What can be done about one of the issues facing pickleball, the lack of enough pickleball courts in a sport that has shown tremendous interest from people everywhere?
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the USA and it would only be a matter of time before it latches on to the interest of fans around the world. The issue, however, is the paucity of pickleball courts, making it difficult for many of the amateurs and intermediary players to find themselves a chance to hone their pickleball skills.
Players have to travel many miles away to find themselves a pickleball court and at times those are already full. The use of a Pickleball Court Reservation System helps but the fact is the supply is far lesser than the demand as far as the availability of courts is concerned.
In this piece below, we look at the reasons why space has become an issue for pickleball players and list a couple of ways in which pickleball players can circumvent the problem around these pickleball court requirements.
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What’s Pickleball Court Space Issue?
According to Parade.com, there were over 35,000 pickleball courts in the entire USA in 2021 which cater to over four million players. That’s a mismatch that made it very difficult for everyone to get their hands on a court and in the long run could act as a severe deterrent in the growth and spread of the sport.
There have been multiple reasons why pickleball is already growing as a sport. Easy and cheap accessibility to equipment, uncomplicated rules and the ability to cater to all ages and genders make it a go-to sport for most.
The pandemic through 2020 and 2021 looks to have also pushed pickleball as an easy getaway sport – whoever enjoyed remaining stuck at home! – but again, have the number of pickleball courts grown at the same rate?
The answer is no. Which is the unfortunate bit.
Since pickleball can be played on tennis courts as well, there is a growing phenomenon by way of which a number of tennis courts are getting broken down and converted into pickleball courts.
While this is one way to increase the pickleball court count, this method hasn’t endeared itself to the tennis community. Take for example the case of tennis courts in Durango where pickleball players aren’t allowed to ply their ware because there is a disagreement over the “cultural validity of the sport” of pickleball.
There are multiple such instances.
Take the example of Park Ridge District’s plan to build more pickleball courts in Woodland Park in early 2019, but at the expense of four tennis courts. It was met with a lot of resistance from the residents.
There is one other problem around converting tennis courts into pickleball courts.
The United States Tennis Association has mandated the presence of at least six courts at a location if it has to be made a part of league play, which is the only way to feature in competitions which count towards official rankings and national qualification.
This rule proves to be deterrent for many a tennis courts to be converted even if some of them are not in use at times.
USTA also rules against additional lines being drawn on tennis courts which are used for USTA-sanctioned tournaments.
This has created a bit of a competing environment between the tennis and pickleball communities, something that’s not the most ideal scenario for a sport which is growing at the current rate.
There is one other issue which is giving pickleball aficionados a major headache, that’s the noise associated with the game of pickleball.
Unlike tennis which is a lot more silent sport, pickleball is noisier with a lot of screaming and players having fun. Not to mention, the sound of the pickleball hitting paddles is lot louder than is the case in tennis.
This is because of the hard paddles used in the sport of pickleball, which when they collide with the whiffle balls make a lot more noise than tennis balls hitting the rackets do. Residents around these clubs have registered complaints around the same issue.
All of this make for reluctant residents preventing easier access to pickleball players or even for them to force local councils to not allow construction of more pickleball courts.
How to Overcome Pickleball’s Growing Lack of Court Issue?
There are multiple ways in which governments, organizers and players themselves can overcome the issue associated with the paucity of pickleball courts. Some of them are mentioned below but we would also love to hear from you if you have some other ways you have used to surmount this one.
Painting New Lines on Existing Tennis Courts
This is one of the easiest solutions one can come up with; i.e. painting additional lines on the already-existing tennis courts. The size of a pickleball court is about one-fourth of a tennis court, so one can get a few pickleball courts made a part of one tennis court.
The flip to this is there are tennis clubs which could raise objections their players find it tough to adjust to the additional lines painted on the courts. At times, these pickleball lines are painted with similar colors to the original tennis court lines and that makes it a lot harder to pick too.
However, if done properly and a contrast in the paints between the tennis and pickleball lines is maintained, tennis players might not take too much to adjust to it.
Pickleball On The Go
Pickleball On the Go is way the issue around lack of courts has been resolved by a collegiate by the name of Abby Peichel. By using a portable net and three different ropes to cover the baseline, sideline and the kitchen, any flat surface or a tennis court can be converted into a pickleball court.
These ropes can be stuck to the ground by using gorilla tapes. If gorilla tapes aren’t available, you could also go for duct tape and painter’s tape as the next couple of effective choices.
Once you get a hang of things, it doesn’t take more than five minutes to get the court in order.
Here’s how one can assemble Pickleball On The Go:
For more information on this, go to PickleballOnTheGo.com and refer to their FAQ section.
We will continue to add to this list as and when there are more solutions found that help overcome the space issue around
Final Words on What to do About Lack of Pickleball Courts
As the sport of pickleball grows even more than the current explosion in interest it finds itself, the requirement for pickleball courts is only going to rise.
And while there could be temporary solutions found, as mentioned above, it will need some assistance from the local governments to come to the rescue of this rising pickleball-playing population.