With pickleball really picking up as one of the sports to play on a recreational basis and moving towards becoming a professional one worth pursuing as a career (here’s what pickleball players earn), more and more people are taking to it in the USA and elsewhere in the world.
Which is also why we are often asked if pickleball can be played on other racket sport surfaces like a tennis court or a badminton court.
In this piece below we look at whether playing pickleball on badminton courts is a feasible option.
If you are playing a sport purely for fun, you can make use of any court or hard surface for an improvised game of pickleball. But if you are playing the game seriously, or coaching pickleball, you should use a pickleball court and not a badminton court. Unless, of course, the club you are playing with, have the facility to tweak things around to suit both, badminton and pickleball players.
Below we explain the differences between pickleball and badminton in terms of being able to play on those surfaces.
Service Line v Non Volley Zone
We can almost hear you saying that this is strange, because the dimensions of a pickleball court and a badminton court are the same, and they are.
They are both 20 x 44 feet. But the service lines and the net lines are different. The front serve line for Badminton is 6.5 feet away from the centre net. The non volley zone for pickleball is 7 feet from the net.
This is a tiny difference isn’t it, yet it makes a big difference to the game and how it is played.
And while for an informal game you can most certainly play with dimensions that are ‘not quite as they should be’, a formal game of pickleball needs to be played on a pickleball court.
Also, that small 0.5 extra in the non volley zone really does make a big difference to the game of pickleball, and it is the play in the non volley zone that makes the game so exciting.
The Nets Are Different Too
Well, the nets are pretty much the same in length, but they are different in height. A pickleball net is 34 inches high in the middle. A Badminton net is 5 feet high. There’s quite a difference. Again, it’s okay for a fun game, but not for a formal game.
And if you are using a Badminton court, you may as well play Badminton, right? Unless of course you only have pickleball paddles and the pickleball ball. And you far prefer pickleball too!
What About Laying Markers On A Badminton Court?
You can do this, in the same way you would lay markers on a tennis court to make it into a pickleball court.
While on a tennis court you can get a maximum of four pickleball courts, although two is much better so there is plenty of space between courts, on a badminton court you could only get one pickleball court.
You can get pickleball sets from an online or retail sport store, including the markers or tape, and you could use these on a badminton court with pleasure.
Pickleball needs a hard surface for play and a badminton court offers exactly that. As long as a player is wearing the right shoes, and badminton clubs prefer their players to wear badminton shoes, you can use the court. But remember, you cannot use it for tournaments or professional play.
The Game Of Pickleball Includes Many Elements Of Badminton
The game is similar although pickleball is a lot faster than badminton.
Both are played as singles or doubles, both require special paddles and both have specialist balls. A pickleball ball is similar to a badminton wiffle ball or shuttlecock, both being made of a hard plastic.
The pickleball ball is slightly heavier but it can do no damage to a Badminton court. pickleballs are perforated as opposed to a feathered shuttlecock.
The paddles are different too.
Pickleball paddles are solid whereas badminton bats are netted rackets.
Final Words on Playing Pickleball on Badminton Courts
The bottom line is that while the two game use courts of exactly the same dimensions, the games are different, use different equipment, have different rules and different areas of play.
There is nothing stopping one from playing pickleball on a badminton court, for fun, but it would be best to change the non volley lines with markers. And for any official games, a proper pickleball court (marked out on a tennis court is fine) is required.
It’s interesting to note that in 2019, Tennis Canada wrote to the badminton and pickleball organizations in the country to try and get the best out of tennis courts across the country in a bid to use them for both, badminton and pickleball. Read more about this here.
While the discussion about using tennis courts for badminton and pickleball is different from using badminton courts for pickleball, the fact that there is a general acknowledgement that the aforementioned is possible could be a pointer towards the latter; i.e. the use of badminton arena for playing pickleball is something that can be looked at.