The word is out and pickleball courts are popping up everywhere. Parks departments are building pickleball courts. Towns and cities are building pickleball courts. County’s are building pickleball courts. Yes, the word is out that having pickleball courts can be a boost to the local economy, and can do wonders in pulling communities together socially. But be careful.
Consider this as a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.
Let us start by saying that In our opinion, any pickleball court is a good pickleball court. Give me a piece of chalk and some portable nets and we’ll have some fun. That is what is making pickleball grow so fast. But many communities are spending the money to build pickleball courts and some do a great job, and some…..not so much. We’ve seen the best and the worst of pickleball court planning.
Happened to recently catch a new court layout (location will remain unnamed here) where they had a nice distance between the courts, but decided to place a light pole between two of the courts, positioned about half way between the non-volley lines and the baselines. Guess they wanted good lighting, but OUCH when players start running into that misplaced pole.
Almost as bad is the court layout that leaves so little room between the baseline and the back fence or wall, that you can’t take a good back swing to serve, let alone running down a lob that was carefully placed over your head. I’m sure many of us have bruises to show from that lack of court planning.
So this PSA is to help you help those who are building the courts and complexes across the country. There are a lot of things to consider when you build pickleball courts. So the best thing you can do is educate those builders before they build something they will regret later.
So if you are laying out a new pickleball court complex, what kinda things should be considered?
1) Think seriously about the number of courts you’ll need.
Are you building courts to simply accommodate the number of players who currently play in your area. This is the most common mistake made by communities. Keep in mind that the sport of pickleball is without question, the fastest growing sport in the country and on track to continue its growth path for years. So plan ahead now. Otherwise you will have a logjam of disgruntled players very soon, and your growth will stop.
2) Plan adequate space for your courts.
This is the second biggest mistake made by pickleball court planners. Everyone of course wants to squeeze in as many courts as they can in their available space. But if you squeeze too much and leave too little room between your courts or beyond the baselines, you will create permanent problems, including creating injuries from running into fences or even a player from an adjacent court.
The USAPA provides the following minimal guidelines for each court:
A total playing area 30 feet wide (9.14 m) and 60 feet long (18.28 m) is the minimum size that is recommended. A total size of 34 feet by 64 feet is preferred.
3) Plan proper access to your courts.
We see so many pickleball venues that have lots of beautiful courts, but no easy way to enter into the courts. This causes continuous interruption of play. In placing your gate access to the courts, a good rule of thumb is to position your gates in such a way that a player never has to cross more than one court to arrive at the court they are going to play on.
4) Plan your court useage. It’s one thing to build a pickleball complex for recreation only play. But quite different if you are planing to hold tournament play at your venue. The idea behind holding a tournament is to give a very unique feel for your registered players that is quite different from just playing socially on their home courts. Otherwise they might as well stay home and play. If you intend to hold tournaments at your new complex, then plan ahead for having a designated area for some vendors. That area should be in the high traffic area where the players will hang out between matches. You will need an area for a hospitality tent for your players. You will need an area for your referees and volunteers to hang out and rest between matches or between duties. And you will need an area for your tournament operations desk. What else might you use your courts for? Plan accordingly, otherwise you potentially shut the door on those additional opportunities to utilize your courts.
The video below was shot recently in Griffin, Georgia where Spalding County has built as close to a perfect pickleball complex as we’ve seen. They have thought of, and covered so many issues which make for a great pickleball venue. Do you have to incorporate all their ideas? Of course not. But our hope is that this video will help stimulate thoughts and ideas for your next pickleball courts.
Watch This Video For Great Pickleball Court Layout Ideas
So there are a lot of things to consider as you plan that next great pickleball facility. But it is certainly worth the time it takes to figure it out now rather than later. The results undoubtedly will show up as increased growth.
Put in the planning time now and you’ll be very happy you did.
Keep up the great work everybody. Pickleball Rocks because of you.
Rocket, Stephanie, Jason, Wyatt, Josh, Zack Cam, LeEllen and Abby
The Pickleball Rocks Team