How do you store your pickleball “stuff” courtside?

This is a question we hear often:  what kind of a box do you use to store pickleball equipment near the court?  We have a couple of answers.  We’d also like to hear from you, the reader, about how you store your pickleball equipment.

Our first suggestion comes from Maureen Groth, in Gackle, North Dakota.  We shared Maureen’s story on May 12th, about the project she took on to renovate a run-down tennis court into 2 pickleball courts. She shared: “[ I ] obtained wood paddles from the local school and put them in rubber totes with lids in storage benches next to the court.  Anyone in the community can drop by and use the equipment provided.  In 1 year, the equipment is still there, and is still being used by anyone in the community who wants to play pickleball.”

Storage benchShe shared:” The storage benches that I use at the courts keep the paddles and balls and also fit a couple of basketballs. They are made by Rubbermaid and are nice to sit on. I bought them online from Walmart. I think the portable [net systems] might fit!!”

When we asked Tom Widden from Lake Oswego, Oregon about how his pickleball group solved the equipment storage problem, he shared the following solution:

“We bought JOBOX Brand construction boxes from Home Depot for about $400 st time..too small for more than 4 nets/few paddles/balls..you get lost and found, left chairs,1st aid kits,etc so outgrow pretty fast…at Wilsonville we bought much bigger box 6′ long/3’deep and wide..much happier and has breathing room so nets don’t rust after play in rain or just condensation in boxes. Now, at Hillendale Park we went online and bought a huge RIGID jobsite box and can store tables/chairs/netsets/training aids, and fencing since we’ve learned how to “quad” a single tennis court into 4 Pickleball courts. A little effort really pays off in capacity, allowing us to take typical double tennis court into 8 active courts. It has proven effective and helps set the stage for conversion to a permanent picklepark!”

Storage boxOn of the greatest things I have grown to appreciate about the pickleball community is that they are always willing to share lessons learned.  So, do you have solutions you want to share on how your solved the pickleball equipment storage problem?  We look forward to hearing your wonderful ideas!

Noise Suppression for Pickleball Courts

As the game of pickleball grows in popularity, one of the issues that frequently comes up is the issue of the noise from the paddles hitting the balls.

Some communities require quiet paddles and balls.  Sun City Grand has developed a list of pickleball paddles that are approved based on the “noise” factor. Paddles in the “red zone” are not allowed.

Some communities put up noise-reducing fencing.

Acoustifence

Acoustifence

In San Tan Valley, Arizona, a developer has made a remarkable plan to mitigate the noise from the game of pickleball.  First the court will be set 8 feet into the ground. Second, there will be 2 levels of walls tilted outward, so that all bounce sounds deflect straight up from the court.  Third, there will be up to a six foot mound of dirt on top of the walls, and bushes will be planted on top of the mound!  This seems like the perfect plan to allow for pickleball to be played without the noise problem for homeowners nearby.

Sunken pickleball court

Court with walls for noise abatement

The pickleball community members in San Tan Valley are delighted that their 8 brand new courts will be designed and built with the whole community in mind.  Unfortunately, lighting will not be provided for these beautiful, sound-proofed courts.  That means the pickleball folks won’t be able to play during peak playing hours in the early evening.

These folks are asking for suggestions on how to make their request for lighting more “desirable” to the developer.  If you have any suggestions, I’d love to pass them on.

Let us know if noise has been an issue and how you found solutions in your community.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Building a Pickleball Court from scratch – New Glarus, Wisconsin

Building a New Glarus pickleball court

We received an email with this photo journal of a new pickleball court under construction.  Enjoy!

I thought that you might have some interest in our story. My partner Paula and I had spent a few days visiting our best friends in Casa Grande, Arizona the last couple of winters. They introduced us to pickleball while we were there and we were hooked. We debated about putting in our own court last year and decided against it. Upon returning from Arizona last Spring, we couldn’t hold out any longer and went forward with our own court in New Glarus, Wisconsin.

 

Building a pickleball court in New Glarus

It could not have gone smoother.

Building a pickleball court in New Glarus

We broke ground in early May.

Building a pickleball court in New GlarusBuilding a pickleball court in New GlarusBuilding a pickleball court in New GlarusCompleted pickleball court

In July we had Kirk Lingner from Illinois come up and stay with us for 3 days and do the prep work, painting and lines.

