Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in America. This paddle sport combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong into a fun game for all ages and abilities. As pickleball’s popularity explodes, players are getting creative about where they can set up courts. One common question is: can you play pickleball on a volleyball court?
- Overview: Pickleball On Volleyball Courts
- Why Volleyball Courts Work
- Equipment & Adjustments Needed
- Setting Up Pickleball Courts on Volleyball Courts
- Permanent Court Considerations
- Playing Doubles on One Volleyball Court
- Key Considerations for Play
- Why Not Tennis Courts?
- Primary Benefit: More Places to Play!
Overview: Pickleball On Volleyball Courts
The short answer is yes, you can play pickleball on a volleyball court with some simple equipment and court adjustments. Volleyball courts provide an existing space with dimensions that allow for pickleball courts to be set up. However, there are important factors to consider.
- Volleyball courts are ideal for temporary pickleball setups. The space and surfacing already exist.
- However, the net height, court lines, and court boundaries need adjustment for pickleball.
- Equipment like portable nets, court boundary markers, and line tape are needed to transform a volleyball court.
- Permanent pickleball courts should be specially surfaced for the sport. Volleyball courts work for casual play.
By addressing equipment needs and court dimensions, volleyball courts can be converted to fun and functional pickleball spaces. Keep reading for more details!
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Why Volleyball Courts Work
Volleyball courts are suitable spaces for pickleball for a few key reasons:
Similarities in Court Dimensions
A volleyball court measures 60 feet wide by 30 feet long. This is close to the ideal dimensions for a pickleball court at 60 feet long by 20 feet wide (for doubles play). The extra 10 feet of volleyball court width allows space for “runoff” on the sides.
Volleyball courts are typically surfaced with materials like asphalt, concrete, or sport court tiles. These provide a flat, consistent base that is ideal for pickleball’s fast pace of play. The surfacing stands up well to active play.
Readily Available Space
There are over 13,000 indoor volleyball courts in schools and recreation centers across the United States. Outdoor volleyball courts are also common in parks, schools, and backyards. Taking advantage of existing courts is a great way to find pickleball play spaces.
Courts Designed for Active Play
Quality volleyball courts are designed specifically for active athletics. The surfacing, markings, and space are optimized for quick play and dynamic movement, which also suits pickleball very well.
Equipment & Adjustments Needed
While volleyball courts provide an excellent starting point, some equipment and adaptations need to be made to transform the space into regulation pickleball courts. Here are the key considerations:
Portable Pickleball Net System
Volleyball nets are too high for pickleball. They also lack the tautness needed for accurate ball bounce. A portable pickleball net system should be installed in the volleyball court instead. High quality portable nets adjust from 34″ at the sidelines to 36″ in the center to create the proper net shape.
Pickleball court lines include baselines, side lines, non-volley zones, and centerlines. These can be temporarily marked using line tape or chalk. For frequent use, consider painting permanent pickleball lines in a different color than volleyball court lines.
Temporary barriers like cones may be needed to mark pickleball’s smaller boundaries on a volleyball court. Nets or fencing can also be installed. For casual play, boundaries can be roughly marked with chalk or tape.
Lowering The Net
As mentioned, volleyball net heights of 7’4″ for women and 7’11” for men are too high for pickleball. Adjustable portable nets make it easy to lower the net to pickleball’s 3′ height at center.
Volleyball courts with major cracks, gaps, or uneven spots can create safety hazards and ball bounce issues. Any major surface problems should be repaired before playing pickleball.
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Setting Up Pickleball Courts on Volleyball Courts
Once you have the right equipment, setting up pickleball courts on an existing volleyball court is straightforward:
- Install portable pickleball net at proper height. Adjustable systems make this easy.
- Use tape or chalk to mark pickleball baselines (20′ from net) and side lines (27′ apart).
- Mark non-volley zones 7′ back from net.
- Mark centerline under net.
