When you’re planning to set up a space for a sport or athletic activity, knowing how much space you absolutely need for a proper set-up is important. For example – how much space would you need for a pickleball court?
A proper-sized pickleball court needs a minimum space of 30 feet wide by 60 feet long, if you want to have room for the court and the out-of-bounds area around it, though the actual dimensions of the court are somewhat smaller.
We’ll explore the exact dimensions of a pickleball court in detail.
What Are The Dimensions Of A Pickleball Court?
The full size of a standard pickleball court, the dimensions are as follows:
– 44 feet long from outside edge to outside edge
– 20 feet wide from outside edge to outside edge
– 36 inches from the floor to the top of the net on either end
– 34 to 36 inches from floor to the top of the net in the center.
These are the main dimensions that outline the standard pickleball court. Within the pickleball court are dimensions that outline the zones for the rules of playing.
What Are The Dimensions Of The Zones In A Pickleball Court?
Each half of the court measures 22 feet by 20 feet.
1. Non-Volley or Non-Service Zone:
– The first seven feet on either side of the net are known as the ‘No Volley’ or ‘No Service’ Zone.
This is an area you don’t want to serve the ball into, as it will result in a point for the other team.
2. Volley or Service Area:
– This is the 15 feet between the edge of the No Volley Zone and the outer edges of the court on either side.
– Depending on whether you are playing a game with 2 players or 4 players, determines how each Service Area is set up
– For 2 players, there will be a single 15 by 20 foot Service Area on either side of the net
– For 4 players. there will be 2 15 by 10 foot Service Areas on either side of the net. These will be designated the Left and Right Service Areas for either side.
3. Baselines andSidelines:
– The Sidelines are the lines marked on either edge of the 20 foot width.
– The Baselines are the lines marked on either edge of the 44 foot length.
– All Serves must be made from the Baseline.
– Service Areas are marked with a Centerline to separate the Right and Left Service Areas for Doubles play (Playing with 4 players total)
5. Other Dimensions:
Recommended dimensions that aren’t officially listed include the following:
– Line Width: Recommended at 2 Inches.
– Distance Between Sideline and Net Post: Recommended that Net Post should be 12 inches outside the Sideline
All of these dimensions are important, but there’s one more to consider when building your pickleball court: the Out-Of-Bounds Areas
How Much Room Do I Need For The Out-Of-Bounds Zones?
The zones around the court are necessary for determining when the ball goes out of bounds and earns a point, but there is no set size the out-of-bounds needs to be.
The recommended size to build a pickleball court, however, is about 30 feet by 60 feet.
With those dimensions, the recommended out-of-bounds is 5 feet outside each Sideline (30 feet – 20 feet / 2 sides)
The recommended out-of-bounds is 8 feet behind either Baseline (60 feet – 44 feet / 2 sides)
This is the recommended minimum, so that you have a clearly designated out-of-bounds.
What If I Have Limited Space?
If it’s too limited, you won’t have a proper pickleball court. On the other hand, you don’t have to have exactly 5 to 8 feet for the out-of-bounds zone.
The absolute minimum that is suggested out-of-bounds size for a pickleball court is 2 feet beyond either sideline, and 5 feet beyond either baseline.
The distance of 2 feet or more beyond the sidelines allows the ball to clearly pass beyond the edge of the net.
The distance beyond the baselines of 5 feet or more not only allows the ball to pass clearly out of bounds, it also gives the players room to serve the ball without getting injured.
Is It True That I Can Convert a Tennis Court or Badminton Court Into A Pickleball Court?
In theory, it is possible to convert another type of court into a pickleball court. But doing so requires knowing the dimensions of the other court in comparison to those of the pickleball court.
For example, the height of the net for a tennis court is closer to the height of a pickleball net, but the size of a badminton court in terms of length and width is generally closer to the dimensions of a pickleball court.
1. Converting a Singles Badminton Court:
A Singles Badminton court is a reasonable choice for converting to a pickleball court but you’ll need to add 1.5 feet to either side of the sidelines.
A Singles Badminton court – at least an officially sized one – is 17 feet wide from sideline to sideline and 44 feet long from baseline to baseline.
So the length of the court is the same, but the width will be a little small unless you have that extra space to add to the width.
The net will also have to be lowered, as the height for a badminton net is about 5 feet or so.
You’ll also need to mark out the different zones such as the No Volley Zone. This should be 6 inches beyond the line that Badminton marks for the ‘Short Service’ Line.
2. Converting a Doubles Badminton Court:
A Doubles Badminton Court is exactly the same size in both length and width as a pickleball court: 20 feet wide by 44 feet long. This makes it ideal for conversion into a pickleball court.
You’ll still need to lower the net from 5 feet to the appropriate height for pickleball.
