Lack of proper access and accommodations often damages adaptive equipment. Repairs typically cost on average $120/hour + parts often costing $1000’s. Please remember, assistive equipment is considered part of the para-athlete’s body and is often very expensive to replace or may not be covered by medical insurance. For example, medicare often considers wheelchairs and prosthetics a luxury. Please respect the need, equipment and let’s “Rock N Roll.”
Inclusive Design Considerations:
1) Surface of an Adapted Court: Para-Pickleball accommodates the most severe disabilities requiring an equal playing surface for all athletes. An adapted pickleball court should not include Deco Turf or any other cushioned surface impacting mobility maneuvers. This includes impacts on the residual and affected limbs of adaptive athletes. These surfaces along with any rubberized materials limits wheelchair propulsion and movement/activation of prosthetics as well as other assistive devices commonly used in adaptive pickleball.
2) Tennis Court Conversions: Only one adapted-pickleball court should be included in a tennis court conversion. For all tennis court conversions, it is one adapted-pickleball court per tennis court.
3) Basketball Court and Gym Placement of Adapted Pickleball Courts: Only one adapted-pickleball court should be included in a basketball court. Measurements for equipment and seating should not be included within the adapted-court measurements.
4) Access to and from court should provide an unobstructed, level surface with slope no greater than 1:12. This should include access to ALL courts through ALL gates with at least a 5′ to 6′ wide path to and from courts. Gate entrance should be as wide as pathway to accommodate sport wheelchairs with canted wheels. A 6′ wide path is preferred. Players should not be required to traverse through another court to get to the other side of their court. Access to courts should provide a level pathway and directly connect both sides of the court. This is especially critical in sports like pickleball and tennis, in which changing sides of the court is part of the game.
5) Accessible hydration/fountain: Many paralysis survivors do not sweat so nearby accessible hydration is crucial.
6) Accessible approach to all seating and benches with seat height minimum of 17 inches to a maximum of 19 inches above the finished floor. Benches should have back support. Back support should not be impeded by bars. Benches should be strong enough to withstand a vertical or horizontal force of 250 pounds applied at any point on the seat, fastener, mounting device, or supporting structure. At least 5′ path to all seating or preferred 6′ path. A 60″ diameter turning circle is reccomended around any fixed obstacle, including benches, to allow for unobstructed access.
7) Team Seating Area: All seating should provide back support. Please remember paved access to team seating areas as well as wheelchair seating. This allows all athletes an area to prepare for game, store equipment bags (off ground), stretch, join in conversation, huddles and socialization. Compliant ADA bleachers are also suggested. https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/recreation-facilities/guides/sports-facilities/team-player-seating-areas
8) Adapted court size to allow for wheelchair and para-rules with 12′ beyond sidelines and 15′ beyond baselines. Please allow 7′ for accommodating an inclusive seating area.
NOTE: The adaptive court design also recommended by USA Pickleball Association and American Sports Builder Association is in “Pickleball Courts: A Construction & Maintenance Manual 2017,” Ch 4, 45-48 (2017)
9) Lockers and Equipment: Please allow extra room for wheelchairs, prosthetics and other adaptive equipment and assistive devices as needed. If places are not marked, other items such as people, bags and other equipment often takes up the allocated spaces. Hanging hooks should be at accessible level no higher than 48”. Lockers should be placed in an area that allows full door swing and wheelchair turning ability. Lockers shall be placed in a location at least 24″ away from any wall or other obstacle and have a minimum clear floor space of 30″ x 48″ with a 10″ minimum for door swing. The area in front of the locker must be clear within a 60″ diameter turning circle to allow for unobstructed access.
10) For more information on ADA design standards including standards for recreation facilities please visit the United States Access Board at https://www.access-board.gov. For more information on access standards for recreation facilities please visit: https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/recreation-facilities/guides/sports-facilities.