Pickleball’s popularity isn’t just a random coincidence, in fact you might say it’s by design. The dimensions of a pickleball court play a big role in creating the game’s addictive allure and inclusive nature. In this article, we’ll delve into the precise dimensions of a pickleball court and break down and explain each court zone, giving you have a clear grasp of the game’s layout and design elements.
Pickleball court dimensions
USA Pickleball, the governing body of the sport, has set the official dimensions of a regulation pickleball court at 44 feet in length by 20 feet in width. Here we’ve provided a table with both imperial and metric conversions for the court measurements.
|Length||44 ft||528 in||14.67 yd||13.41 m||1341.12 cm|
|Width||20 ft||240 in||6.67 yd||6.10 m||609.6 cm|
|Surface Area||880 ft²||126,720 in²||97.78 yd²||81.75 m²||817,546.75 cm²|
Pickleball courts vs tennis courts
For comparison, pickleball courts are much smaller than tennis courts. In fact, you can fit up to four pickleball courts snugly onto one tennis court surface.
In this configuration, you would erect two pickleball courts on each side of the tennis court. However, that will leave only 8 feet between the two pickleball courts without space for a divider between the pickleball courts.
Ideal total pickleball court playing surface
While a pickleball court should be 20 ft wide and 44 feet long, there needs to be space outside the court in order to run down an angled shot or return a shot deep to the baseline.
This space on the outside of the court is called the “overrun”. Ideally, the overrun will be 10 feet on each side of the court. This would mean that the overall space is 20 feet wide plus 10 feet on each side, so 40 feet wide.
And, since the court is 44 feet long, adding 10 feet to each side will make the length 64 feet long. Thus, with ideal overrun, a pickleball court will occupy a space that is 40 feet by 64 feet. But, these dimensions are ideal and not necessarily the norm.
Measurement Feet Inches Yards Meters Centimeters
Ideal Length 64 ft 768 inches 21.33 yd 19.51 m 1,950.72 cm
Ideal Width 40 ft 480 inches 13.33 yd 12,19 m 1,219.2 cm
Court Surface Area 880 ft² 126,720.08 in² 97.78 yd² 81.75 m² 817,546.75 cm²
Vertical space requirements
In indoor play, there are also vertical space recommendations so the ball does not constantly hit the ceiling. FYI, in the case of a ball exceeding the vertical space requirement (hits the ceiling), the ball is considered hit out.
|Indoor/Outdoor||Min height above net||Min height above baseline||Min height above backstop|
|Indoor Recreational Play||20 ft||20 ft||20 ft|
|Indoor Tournament Play||20-40 ft||20-40 ft||20-40 ft|
The different zones and lines of a pickleball court
|No Volley Zone||7 feet adjacent to the net|
|Service Areas||Each is 10 feet wide and 15 feet long|
|Baselines||Run the 20 foot width of the court|
|Sidelines||Run the 44 foot length of the court|
|Center Mark||Perpendicular to the net, 4 inches long|
|Line Thickness||Recommended line width is 2 inches|
No Volley Zone
In pickleball there is a no volley zone, which is also known as the “kitchen”. This is an area where players may not stand when volleying the ball. However, players may enter the no volley zone at any time and hit the ball if it has bounced.
The no volley zone takes up the first 7 feet on each side of the net. These 7 feet make up part of the 22 foot total length on each side.
- No Volley Zone: first 7 feet adjacent to the net
Impact on gameplay
The dimensions of the no volley zone play an important role in shaping pickleball gameplay.
The 7 foot area serves as a buffer against players simply running up to the net and smashing easy winners at every opportunity. Without that blocked off space, games would be much shorter and likely much less fun.
Instead, the kitchen adds a layer of strategic depth to the game, forcing players to be skilled in both power shots and dinking near the net.
This balance between power and finesse keeps the game engaging and challenges players to continuously improve.
Beyond the no volley zone are the service areas, which are two rectangular areas on the left and the right. The width of the court is 20 feet, so the width of each of these service areas is 10 feet, from sideline to sideline.
The line that divides the left and right service areas, the centerline, extends from the kitchen to the baseline.
The baseline is the border of the court farthest away from the net and parallel to the net. The service area includes the centerline, the baseline and the sideline.
However, the No Volley Zone line is not part of the service area and a serve striking the No Volley Zone or the line that makes up the boundary of the No Volley Zone is a fault.
