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Chalk It Up: How to Mark Courts for Pickleball

As pickleball explodes across the country and around the world, players are finding new and creative places to play. In cooler climates, players are utilizing basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts—lining them for pickleball. In warmer climates, outdoor basketball and tennis courts are being lined or re-purposed for pickleball.

One of the most common questions we’re asked is, “How many pickleball courts can fit onto a standard basketball or tennis court?” The answer depends on how much space you want to have between courts—for a waiting area or a shaded rest space for players—or how intrusive you want pickleball lines to be on multi-purpose courts.

 

Lining multi-purpose courts for pickleball

Keep in mind that more pickleball courts equal more lines. On a standard tennis court, two pickleball courts can easily be added without greatly interfering with the line structure of the tennis court [Diagram #1]. It’s possible to have as many as four pickleball courts on a tennis court, however, the space will be packed with minimal room between courts [Diagram #2].

Tennis courts often come in pairs, so we’ve included the optimal layout using a (6) pickleball to (2) tennis court lining [Diagram #3].

  

Repurposing tennis courts—lining courts specifically dedicated to pickleball

While a standard two-court tennis facility can accommodate up to eight lined pickleball courts, it’s more comfortable to replace the tennis pair with six pickleball courts. The “6 on 2” option (Diagram #3) is ideal, as it allows ample space for a rest/waiting area. Don’t underestimate the need for a shaded rest area at courtside.

  

How to install lines

Here’s what you’ll need for both temporary and permanent lines.

Temporary Lines

--Two sets of hands, although it’s possible to line courts by yourself.

--200 feet of Green Frog Tape per court (for temporary lines)

--Two, 25-foot tape measures

Chalk or pencil marker

Permanent Lines

1 to 2 days of sunshine

Two sets of hands, although it’s possible to line courts by yourself.

400 feet of Green Frog Tape per court (to create line stencils)

Line Paint

Brush, drop cloth, painting materials

Two, 25-foot tape measures

Chalk or pencil marker

When lining a multi-purpose court, it’s always easier to work from the court’s existing lines. For example, when working on a tennis court, use the tennis service line as a line marker for the non-volley zone line (see diagrams #1, #2 and #3). Of course, if you’re working from a blank slate, you won’t have lines to use as a guide.

Each new court will require a minimum of 198 feet of tape. While many people line courts will blue painter’s tape, we recommend green Frog Tape because it adheres better to the court and doesn’t leave residue when removed. Also, green Frog Tape doesn’t interfere with white tennis court lines; pickleball players quickly become accustomed to recognizing the green lines—the white lines will become invisible—vice versa for tennis players. Yellow Frog Tape and blue painter’s tape tend to disengage from the courts quicker. Do not use duck tape under any circumstance, as it’s very expensive and can ruin the surface beneath when removed.

Note: When connecting two points, one person stands on the tape at one point while the second person pulls the tape to the second point. Pull the tape firm, a few inches off the ground, then loosen the tape and gently apply it to the ground. Step every inch of the tape down onto the court. 

Player surfaces

The vast majority of tennis courts and pickleball courts are asphalt because they’re less expensive than concrete. When installing pickleball court lines over existing tennis or basketball courts, it’s important to consider the paint and whether or not you’ll use a padded surface. Companies such as California Sport Courts offer durable do-it-yourself paints for concrete and asphalt surfaces. They also sell cushioned coatings that are easier on the body, which are typically installed by professional contractors.

 

Installing Permanent Lines

Standard pickleball lines are 2 inches wide. Before purchasing paints from your local supply store, go to a tennis court specialist such as California Sports Court. The white paints sold for tennis courts are extremely durable and will not be slippery when wet.

A standard tennis court measures 78’ x 27’ (120’ x 60’ when including the surrounding out-of-bounds area).


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