If you come from a tennis background or ever watched the French Open, you have noticed that they were playing on a court made of clay. These courts can be beneficial for tennis, but can you play pickeball on clay courts?
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What Is a Clay Court
A clay court is a tennis or pickleball court where the surface is made out of crushed stone, brick, shale, or Har-Tru. If you’ve seen clay courts, it’s most likely an earthy red, green or blue color, but looks and plays completely different than the more common concrete or asphalt court.
Can You Play Pickleball On Clay Courts?
Yes, you can play pickleball on a clay court. There are even tournaments starting to take place on clay courts.
Here’s a tournament back in 2017 where Frank Anthony Davis and Jarrett Chirico battle against Ben Johns and Jeff Siegel in a doubles tournament on clay.
I wouldn’t recommend clay courts for beginner pickleball players since asphalt and concrete are much more common, and there are some slight differences in how the ball and your feet perform on clay versus asphalt.
Clay Courts vs. Asphalt Courts
Because the clay is a loose, crushed stone, there will be a lot of sliding, especially for lateral movements, compared to the asphalt, where you can set your feet.
Apparently, the sliding is supposed to help conserve energy, but on a small pickleball court, I couldn’t see clay making a huge difference.
Furthermore, the ball is going to perform very differently on clay vs asphalt. Dink shots and drops land extremely soft in the clay and can bounce in any direction.
Clay courts require better reflexes compared to asphalt, where you get more consistent bounces.
One benefit of a clay compared to an asphalt court is the ball leaves and indentation in the clay so you can be confident on line calls.
Another difference between clay court and asphalt courts are the lines. Usually, lines are painted on a pickleball court made of asphalt. However, on clay courts, they are plastic or wood boards that are nailed into the ground. The uneven surface can cause the call to bounce any direction.
Are Clay Pickleball Court Dimensions the Same as Asphalt Court Dimensions?
Yes, the dimensions of a clay pickleball court must meet the regulation pickleball court dimensions, especially if the court is being used for tournament play.
Best Pickleball Ball For Clay Courts.
Ball selection is key to playing pickleball on clay. The softer the ball is, the more inconsistent it’s going to perform, especially on short shots.
The Onix Pure 2 outdoor is the best pickleball ball for courts made of clay. It’s slightly heavier and firmer than the Dura Fast.
If you’re a beginner or even intermediate player, I wouldn’t recommend clay courts since they’re so rare, but If you’re a tournament player and you have a tournament scheduled on clay, it’s worth getting a couple of matches in before the tournament to see the difference in how the ball and you shoes perform on the surface.