With so much rain and snow throughout many parts of the country this is a good time to remind everyone of the many available indoor Pickleball facilities. Although most people prefer the fresh air and sunshine of outdoor play a little rain or snow should not stop you from playing.
The good news is that there are some advantages to indoor play besides the obvious factor of avoiding rain, snow, wind and cold. They include the fact that indoor play is usually on wood flooring which is easier on the knees and joints than concrete or other hard surfaces. Also because of their relatively small size Pickleball courts can be readily installed in gyms, YMCA’s and other indoor venues (See Article on setting up a court). There are many dedicated indoor courts throughout the country. They are often available only during certain days and times. Most community websites will list both available facilities and Pickleball schedules. Be aware that a different type of ball is used indoors to accommodate the different conditions of play and will usually be available at indoor facilities.
So – Happy Pickleball – rain or shine!
Although new Pickleball courts are springing up everywhere there are still situations where players would like to set up their own temporary courts. The good news is that setting up your own court is easy, quick and relatively inexpensive.
Courts can be set up on almost any type of indoor or outdoor hard surface. Typical places would include existing tennis, basketball or volleyball courts either at private homes or perhaps you can convince your local HOA to allow them at existing recreational areas.
The first thing you will need is a portable net. The cost of nets range from a low of $70 to a high of about $150. Nets come in a canvas bag and are very portable. With some practice a portable net can be set up in less than 10 minutes and once you get good at it in about 5 minutes. You can purchase portable nets at many sporting goods stores and of course on-line.
Next comes the tape. Orange painter’s tape is the standard because of its high visibility and low cost. You can buy painter’s tape at very affordable prices at most home improvement or hardware stores. Your fellow players never mind chipping in towards the cost of needed supplies.
The next step is to take measurements and mark off all of the corners of the various boxes. Once this is complete you just lay down the straight line of tape from corner to corner. (See the diagram below for of the precise measurements).
If you set up your own court, please send us a picture as we would enjoying seeing all of the creative environments where people play and remember - the first Pickleball court ever was improvised in 1965 in a backyard on Bainbridge Island!
One of the many appeals of Pickleball is the friendly environment and the tolerance that advanced players have for beginners. There are exceptions of course when good players understandably prefer to play with others at their same ability level. For newcomers it is important to “learn the ropes’ at any given Pickleball venue they choose. A typical arrangement is to designate certain courts for level 4 or level 5 players and reserve other courts for people who play at lower levels. A scenario which tends to sort players out is to have challenge courts where the winning team holds the court until they lose a game. Like any other sport the best way to improve your game is to play with some one above (but not too far above) your level. Most players are very happy to “coach” others and get satisfaction from helping them raise their level of play.
The founders of Pickleball over 50 years ago established the basic rules of the game with much foresight. They realized that due to the fact that the court was both much smaller and had a lower net than tennis it would be possible that a tall player could dominate the game by standing at the net and engaging in overhand smashes ending many rallies prematurely. To mitigate this possibility they included the concept of the No Volley Zone (AKA the Kitchen) and the two bounce rule. A detailed discussion of the Kitchen rules is discussed in a separate Article. The two-bounce rule does not mean the ball can bounce twice on either side of the court but rather that both the receiving team and the serving team have to let the ball bounce once before they first make their return shot. This give players time to get up to the Kitchen line to start a dink strategy which they hope will lead to an opportunity to make a winning shot when volleying becomes “legal” under the rules.