Pickleball is a fantastic game for both backyard barbeques and professional pickleball tournaments. However, it’s not always easy to get a flat, hard surface to play on. So can pickleball be played on grass?
You can indeed play pickleball on grass. Although you’ll need to change a couple of things, which will result in a different, more casual game.
So how is pickleball on grass different from on a hardcourt surface? There’s a lot to know about playing this fantastic game and how to play it on grass or another soft surface. Read on to find out everything you need to know about if you can play pickleball on grass.
What is Pickleball?
Since it’s a relatively recent invention, many people don’t even know what pickleball is. So what is pickleball? Pickleball is a sport that combines some aspects of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. Played over a net with a paddle and a plastic ball, pickleball is a fantastic game for people of all ages and levels of experience.
Pickleball is typically played on a hard court surface, such as a tennis court, basketball court, or asphalt blacktop. This gives the plastic ball (which does have holes, making it a bit slower and less bouncy) a little more bounce and momentum as it’s hit back and forth between the two teams.
Read an in-depth article here: What Is Pickleball?
Challenges of playing on grass
Before you start, you must recognize that a few challenges come with playing pickleball on grass. This is why the game is designed for harder surfaces. However, without access to a badminton court, basketball court, or blacktop, you won’t be able to play on a hard surface. That being said, don’t give up! Just realize there are some challenges you’ll need to overcome.
One of the first things that make playing pickleball in the grass difficult is how uneven grass can be. After all, people don’t want to cut their lawns every day, and the way grass naturally grows will make them uneven and a difficult surface to play on.
Beyond this, the actual land of your lawn could be uneven as well, making it an imperfect pickleball court. Try to find the flattest possible area of your lawn to play on before you set up, like pits, ditches, and slopes can make the game unfair or unplayable.
Your plastic ball will have a lot less bounce on grass than it will on a harder surface. They are plastic and filled with holes, making them very light. Because of this, they have a very difficult time bouncing off of a soft lawn. This will be one of the main difficulties you encounter when playing pickleball on grass instead of a hard surface.
I would recommend using these balls: Spalding High Bounce Ball.
The grass is also harder to run on than hard surfaces, meaning that the players’ reaction times will be a bit slower than they’d be in a typical pickleball game. This won’t matter if you’re playing casually, but it’s not great for extremely serious tournament play.
You’ll also need to paint lines to know where and how to stand and score when playing pickleball. This can be a headache, but lawn paint is widely available and can be washed off after playing, so you don’t have to have a permanent pickleball court on your front lawn.
Better surfaces for pickleball
There are plenty of great surfaces for playing pickleball. Usually, it will be played on a hard surface where a net can be set up. Popular surfaces are asphalt blacktops, basketball courts, gyms, tennis courts, and other hard surfaces where sports are played.
Want to play on a tennis court? Read this first: Can You Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court?
There are often dedicated pickleball courts with the proper net heights, measurements, and paint already on them in areas where pickleball is popular. These are the ideal locations to play pickleball!
What to change for playing on grass
To play pickleball in the grass, you’ll need to make a couple of changes to the original game to make it make sense for you.
Firstly, you’ll need to change the ball. As we’ve gone over, one of the main challenges of playing pickleball in the grass is that the soft plastic ball will have a hard time bouncing off the soft grass surface. Many pickleball players who play in the grass use a rubber ball to counter this. You can, for example, use Spalding High Bounce Ball.
The heavier rubber ball will bounce more off of the dirt than the grass and have an easier time bouncing and keeping momentum due to being bouncier and a bit heavier.
You’ll also want to cut your lawn as short as you can, as close to when you’re planning on playing as you can. A shorter lawn will be far easier to run around on, bounce balls off, and paint on, making it a far better pickleball-playing experience.
Is playing pickleball on grass popular?
Playing pickleball on the grass is more popular than you might think. There is a whole league that not only prefers it but thinks that pickleball should be played on grass!
They are called the U.S.L.P.A, or the United States Lawn Pickleball Association. This group, founded in Park City, Utah, hosts outdoor pickleball tournaments on the grass!
Although not the preferred method for many of the best and most professional pickleball players, there are enough pickleball players who prefer grass to show you that playing pickleball in the grass is not only doable but fun as well!
Read more here: Is Pickleball a Professional Sport?
So, if you want to play pickleball but don’t have access to a hard court, don’t fret! It’s possible to play a super fun and competitive game of pickleball in the grass. Many prefer grass over hard surfaces.
Just make sure your lawn is cut short, your lines are painted, and you switch out your plastic ball for a rubber one, and you can have the perfect pickleball grass court!