- Service Areas are each 10 feet wide and 15 feet in length
Impact on gameplay
The service area dimensions align with human reaction times and are designed to provide a fair opportunity for the receiving player or team to react and return the serve, given the average speed of a pickleball being served.
The sidelines are the lines that demarcate the width of the court from side to side and run the length of the court.
There is an indicator line on the baseline that indicates the center point of the baseline. The Center Mark should be perpendicular to the net and be about 4 inches long.
When serving from the right side of the court, a pickleball player must be to the right of the Center Mark. And when serving from the left side of the court, from the left of the Center Mark.
The thickness of the lines does not factor into the measurements of each section of the pickleball court. In other words, the outside of the line, demarcates the end of that section.
So, the outside edges of pickleball sidelines are exactly 20 feet apart. When drawing these pickleball lines, there are recommended dimensions, with most courts utilizing a 2 inch width for all lines.
Posts and Netting
According to USA Pickleball, the net can be made out of any mesh material so long as it keeps the ball from passing through.
The two posts should be placed 22 feet apart and be no more than 3 inches in diameter. The height of the net, once mounted on the posts, should be 36 inches high at the posts and 34 inches high at the center.
Additionally, there should be a two-inch wide tape that runs the length of the net covering a top cable or chord. These regulations surrounding the net allow players to develop consistency when hitting shots over the net or around the posts.
- Net Length: 21 feet 9 inches long
- Net Width: 30 inches
- Post distance apart: 22 feet
- Net Height at posts: 36 inches
- Net Height at Center: 34 inches
- Tape Width: 2 inches
Impact on gameplay
The height of the net makes the game more strategic, as it’s low enough to allow for volleys and slams, but high enough to present a challenge and prevent easy smashes. The height, relative to the court’s size, ensures a mix of ground strokes and volleys.
Fencing around the court
In terms of fencing, the openings in your fence material must not exceed the 65 mm diameter of your pickleball. For the back fencing, you should have a minimum height of 10 feet. For the side fencing, you should have a minimum height of 3 feet, but as the side fencing approaches the back fencing, this height should increase.
One should also consider having gates to access the courts on both ends and consider creating windbreaks, depending on which direction the wind usually comes from. There aren’t any regulations surrounding fencing material, so you have myriad options.
Smaller pickleball court dimensions
Sometimes you want to play pickleball but just don’t have enough space available. Rather than creating a mini-court, players and kids often opt to play on the “skinny”. The skinny court is when you play only on one half of the court.
That would mean a regular court length of 44 feet and a width of just 10 feet.
With 2 players, you can play skinny singles. You can also play skinny on one side and full court on the other when you have 3 players and are playing 2 players on the wide side and one player on the skinny side.
With this version, all shots onto the skinny side must land on the skinny side of the court and any shot outside the skinny side is considered out. In this version of doubles, the skinny side alternates from side to side depending on which side the single player is serving or receiving the ball.
While it’s best to find a spot where that can encompass the official court dimensions, if you can’t, there’s nothing wrong creating a smaller version of a court just about anywhere. Just make sure you add in the necessary elements, especially the no volley zone, and you can play in almost any location.
How pickleball court dimensions contribute to its popularity
The dimensions of a pickleball court weren’t weren’t just set by accident, and are a major factor in why the game has become so popular. Here are a few reasons why:
- Compact and convenient: Pickleball courts are a fraction of a tennis court, and that’s a big win. Why? It means you can squeeze a game in almost anywhere – from your backyard to local gymnasiums. This accessibility has brought more players into the fold, making it a sport that’s easy to pick up but hard to put down.
- Encourages social interaction: Pickleball isn’t just a sport; it’s a social event. The court’s smaller size means players are physically closer together throughout the game. So while you’re serving, volleying, and dinking, you’re also chatting, laughing, and making connections with other players.
- The kitchen adds depth: Thanks to the no volley zone, games are not cut short by easy smashes and slams up close to the net. Instead, players must use more strategic thinking and employ a variety of shot types.
- Longer rallies: The smaller size of the court ensures that games are not over too quickly. Rallies are the norm as the surface area is relatively small and easier to cover, especially when playing doubles.
- Age is just a number: The smaller court also makes the game accessable to a large age range. Whether you’re 7 or 70, you can still have fun on the pickleball court.