Pickleball Courts Best Practices
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. We share best practices for building your next court–from funding strategies to community engagement. In addition, we’ll share examples of successful projects to give you inspiration along the way.
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States today. You may have noticed new courts popping up in your community or maybe you’ve seen the news of Lebron James and Tom Brady purchasing Major League Pickleball teams. The game, similar to other racket sports like tennis and badminton, is played on a court with a wiffle-like ball and wooden paddles between two or four competitors in a singles or doubles format.
For many, Pickleball provides an excellent opportunity for fitness and community. According to one 2022 report, Pickleball is especially popular among those over 50. However, if you visit your local court, you’ll probably see individuals of all ages engaging in the activity.
In the past several years, Patronicity has helped eight (and counting!) Pickleball projects launch successful crowdfunding campaigns to support the development of new courts. With an average of 66 new places to play added per month, the sport offers a new recreational opportunity at a low-cost. By providing new options for recreation and socialization, Pickleball is improving quality of life in communities across the country. We want to help set your next Pickleball court up for success.
We’re excited to share best practices for building your next court–from funding strategies to community engagement. In addition, we’ll share examples of successful projects to give you inspiration along the way.
Identify a space for your project
First, you’ll want to identify a space for your new sports court. Underused or vacant lots provide a great opportunity for development, especially in underinvested neighborhoods or city centers. But, don’t forget to consider your community. Who will use the sports court, who will benefit from the project, and if it will be of interest to the surrounding community, are all questions you should ask before selecting a space for your project.
Looking at current underperforming sports courts in your area can be a great place to start. In Fowler, Michigan, the community transformed a blighted tennis court into a shared space for tennis and Pickleball through the Pickleball Court Restoration project. The refurbished court now houses one tennis court and six Pickleball courts.
"We were able to turn an unusable eyesore into a place people can gather and exercise!" said Rhonda Feldpusch, Project Creator.
Collaboration with your local parks and recreation department can lead to new or other park space for your new sports court. Rural communities without parks and recreation departments can engage local government or county parks to see what space might be available. Consider other partnerships within your community, as well. Youth and fitness organizations may have a vested interest in your project.
Rivertown Pickleball of Southern Indiana developed a state-of-the-art Pickleball complex in collaboration with the Warrick County Parks Board. The public courts, located along the Warrick Trail System, are easily accessible for residents and visitors to enjoy, promoting recreation, health, and fitness in the small community.
Funding Your Court
Funding is obviously key to the successful design and installation of your Pickleball court. There are a wealth of options available to fund your project. Communicating your interest in a court with local entities like your parks department, local government, economic and community development agency, community foundation, nonprofit, or tourism department can help to identify opportunities for collaboration or funding that might already be available. Tapping into private funding sources, like sponsorships from local businesses or individuals can provide additional support to your project.
Read more on “Pickleball partnerships and tourism” from USA Pickleball
Beyond design and installation, there are also funding opportunities for Pickleball equipment. In 2021, USA Pickleball awarded 87 Community Grants and 24 High School Grants.Their Community Grant Program provides reimbursement for the purchase of qualified Pickleball equipment dedicated to a specific location. Their High School Grant Program provides reimbursement to USA Pickleball members for the purchase of start-up Pickleball equipment for regular high school physical education classes and after-school programs.
Patronicity’s crowdfunding platform provides an excellent opportunity to raise funds for your sports court. With one-on-one project coaching and experience in supporting similar projects, we are dedicated to helping you run a successful crowdfunding campaign.
In addition, our crowdgranting partnerships with organizations, such as the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA), and Vermont Department of Housing and Community, can provide additional project funding through matching grants for residents of those communities.
"I was approached by a member of Daviess County Pickleball asking me to support new Pickleball courts in Washington,” said Mark Williams, a local business owner from Washington, Indiana. “I agreed to support the courts by being a court sponsor. At the time I did not think they would raise enough money, however to my surprise they succeeded! With the partnership of the city, state, other local businesses, and the community, they raised the funds. This is a great example of private businesses, state and local government, and passionate people working together to bring the much needed Pickleball facility to our city. I have been out to the courts to play and have seen so many citizens enjoying the courts."
Daviess County Pickleball crowdfunded over $50,000 on Patronicity and received a matching grant from the IHCDA. The group raised funds from 62 community patrons ranging from small business owners and residents to passionate Pickleballers. Working together, the community saw their simple crowdfunding campaign become a new outdoor Pickleball complex with eight courts for public use.
Designing and Installing Your Court
USA Pickleball, the National Governing Body for the sport in the United States, has great resources for Court Construction & Surfacing and even Do It Yourself Guidelines. But beyond the size of the court and net, there are a few things you should consider as you design and install your court.
Consider how you can incorporate several recreational activities into your sports court design, like bocce ball and shuffleboard. Opening your court to multiple activities can ensure the longevity of the court, as the popularity of various sports ebb and flow in years to come. Designing a multi-use sports court can lead to a more vibrant and active environment by appealing to a wide range of community members and interests, creating more opportunity for use.
In Madison, Indiana, one group transformed an abandoned tennis court into a multi-use sport court offering tennis courts, Pickleball, shuffleboard, and bocce ball all in one.
“Since there were no tennis courts in downtown Madison, our mayor, who was very supportive, felt we should include them,” said the team behind the Madison Sport Court project: Mary Kay McCubbin, Susan Ohlendorf, Laurie Dorsey, and Kathy Crafton. “We wanted this to be a very social and fun place for our community to gather, so we decided to include tennis, shuffleboard and bocce ball, and a pavilion to make it convenient and fun to be part of the activity!”
Beyond the design of the court itself, adding lighting, seating, and shade can help create a welcoming environment. In Arlington, Vermont, Arlington Commons made sure the plans for their new pickleball courts included seating and additional gathering spaces for players and spectators to promote social activities, in addition to fitness.
We hope these best practices will help you to make the most out of your Pickleball project! From identifying your project location, gathering your funding, and engaging your community, we are here to help!
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how Patronicity can help make your Pickleball dreams come true!