Setting up the pickleball courtSetting up the pickleball court

He did an awesome job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relaxing before setting up the pickleball courtSetting up the pickleball courtSetting up the pickleball court

 

Our friends from Arizona are staying with us this Summer.

Watching a game of pickleball on completed court

We are playing all the time and having a blast.

Beautiful completed pickleball court in New Glarus

So glad we took the leap.

Bo Palenske and Paula D’Amour

Thanks so much, Bo, for the beautiful photo journal of your home pickleball court!

How to Convert Tennis Courts to Pickleball Courts

Years ago David wrote this article for the USA Pickleball Association’s newsletter. We’re getting more and more questions on how to convert tennis courts to pickleball courts, so we thought we’d reproduce David’s article in our blog.

If you have underutilized tennis courts – or basketball courts for that matter – you might want to turn to an up-and-coming sport that is uniquely suited to adding new life to old courts, pickleball.

Pickleball is a fun court sport played on a badminton-sized court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. It is played with a perforated plastic ball similar to a whiffle ball and wood or composite paddles about twice the size of table tennis paddles. It can be played indoors or outdoors, is easy for beginners to learn – but can develop into a fast paced, competitive game for experienced players. In addition to being fun, the game has developed a reputation for its friendly and social nature.
Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles. New players can learn the game quickly in a single session. No special apparel is needed – just something comfortable and appropriate for a court sport. Equipment is inexpensive and easily portable. The game can be played by all ages and is particularly popular in school P.E. programs and senior citizen hangouts.The popularity of pickleball is really being driven by seniors. The reasons they enjoy pickleball in many ways parallels the reasons that they can better utilize many tennis courts:
  • They have lots of free time and can use the courts in peak as well as off – peak hours
  • Many former tennis players find pickleball a good “step -down” sport when tennis becomes too demanding
  • Pickleball is easy to learn so new players can be introduced to it and playing in minutes
  • Because the pickleball court is considerably smaller than a tennis court more courts can use the same space, allowing for more players at one time.

Court Conversion – One Pickleball Court Per Tennis Court

There are two paths to converting existing courts to pickleball courts: shared use and dedicated use.

With shared use simply add pickleball lines to an existing court and players of both sports can use the facility. This may cause some initial confusion, but players quickly get accustomed to the lines.

The simplest way to add one pickleball court is to just lower the tennis net to 34″ in the center.   The center strap could be used to bring the net down to 34 inches in the center. If the tension on the net cord is very tight, the tension might have to be loosened slightly by adjusting the ratchet on the net post.  Another option is to purchase a Tennis Net Adjuster to lower the net for pickleball or you can do it yourself using two eye hooks, two expandable sleeves and some tie down straps, but first make sure and you  have permission to drill a couple of holes into the court surface .

Lines can be painted on the court for pickleball. Then the court can be used for both tennis and pickleball very easily. Because of the size of the tennis court, you might want to have some sort of temporary barrier for the balls so that they don’t have to be chased the full length of the tennis court.

How to Adjust a Tennis Net to Regulation Pickleball Height

How to Adjust a Tennis Net to Regulation Pickleball Height

 

One Tennis Court Converted into Two Pickleball Courts

One Tennis Court Converted into Two Pickleball Courts

The diagram above shows 2 pickleball courts laid out on a tennis court. A standard tennis court pad is 60’x120′. The minimum recommended size for a pickleball court is 30’x60′. That is exactly one fourth the size of a standard tennis court pad. Therefore, it is possible to put 4 pickleball courts in the space of a tennis court except for the possible existence of angled corners that are on some tennis courts.

If the corners are angled, then two courts can fit very nicely as shown. If the conversion is temporary or it is desired to be able to continue to use the court for tennis, then portable net stands can be used for the pickleball courts and the tennis net can be left in place as a backstop for the two pickleball courts.
One Tennis Converted into Four Pickleball Courts

