This tennis court conversion page was written initially for Australian tennis clubs or organizations like councils and gyms who own or control tennis courts however, it is applicable to any country, place or organization who have underutilized tennis courts.
My first aim as stated was Australia because as an Australian travelling abroad, I see the ‘new’ game that has been around for 60 odd years that they call pickleball, has literally gone ballistic in popularity and player numbers in the USA.
I also see it taking hold in Canada, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Asia - Japan and Thailand to name just a few other places it has managed to reach however, with just a few clubs coming up in google search, it has not really gathered momentum in Australia yet.
Why not Australia? I'm guessing here but predictably I say having contacted several gyms and organisations that have the capacity to immediately host this game, is because of 3 main reasons:
1) So what the hell is pickleball?
It's OVERSIZED ping pong that is played on a badminton sized court with a tennis sized net and a short handled paddle that has a hitting face about 1/2 that of a tennis racquet. It is a game for all ages and for 9 out of 10 people it is a damn lot of fun. And now after 60 odd years, it has become an overnight sensation sweeping the world by storm one country at a time with the USA firmly being its country of origin and base.
2) Moving onto point 2, resistance to change.
People, organisations, companies, CEO's all have an inbuilt defense to change – after all if it aint broke don't fix it and is the gut instinct I got in feedback from my inquiries. And this is where I think knowledge, proof and how-to steps in.
Please refer to YesPickleball.com as your resource that covers off on that pretty well and to the rest of this article in what you need to know and do for any tennis court conversion to better use and potentially profit from underutilized tennis courts to pickleball courts.
3) Information and how to implement pickleball
First up - There are two paths to converting existing courts to pickleball courts: shared use and dedicated use. So yes, you can keep your tennis court while you get your toes wet with this 'CHANGE' experiment to include pickleball.
With this option you do not have to lose anything about your current tennis status - this is about adding flexibility and income to the space of the court or courts you already have.
*Do you need to start big? NO!
*Will it cost you a lot of money? NO!
*Is it hard to do? NO!
Am I sure? YES!
You can start small with just one court on a bare bones budget by painting court lines or cheaper yet again by sticking (different color) tape down for court lines, buying a portable net, 4 paddles and a dozen balls (in what they call a starter kit) for less than $300. You can even cheapen this initial foray even further if you want to use your existing tennis net.
Ok, on that basis what do you need to do and how can you easily do this?
The simplest 'get your feet wet' option is to add just one pickleball court inside the tennis court by using the current tennis net which would simply require you to lower the net to 34″ in the center. You'll just need a ground clip to be able to pull or tension the net down to 34 inches in the center.
The net ends should measure 36 inches so if adjusting the net tension does not achieve this you might need to adjust this with a ground clip and tie down strip on both sides of the net. I think you will agree, this is pretty easy and cheap to install.
Another quick and easy option is to buy and use a Convert-a-Net. This is a 2 minute solution to any tennis net adjustment for pickleball and saves making any permanent alterations or additions such as installing side ground clips described above.
What is the cost for the Convert-a-Net?
Currently it is available online here for $US49.99 plus $10 shipping and payment is available through paypal.
A standard tennis court measures in round figures 60’x120’. While slightly bigger is better than smaller, the minimum recommended area to place a pickleball court is 30’x60’. The maths computes to it being one ¼ the size of a tennis court and therefor you could technically put four pickleball courts in the area required for one tennis court.
Again, it would depend on personal requirement’s, expected (or increasing demand) space available and overall design wanted in deciding if this space utilization was ideal for you. Again, allowing more run-off not less on both ends and sides for players is preferred particularly for the more competitive players.
However, you now know how to easily get your feet wet in this funny new and hugely popular sport called pickleball.
Tennis Court Conversion? Let me ask you this…
Then you are in the same boat as the men and women of the Middletown Park Board were for the 16 tennis courts that were greatly underutilized before being convinced that a pickleball court conversion for two of their courts would be a good idea.
Without going into too much detail here, at first just imagine 16 tennis courts out in the open air with barely a sole person on them.
Now… take a look at this video because this is what popularity of pickleball has done to Middletown Tennis Courts.
It's amazing to think that the courts you see in the video where at one stage "all tennis" courts - such is the take up of pickleball when there is a court and net available.
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