently, a walk through the park reveals a pickleball court in lieu of a tennis court behind the chainlink fence. What are the differences when you compare a tennis court vs. pickleball court? This helpful post will discuss the difference between the two courts.
Set down your paddles and read on!
Tennis Court Guide
The first major difference between the playing areas is the size they cover. Tennis court size is larger than pickleball courts. The playable space depends on whether the game is singles or doubles. The length of a tennis court comes in at 78 feet and stays the same regardless of the number of players in the game.
The width of the court is smaller for singles (27 feet) and wider for doubles (36 feet). The serve line sits 21 feet away from the net. A middle line separates the area between the service line and the net into two sides.
The net spans the width of the court and stands at 42 inches high on the sides and 36 inches in the middle.
Pickleball Court Guide
Unlike tennis, the pickleball court size stays the same whether the match is singles or doubles. The length (44 feet) is a bit over half of the length of the tennis court. The width of the pickleball court (20 feet) is just shy of the distance of the serve line on a tennis court.
Pickleball courts have a shorter net as well. The net is 36 inches at the posts and 34 inches in the center.
There are non-volley zones on both sides of the net. This non-volley zone (AKA “the kitchen”) starts at the net and extends back 7 feet. The end of the non-volley zone is 15 feet from the baseline of the court.
Playing Pickleball on a Tennis Court
Before you pick up the sport, you may wonder what is pickleball? After you’ve learned, you’ll probably want to give it a try.
What if your local park only has a tennis court, can you play pickleball on the tennis court? Yes, you can. But, you have to make some creative adjustments.
Bring a few cones to the park with you (water bottles or sweaters also work in a pinch). The length of the service area on a tennis court is 42 feet and the length of the pickleball court is 44 feet. The service line will act as your approximate baseline.
The width of the singles line is 7 feet wider than the width of the pickleball court. Using your makeshift markers, go in about 3.5 feet on each side of the singles line and mark your edge line.
Finally, mark your kitchen. Walk about 7 feet from the net on each side to mark your no-volley zone.
That’s the Tennis Court vs. Pickleball Court Breakdown
Now you understand how the dimensions stack up on a tennis court vs. pickleball court. Grab your gear and get playing!
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