Pickleball is a popular game thanks to its exciting, fast pace, relatively simple rules, and because it can be played nearly anywhere. Although most people play on courts specifically designed for pickleball, other players use modified tennis or badminton courts.
Many people also enjoy setting up their own backyard pickleball court. This often leads people to wonder if pickleball can be played on grass. You can play pickleball on grass, but playing on this surface does present some challenges.
One of the benefits to playing pickleball on grass is that, if you have a large enough backyard, you can set up a game wherever you like. Playing pickleball on grass also allows you the option of starting a quick game in a local park.
Playing on grass makes setting up relatively simple, and it means that you can have a working pickleball court ready in a matter of minutes or hours, instead of having to install a concrete or asphalt surface or renovate an existing tennis or badminton court.
If you want to play a casual pickleball game on grass, you can also adjust the dimensions of the court so they suit you. If you have a small area, for example, you can slightly scale down the size of the court so it fits in the space you have available.
However, there are a few challenges when it comes to setting up a pickleball court on grass. First, it can be more difficult to paint even lines on grass. You’ll also need to repaint the lines when they wear off due to weather or after mowing the grass.
Using a strong, outdoor spray paint can make the lines last longer, but they’ll still need to be repainted periodically. You can also use tape to create the court boundaries, but tape can come undone.
You’ll also need to keep the grass trimmed relatively short. Although this isn’t too difficult, cutting your grass too short can damage the grass blades, and this can cause brown patches. The grass will, therefore, need to be mowed carefully each time.
Pickleball is usually played with a plastic ball, similar in shape and appearance to a whiffleball, and the court is generally a hard, flat surface. The surface of the pickleball court needs to be hard so that the plastic ball will bounce well.
Many points in pickleball are actually scored due to bounces, and several rules include necessary bounces, so how the ball bounces is an essential part of a pickleball game.
A plastic ball tends to have much less bounce on a soft surface like grass or dirt. Cutting the grass shorter can help, but it still won’t create as much bounce as is generally necessary for the game.
Therefore, if you want to play pickleball on grass, you’ll need to choose a ball with more bounce. Solid rubber balls are often the best option. Foam pickleballs are also available, and these also work well on grass.
Rubber balls are harder than regular pickleballs, so you might also need to swap out your rackets. You’ll need to make sure you’re using rackets that can withstand the force of a heavier ball without breaking. If you use a foam ball or another ball that’s specifically designed for playing pickleball, you probably won’t need to change out your racket.
Slippery or Uneven Surfaces
Grass can be uneven, and this presents a challenge when playing pickleball. When playing on grass, choose a site for the court that’s as even as possible, without any bumps or dips. Neither side of the court should be higher than the other.
You’ll also want to look out for any holes in the earth. Holes can be dangerous, as they can cause sprained ankles or other injuries if you trip into one while running to hit the ball.
An even surface is not only safer for play, but it will also provide more bounce and will make it easier to predict the trajectory of the ball.
Grass can also be a drawback when playing because it can be slippery. Grass itself doesn’t provide as much traction as harder surfaces like concrete, but if it’s damp from rain or dew, it can cause you to slide as you run or jump.
Pickleball often requires fast, precise movements, so grass can sometimes slow down the speed of play and may make it harder to get the shots you want.
What are the best surfaces for pickleball?
Although pickleball can be played on grass, it’s not ideal. Only casual games should be played on a soft surface like grass. This medium is a great way to practice playing or perfect your serves, but it can actually make playing a good game more challenging.
Instead, it’s best to set up a pickleball court on a flat, hard surface. Concrete, asphalt, or wood are the best surfaces. Tennis court tiles are also a good option, and they can be laid on any flat surface.
If you want to play pickleball in your backyard but you don’t want to play on grass, these tiles are often a great compromise. The tiles snap into place and can be used nearly anywhere. They offer great traction and provide plenty of ball bounce.
If you choose to use tennis tiles or another portable court surface, remember to anchor the surface well to keep it from shifting and reduce the risk of injury. Although they can be set up over any flat surface, tennis court tiles work best when placed over concrete or asphalt.