One Tennis Court Converted into Four Pickleball Courts

The diagram above shows four pickleball courts on a tennis court. Note how the position of the pickleball courts has been shifted by two feet to allow for the angled corners of the tennis court.  That leaves only 6 feet between the pickleball baseline and the tennis net. That is a little tight, but works in a pinch.
If the tennis court does not have angled corners, then move the courts 2 feet so that there is an 8 – foot distance between the pickleball baseline and the backstops. Note how the lines are made to coincide as much as possible with the tennis court lines in order to minimize line confusion for the players. Note also that this layout does not allow room for fences between the side-by-side courts.
Permanent Courts
This diagram (below) shows 2 tennis courts that are permanently converted to 8 pickleball courts. If a single tennis court is converted, just refer to half of the diagram. Angled corners are squared off if necessary. If the tennis court is a standard dimension of 60’x120′, that only allows 5 feet between the pickleball sidelines and the fences. That should be considered the minimum dimension. If space and budget allow, add some additional overall width. That will give the more active players more room and also give room for seating on the courts.
Conversions are happening across the United States with great success.
Two tennis courts can be converted into eight pickleball courts

Two Tennis Courts Converted into Eight Pickleball Courts

Stanley Volkens, USA Pickleball Association Local Ambassador for Southwest Ohio, and seasonal resident of Arizona, surveyed the 16 tennis courts in Middletown and found them greatly underutilized. Stanley approached the park board with a plan to convert two under-utilized tennis courts into 6 beautiful new and regularly used pickleball courts.
The Park Board gave Stanley and his pickleball players permission to convert 2 tennis courts over to 6 pickleball courts. The dimensions worked out perfectly. The courts have 14 ft. between them with 8 ft. at the ends. The tennis nets are the backdrops between the ends of the courts. The courts are laid out north and south. The pickleball players did all the work and paid all the cost ($3,956 total). They presented the new courts to the city with a ribbon cutting ceremony with park board and city council members.
Paul Barksdale and Rex Lawler, Local Ambassadors for Greater Terre Haute, Indiana played on the new Middletown courts in the SW Ohio Senior Games and were so impressed that they brought a similar plan back home. They found underutilized tennis courts and proposed a shared cost plan to their park and recreation department. The players raised $1500 to cover nets, posts, and other supplies and the park and recreation department agreed to provide the labor following the same step-by-step process and court format used in Ohio.In Port Angeles, Washington two deteriorating tennis courts were converted into six pickleball courts.
Originally donated to the city by the Elks in 1951, the $30,000 conversion cost was shared by the Elks and the city. The courts are now often maxed out with 24 players at a time having a fun and getting exercise.The USA Pickleball Association has over 300 local ambassadors who are ready and willing to assist with the development of more pickleball courts and community involvement efforts.Pickleball is a great sport for seniors but is also popular with all ages. Just witness a heated inter-generational game and you will see why this sport with a funny name is becoming so popular.
By David Johnson, partner at PickleballCentral.com and former Media Relations Chair for the USA Pickleball Association.

The Pickleball Palace – A Private Indoor Pickleball Court

While searching for the most beautiful pickleball courts in Washington State, we received a call from Terri Ross in Port Ludlow.  She confessed about her addiction to pickleball, and, she told us that she had built her own indoor pickleball court and christened it the “Pickleball Palace!”  Can you be any more of a fan of pickleball than Terri Ross?  Terri loves to play pickleball.  She played with her mother 30 years ago.  As pickleball has grown in popularity, the Port Ludlow Resort built some beautiful outdoor pickleball courts.  Since Terri and her husband built an indoor tennis court for resort members to keep playing tennis in the winter, they were asked, once again, if they might consider building an indoor pickleball court as well.  This request was what spurred their imagination to consider building an indoor pickleball court.  They had land next to their house, so they scraped off the existing building and began to plan.

 

Pickleball Palace Port Ludlow,WA

“My husband is an engineer, so, we really had no problems in the design and construction of our ‘Pickleball Palace’.” They applied for a building permit.  They chose Sound Building Systems in Port Ludlow, WA to design and build the building. The metal building guy couldn’t envision what they wanted at first.  He had never heard of pickleball!  Together they mapped out what was needed for the space around the court.

They took into consideration that the biggest complaint around the outdoor courts was that there wasn’t enough room.  The building dimensions, not including the viewing room and restrooms, is 65’ X 30’.   They began by talking with players to get an idea of how high the building had to be.  The roof ended up being 25 feet over the net, with beams 22-25 feet over the net.  The beams needed to go length-wise instead of crosswise and had to be longer to create an arch over the net.

photo 4 (2)

 

The building is insulated, but not heated and there is no air-conditioning. There are 2 big doors to open for ventilation and a door to the viewing room.  The playing surface is a gravel base with asphalt on top.  Then it was painted with the Trucourt tennis court paint in green and red, similar to the finish on their indoor tennis court. The lighting is 1000 watt, ballast bulbs on a slow-start transformer. The lighting is PERFECT.  Some say you might even need to wear sunglasses when playing inside.  It took 4 weeks for the installation of the Pickleball Palace.  Terri and her husband have nothing but good things to say about Sound Building Systems.