You’ll also need to mark out the No Volley Zone, 6 inches past the distance for the Short Service Line on either side of the net.
3. Converting a Tennis Court:
Tennis courts, especially official tennis courts, are much larger than the typical pickleball court, and you’ll need to mark out all the lines to make a proper pickleball court.
The typical Tennis court is 78 feet long by 36 feet wide. That’s 16 feet wider than a pickleball court and 34 feet longer.
To get a proper pickleball court, you’ll need to mark out the appropriate marks within the Tennis court.
The Baselines should each be 14 feet closer to the net than the Tennis court baselines.
The Sidelines should each be 8 feet closer to the center line than the Tennis court sidelines.
Tennis courts don’t have a No Volley Zone, so you’ll need to mark that out, 7 feet on either side from the net.
Tennis court nets are closer to the ground, but you’ll still need to lower the net by about 6 inches to make it the height needed for a pickleball court.
Note: If you converted a tennis court into a pickleball court and used the original tennis court lines to build a wall or a fence, you’d have a good pickleball court with plenty of space for the out-of-bounds zone.
Are There Any Other Specifications I Need To Know About a Pickleball Court?
For an ideal pickleball court, you should have certain things, like the proper playing surface and a fence to protect any spectators from balls that fly out of bounds or bounce in unexpected directions.
The ideal fence to protect against stray balls should be about 9 to 10 feet high. While it’s unlikely that a ball will bounce that high, better safe than sorry.
2. Proper Playing Surface:
The proper playing surface should be smooth and relatively hard. The most common surfaces are concrete, for an outdoor court, or else a special acrylic coating or polyurethane.
Plain concrete can be used, but it should be smoothed out to be safe.
For an indoor court, wood is one of the usual surfaces, though the acrylic coating or polyurethane can also be used for an indoor court.
3. Marking The Lines:
For a temporary court, you can mark the lines in any fashion you like, as long as you make them thick enough to be clear. Something like colored tape is a good choice, or something easy to wash away, like sidewalk chalk.
For a more permanent court, paint is the best option. Mark out the lines of the court with something else, then paint over them.
The net should be large enough to extend a proper distance past the sidelines. It should be about 36 inches from the top to the base.
For outdoor courts, the net should be sturdy enough to withstand different types of weather, or easy to detach and take down after a game is finished.
For indoor courts, the net can be less durable, but it should still be somewhat sturdy so that it isn’t damaged by the ball.
5. Net Support Posts:
For outdoor courts, the posts should be securely set to the ground, and should be made of or coated with a substance that will not rust.
For indoor courts, the posts can be whatever you want, so long as they are sturdy enough and in a fixed enough position to keep the net from shifting when impacted by the ball.
For temporary courts, you can set posts into a moveable base that can be anchored under certain conditions, like an athletic stand base that can be filled with water or sand.
Does An Area Have to Fit All These Specifications To Play Pickleball?
For an official pickleball court, yes. But if you’re just playing a friendly game or some practice, then you don’t need to be as strict about setting up all the parameters and dimensions.
For example, if you wanted to set up a smaller space while you learned the rules, or a smaller court for young children to learn on, it’s still possible. Likewise, if you wanted a bigger court for a greater challenge, you could do that too.
The only real necessities are:
– A net of appropriate height.
– A clearly marked set of baselines with the net an equal distance from both
– A clearly marked set of sidelines, which are inside the poles or posts supporting the net.
– A clearly marked No Volley Zone, the same width on either side of the net
– A centerline if you’re playing doubles.
– Enough space to provide a distinct ‘Out of Bounds’ area.
As long as all these requirements are met, there’s nothing that says your pickleball court can’t be the size of a regular tennis court, or the size of a badminton singles court, or any other size you want to make it.
If you play on a non-regulation or non-standard court, you’ll have to adjust your play to reflect that, and adjust it again every time you switch courts. If you’re looking to play regularly, or professionally, then you’ll want to use a standard size court as much as possible.
Playing on a smaller court means you’ll have to watch your boundaries more carefully, while playing on a larger court means you’ll have to adjust your style to cover more area seems like playing an Olympic game.
A good standard pickleball court can be set up in any place with at least 24 feet by 54 feet of space, but your best option is one that’s about 30 feet by 60 feet, or greater.
If you’ve got the space and the appropriate materials, there’s nothing stopping you from building a perfectly good pickleball court in your own backyard, or any nearby and relatively flat area.
Just be sure to mark all your zones and distances appropriately, and set up your net in a stable area on flat ground. Then have fun, wherever and however you decide to play!
Tom is an accomplished writer, with years of experience producing buyer’s guides and tutorials for athletes online.
And it goes without saying – he’s sports-mad.