- Set up temporary barriers on sides if needed. Cones work well.
- Do a safety check for any court surface issues. Make minor repairs if needed.
- You’re ready to play pickleball on your modified volleyball court!
This simple court conversion setup is great for introductory play, PE classes, camps, or casual community play. Permanent court markings and surfacing take things to the next level.
Permanent Court Considerations
For frequent pickleball play, investing in permanent modifications makes the experience even better:
Permanent Line Markings
Painting dedicated pickleball lines in a different color than volleyball lines defines the space best. Multi-use tape can also be applied permanently.
Quality outdoor acrylic surfacing or indoor sport court tiles create the ideal pickleball playing experience. But volleyball courts work well too.
Installing sideline fencing or barriers helps contain stray balls and define the space. Windscreens also enhance play.
Permanent pickleball nets built into the court don’t need to be set up or taken down. They also provide stable, consistent ball response.
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Playing Doubles on One Volleyball Court
Doubles pickleball is played on a 20′ x 44′ court – slightly smaller than a volleyball court’s 30′ x 60′ dimensions. This allows two regulation-sized pickleball courts to be lined on a single volleyball court!
Some strategies for fitting 2 courts:
- Rotate the pickleball courts diagonally by 45 degrees. This helps maximize the space.
- Use portable nets and court barriers to divide diagonally.
- Adjust spacing between courts if needed based on available space.
- Mark court lines using tape or chalk and cones for boundaries.
With these simple modifications, a single volleyball court can facilitate exciting round-robin doubles pickleball play!
Key Considerations for Play
Pickleball on a converted volleyball court is certainly possible, but introduces some unique considerations:
Adjusting to Court Size Differences
The longer and wider volleyball court takes some adjustment from typical pickleball court dimensions. Allow extra time to get used to the modified play space.
Wider courts may require some strategy adjustments like more cross-court play. The extra room also affects positioning and coverage.
Balls traveling out-of-bounds have farther to go on a volleyball court. Adding side barriers helps manage the longer court.
Communication About Lines
With temporary lines, it’s important to communicate clearly with opponents when a ball is called in or out. Expect some close calls.
Playing Surface Consistency
Volleyball courts are rarely surfaced specifically for pickleball. The pace and ball bounce may be less consistent than on a purpose-built court.
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Why Not Tennis Courts?
Tennis courts are another common multi-use surface. So why are volleyball courts preferable for pickleball? There are a few key factors:
Tennis Courts Are Too Long
At 120′ long, a tennis court is over twice as long as a 44′ pickleball court. This makes ball containment difficult without major modifications.
Lines Are More Complex
Tennis court lines crisscrossing the playing area get confusing when trying to also fit in pickleball court boundaries.
Fewer Tennis Courts Available
There are over 4 times more volleyball courts at schools and rec centers than tennis courts. Volleyball courts are more readily available.
Many tennis courts have significant slope from baseline to net. This affects pickleball ball bounce. Volleyball courts provide more consistent planarity.
For these reasons, volleyball courts make for a better solution, especially for temporary or casual pickleball play.
Primary Benefit: More Places to Play!
The biggest advantage of using volleyball courts for pickleball is that it immediately expands the number of venues where the sport can happen. Schools, rec centers, parks, apartments, and communities with existing volleyball facilities can use them for exciting pickleball play.
Pickleball lines taped onto a volleyball court create an instant, functional pickleball space to introduce new players to the sport. As interest and participation grow, investments can be made into permanent court surfacing, nets, and markings to optimize the experience. But starting small and low-cost on volleyball courts is a great way to spread this fun, active game.
The ability to transform the 13,000+ volleyball courts across the country into pickleball venues helps pickleball continue its incredible growth. More courts and more players!
So don’t be afraid to line up some pickleball on your local volleyball court. With a few easy equipment adjustments and boundary markings, the volleyball court can become an ideal temporary home for all the action and energy of a pickleball game. Grab your paddle and give it a try!