Submitted by: Fort Wayne Pickleballer Josh Grubbs
When I was a kid growing up in the small town of Brookville Indiana, we had a group of kids that lived in our neighborhood that would get together every day during the summer and play some type of sport. It didn’t matter if it was baseball, football, soccer, or basketball. We just loved to play sports!
My parents had a small fenced in backyard which we made into our sporting arena. We would adjust the rules to accommodate each sport. For example for baseball, if you hit the ball over the fence on the fly it was an automatic out. This was to keep the games going so we weren’t constantly running through the gate to get homerun balls. What I am saying is that we made do with what we had.
The same can be said for pickleball. I have been playing pickleball now for five years and have played on all types of courts. “I don’t have a place to play” should never come out of anyone’s mouth. The different types of courts I have seen range from true regulation outdoor pickleball courts to a smaller version taped off in my garage.
If you have a descent sized flat area you can make a pickleball court. We have taped off courts in gyms; we have used tennis service boxes with the kitchen chalked off. In Terre Haute, Indiana they have transformed a couple tennis courts into six beautiful pickleball courts. Complete with plastic fencing around each court to keep the balls from rolling on to the next court. My favorite one of all though is taping off a mini court in my garage so we could work on our dinking before our next tournament. Anything to get a little more practice in!
Finding a spot to play can sometimes be the toughest part. But what if you don’t have all the equipment?
When my family started playing pickleball, the first nets we used were attached to two five gallon buckets filled with cement. We would roll them out onto the court and attach the net to some poles and off we would go. Now we have upgraded to the USAPA portable nets. (They are well worth the investment!) The easiest place to set up a court is on a tennis court and use the services boxes as your court. It is a little shorter and wider than a regulation pickleball court but it is better then nothing. Just lay a piece of string down for a kitchen (non-volley) line and get playing. A piece of chalk can provide that quick kitchen line too. A good way to adjust the nets since pickleball nets are 34 inches in the center and tennis are 36, is to fill up a couple gallon milk jugs and hang them on the tennis net to weigh it down with bungee straps.
No matter if you have professionally made pickleball courts or have to make your own, there shouldn’t be any excuses for not playing. Just use your imagination like you did when you were a kid! Pickleball Rocks!