Does pickleball damage tennis courts: real reasons behind the issue

Taking up a new sport is an exhilarating experience, especially if you love challenges and strive for new accomplishments. One of the current trends is a pickleball game: an exciting synergy of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. Spotting a 20% growth in just one year (2019) with the number of acolytes exceeding 4 MM resembles an invasion.

As with any fast-growing sport or game, the infrastructure is not catching up fast enough. The result: pickleball courts are few and far between. The enthusiastic pickleball players find ways to play their favorite sport and do it on a local tennis court. Hence the question: does pickleball damage tennis courts?

As we love watching trends in sports and honestly are charmed by pickleball, we got the answer for you.

Long story short, the answer is no. By and large, playing pickleball is not harmful to tennis courts. However, tennis and pickleball are different games with different rules, so it’s not as simple.

Let’s take a closer look at the issue.

does pickleball damage tennis courts

Is damage inevitable?

If you play tennis on a golf court instead of a tennis court, it will surely be damaging. But is it true for pickleball, though? Let’s look at all the areas that can be potentially harmed by playing pickleball.

Court surface

For most tennis tournaments, including the Grand Slam, hard courts are used. Only Wimbledon boasts a grass court. One more option for the court surface — clay.

But the hard court is the most common one, with its concrete floor covered with acrylic resins, which feature shock-absorbing qualities.

Fortunately for the pickleball players, such a surface suits them perfectly, according to Racket Sports World. A similar cover is used on pickleball courts. Hence, the conclusion: if both have basically identical surfaces, why should it be damaging to play pickleball on a tennis court? — It shouldn’t.

The ball

A tennis ball and a pickleball ball are indeed different. The ball used for playing pickleball is a light plastic ball with holes (usually 40 holes in total) weighing 0.9 ounces. As for the tennis balls, they are much heavier (about 2 ounces) and fuzzy. So, if a heavier ball doesn’t damage tennis courts, why would a lighter one do? — It wouldn’t.


As pickleball courts are substantially smaller (you can actually fit two pickleball courts in one tennis court, and for some tournaments, four pickleball courts have been accommodated into the space), and the rules are different, the pickleball lines don’t coincide with tennis court lines.

Being a game that has been gaining popularity really fast, paintball court construction hasn’t been quick enough. Hence, tennis courts were rented for pickleball tournaments and practice.

Painting pickleball lines is usually out of the question — too permanent, so the players use temporary marking tools like chalk or adhesive tapes to draw pickleball lines. And there were cases when adhesives damaged tennis courts, but it’s a rare occasion and isn’t supposed to happen if the tapes to create pickleball lines are used correctly.

Of course, such a problem does not exist on a specially designed court.

You can permanently paint pickleball lines and won’t have to clean up after yourself.

As you can see, playing pickleball on a tennis court is a reasonable solution until enough specialized facilities are built.

Where can you play pickleball?

The most obvious answer is: at the permanent pickleball court. And it is, of course, the best solution. The size of the pickleball court will be appropriate. The pickleball net will be set to a proper height, and the lines and the “kitchen” will all be marked as required.

However, if the pickleball court hasn’t been built yet, pickleball players should have a chance to practice. So there are two other alternatives, and one of them is, obviously, a tennis court. As we’ve already seen, it’s hard to damage tennis courts with pickleball, but how do you play on the court of another game?

In short, pickleball is badminton, ping-pong, and tennis blended together to create an exciting, fast-paced game. Like with all the above-mentioned games, pickleball can be played by singles or pairs of athletes.

A tennis court and a pickleball court are not the same. First and foremost, it’s the size. A tennis court is substantially larger (78′x27′). A pickleball court is both narrower and shorter (44′x20′). But that means that more than one pickleball court can fit in a tennis court.

How many pickleball courts fit in one tennis court? At least two, but even more are possible. That makes using a tennis court for playing pickleball really advantageous.

Apart from the size, there are other aspects where a tennis court is different. It’s the net or its height, to be precise. The tennis net is positioned at 42″ on the sides, but the net used in pickleball is hung lower — at 36″.

However, the discrepancy isn’t dramatic and can be adjusted temporarily to suit the needs of the athletes playing pickleball on a tennis court.

Another opportunity for the pickleball players to practice and compete is using a badminton court (it’s a blending, remember?). Sizewise, a badminton court’s length, and width are comparable to the tennis court, so that should work.

At the same time, the net is hanging much higher in badminton, so the adjustment will be necessary here as well. Otherwise, a badminton court is suitable if you can’t find a pickleball court.

Reason for choosing a tennis court

So why do folks choose these particular courts to play pickleball? The reason is simple: there are more tennis courts than badminton courts or pickleball courts. Tennis has been popularized for multiple decades, the game being promoted as sophisticated, smart, and beautiful, which is all true, by the way.

And the promotion campaigns resulted in multiple fantastic well-equipped tennis courts and millions of tennis players committed to the amazing game. Pickleball or badminton didn’t get much publicity, so there are many more tennis courts available.

The real issue

And we come to the core of the onion a.k.a. why the question of pickleball damaging tennis courts arises.

It’s all about availability. When folks play pickleball on a tennis court, they take the time from tennis players. Both tennis and pickleball players want to practice and compete, and the time isn’t limitless. Transforming the tennis court into a pickleball court takes time, too.

Lowering the tennis net, drawing pickleball court lines, and then going through a reverse process… all of that is time-consuming, and the players at the local tennis courts sometimes complain. That’s how all the talks about the damage started at public or private courts.

People just love playing tennis and want to continue doing it as often as before.

So what’s the solution? Maybe to remember that we’re living in a community and should respect and help each other. Let’s share some of the resources until enough pickleball courts are built, as any good deed is rewarded.

Final thoughts

So, does pickleball damage tennis courts? — Why would it? The two games have a lot in common, and a tennis court has comparable kinds of surfaces. The only potential hazard is making permanent pickleball lines instead of temporary ones, but they can be easily avoided.

If you are inclined to take up pickleball and play this highly competitive and fast-paced game, and you can’t find pickleball courts in the area, try a tennis court, and maybe they have time allocated to pickleball.

Frequently asked questions

Is pickleball bad for your tennis game?

No, it isn’t. And pickleball is less traumatic than tennis. Although pickleball gives intense cardio training, it’s less exhausting than tennis due to a smaller court size compared to a tennis court. It won’t improve your tennis skill either, but it could be fun to try something different for a change, especially if you have pushed your body too hard playing tennis.

Can you play pickleball on a regular tennis court?

Yes, you can, but you have to make some adjustments like the height of the net. The lines differ as well, so you’ll have to draw temporary lines for pickleball.

Does pickleball use the same court as tennis?

The pickleball court size is substantially smaller, but tennis courts are sometimes used to play pickleball after certain adjustments are made (lowering the net and drawing the lines).

Is pickleball louder than tennis?

Due to the higher pitch of the pickleball strike, the sound seems louder in pickleball.

Is pickleball easier on joints than tennis?

The pickleball court is significantly smaller than the tennis court, so the players don’t have to run as far. Thus, their knees as well as other joints are impacted less. The paddle is lighter than the racket, so the player’s arm is affected less, too.

Are pickle ball and wiffle ball the same?

No, though it’s a common error. A wiffle ball is heavier. Besides, a wiffle ball has more holes. A pickle ball unlike a wiffle ball is specifically made to be struck by a paddle.

Orson Carte

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