Court Painting

The Pickleball Pickle

picklea difficult or messy situation.

What is the pickle with pickleball?  The pickle is most pickleball courts are added to hard court tennis courts and the pickleball lines and net don’t match up with the tennis court lines and net.

  • Tennis nets are 36″ tall at the center strap while pickleball nets are 34″.
  • Tennis courts are 36′ X 78′ while pickleball courts are 20′ X 44′.

So you end up having to answer two main questions:

  1. Do you buy a portable pickleball net and put the pickleball lines on either side of the tennis net?
  2. Do you use your preexisting tennis net and match the lines to that?

Below are your options with some questions/bullet points you may have for each one.  Keep in mind, there are no right or wrong answers.  It’s a question of what’s right for you.

If you want to stay out of the kitchen and, figuratively, just order in, feel free to reach out to me.  I’m happy to help.  My going rate for pickleball lines is between $400-$500.

Option # 1. You can put lines on either side of the net and go with a portable pickleball net.

    • The above layout is the most popular layout option and leaves you with roughly 7-8′ beyond the pickle ball baseline.  So you will have 8′ to the tennis court fence on one side and 8′ to the tennis net on the other side. With most of the game being played up towards the kitchen, the 8′ beyond the pickle ball baseline is usually plenty of room to play.
    • How do you manage the portable pickleball net so it doesn’t end up blown into the corner of the court with the leaves? How sturdy and durable are they? (Note- portable pickleball nets are either cheap or expensive.  There’s very little middle ground.). This is up to you.  I recommend packing it up after each use or you run the risk of it getting damaged as they blow in the wind quite easily.
    • If you have a basketball hoop in your baseline playing space, the pickle ball lines will interfere with them and make the court look too busy.

Option # 2. Use your preexisting tennis net and adjust your net accordingly.

    Orientation from pickleball baseline
  • “I’m not a serious player.  Does it matter if the tennis net is 2″ higher than a regulation pickleball net?”  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
  • “What if I want it to be regulation?”  There are two options you can do.
    • Assuming your tennis court contractor didn’t cement in your posts rather than put in sleeves, there are set screws on a collar on your tennis net posts.  If you loosen them, the post should lower 2″ no problem.  This does, however, require you to be slightly handy and have tools.
    • The other option is to install additional center strap anchors and net adjusters where pickle ball posts would be.  In this set up, you would loosen the net enough to lower the center of the net to 34″ and then use net adjusters to tighten the net at 34″.
  • In the portable pickleball net option above, I mentioned there being 7′-8′ of room behind the pickleball baseline.  With this court layout option, you will have significantly more room beyond your pickleball baselines to chase down balls that get by you.  You will have to chase them down all the way to the tennis court fence.  If you don’t mind, it’s not a big deal but, if you play a lot, it can be slightly frustrating.  (But as I like to say, “Don’t let the ball get by you.”)

The other factor to consider in both of the above options is what color do you want to paint the lines and will they make the court too busy?  That’s another personal call and depends a great deal on the preexisting colors of your tennis court.  Here are some options.

As mentioned, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.


  1. Please don’t put those lines on our tennis courts!, if you want a pickle ball court then build one.

    1. Hi David, Thanks for your comment. Every situation is unique. Most of the courts I work on are at private homes or country clubs. Obviously, a homeowner can do as they please. As for country clubs, they’re usually primarily clay court clubs where their hard courts are not used, at all. Adding pickleball lines increases their use by not just a little but a huge amount. I do agree somewhat on public courts, especially if homes are close by as pickleball can be quite loud. I hope this helps. Mike

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