Pickleball Palace Cake

Over 60 folks are playing pickleball these days in Port Ludlow.  Terri has added a refrigerator, a popcorn machine and a jukebox in the viewing room of their Pickleball Palace.  They expect to be pretty busy playing pickleball this winter.  They have folks who are new to the game playing Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the more serious men’s group, with a gal or two, playing on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

photo 2 (2)

Pickleball backyard indoor court waiting area

 

 

 

Pickleball Palace lounge area

 

By Eliza

Setting Up Pickleball is as Easy as 1-2-3

Pickleball mania is spreading! How do we know? PickleballCentral was recently contacted by a group in Dublin, Ireland who wanted to know what they needed in order to get started playing. That made us think there may be others out there who want to get started with this addictingly fun sport and need a rundown on the basics too. So, here’s what we told our friends across the Atlantic:Basket of pickleball paddles

Here’s the basic equipment you need for pickleball: net, paddles, balls, a place to play, and a desire to have the most fun you’ve had in years!

You can play indoor or outdoor, on a flat surface that’s at least 20’ x 44’. That’s the official court size, but we recommend a little extra space all around the playing area for player movement.

Pickleball courts are the same size as badminton courts, so if you have access to badminton courts you’re in luck. Tennis courts can also easily be temporarily converted, and the USAPA has an easy-to-read article on how to do that here.

If you’re converting badminton or tennis courts for your game, you don’t need to worry about nets. If you’re setting up a new court from scratch then you will want to invest in portable net systems. They cost $160-170 and can be set up and taken in down in about 5 minutes and come with a carrying bag for transport/storage.

Paddles start at about $15 per paddle for wood paddles up to $100 per paddle for top-of-the-line graphite paddles. For kids and adults new to the game and only interested in casual play, wood paddles can suffice. Adults who want to play on a regular basis generally prefer composite or graphite paddles. Composite paddles start at about $50 and graphite paddles at about $60. Generally you would want a minimum of four paddles per court.

Pickleballs for indoor use start at $12.99 per dozen.  Outdoor balls are $24.99 per dozen.

So, a low-cost set of equipment with wood paddles to get you going would cost in the range of $250.  Not too bad to get started in the fastest growing sport in the U.S., now spreading like wildfire around the rest of the world!

Beautiful Backyard Pickleball Court

Robert Sweetgall

We have a wonderful customer whose name is Robert Sweetgall.  He has a teacher’s heart and he teaches everybody he meets about the benefits of a healthy active lifestyle.  You can find out more about him at his website www.creativewalking.com . He has recently added pickleball to his fitness “curriculum” and he has quite a story to tell about his latest pickleball court construction project.

Robert has built a private court in Lucile, Idaho and invited all of his neighbors (the unofficial population of Lucile is about 100 people) to come play pickleball.  His court is named Harttrup Court after Ed Harttrup, a cancer survivor, who donated 38 yards of concrete to Robert’s pickleball court construction project out of gratitude for helping him make nutritional and lifestyle changes that helped him to beat cancer.  Robert has also put a lot of his own blood, sweat and tears into this project. Building dry-stack rock walls is one of Robert’s hobbies. He built a 4-foot bordering dry-stack rock wall, made of hand split slabs of stone he collected.   The wall is designed to be a multi-purpose wall: it acts as a retaining and a ball kick-back wall and is a seating gallery for spectators.

Robert's pickleball court

Robert also installed 6-foot green wind screens around 3 sides of his court that minimize wind effects and keep balls from running wild.  Robert used a concrete stain on his court, which provides good traction and consistent ball bounces.  He picked a unique color scheme: artichoke green for the serving boxes and mocha chocolate for the apron and the kitchen no-volley zones.

Robert loves teaching pickleball, especially to people who are new to the sport.  He taught 100 novice seniors the game of pickleball at Hilton Head, South Carolina on October 18th of this year.  His main goal is to instill a spirit of fun play, with the promise of quick improvement with a few simple skill drills.

Do you know of a beautiful backyard pickleball court? Tell us about it and send pictures. We’d love to share it on our blog.