LED lights are characterized by excellent energy efficiency, low maintenance, high quality performance and superior longevity. Given the way pickleball is played – with a small ball that is ping-ponged at high speeds – high quality lighting is necessary for an enjoyable pickleball experience.
No matter where your pickleball courts are being installed – parks, recreation centers, neighborhoods, competitive facilities – LED lighting can provide the kind of high-quality light that even the professionals can play by.
Five Reasons to Consider LED Lighting for Pickleball Courts
LED fixtures have been adapted for a variety of sports lighting applications. With the rapid rise in pickleball’s popularity, they are ideal for pickleball courts, too. If you’re planning a pickleball project, here are five reasons to consider LEDs:
- Energy efficiency – LED lighting has proven to be the most efficient lighting technology on the market. If you measure energy efficiency using a watt-to-lumen ratio, which compares the amount of light produced with every unit of energy, LED lighting is more than twice as efficient as a system running on metal halides. However, this does not capture the whole picture because metal halides emit illumination in an omnidirectional pattern. To make this light useful for pickleball, it needs to be reflected back down to ground level. Up to 30 percent of the original illumination output is wasted in this way. On the other hand, LEDs are directional in nature, so they emit light in a tighter spread. This makes it easier for installers to aim the fixture and ensure as much light as possible reaches the court. LEDs are vastly superior to metal halides in this area.
- Low maintenance design – LED lights require almost zero maintenance once they are installed. They offer excellent durability against impact and in all weather conditions. They tolerate heat and cold extremely well. They are built with electrical components (the driver) that also last longer than those used with fluorescent fixtures (the ballast, for example).With an LED pickleball lighting system, your organization will save money on maintenance calls and achieve a rapid return on investment (ROI).
- Flexible lighting distribution – LED lights are available in several light distribution patterns, and a few are purpose-built for sports venues. Type III LEDs, for example, throw their light forward from the fixture, so the pole can be positioned well off the field of play. Type III lights are also a popular choice because they emit minimal backlight, which prevents light pollution and trespass onto neighboring properties.
- High quality performance – Early LED lights lagged in performance, but as the technology has been perfected, this problem has been resolved. Modern LED lighting systems are now prized for their high-intensity, even illumination that leaves no dead spots or hotspots. This is extremely important for pickleball courts and other high-paced sports venues. For safe play, pickleball lighting must maintain a 2.0 min/max ratio. This means the brightest part of the court cannot be more than twice as bright as the dimmest part of the court. This ensures players do not have to readjust their vision as they move around the play area.LED lighting is better at staying within these tight tolerances than other lighting options.
- Unmatched longevity – Once a fixture’s output – in lumens – has dropped by at least 30 percent, the lamp is no longer considered usable. Metal halides reach this mark much faster than LEDs, so even though they appear extremely bright when first installed, they will be noticeably dimmer by the 10,000-hour mark. By 15,000 hours, most metal halides require replacement. On average, LED lights will provide 50,000 to 100,000 hours of high-quality performance before they hit the 30 percent mark. That means an LED lamp will last for years between replacement, even if operated around the clock, 365 days a year.
Designing an LED Lighting System for Pickleball Courts
Every sports lighting system is designed according to the playing field’s dimensions. This is also true of pickleball courts. The USA Pickleball association has standardized the size of a pickleball court at 20’ (width) x 44’ (length). The dimensions of the entire court area – including the outer boundary – is around 30’ x 60’.
Four LED fixtures mounted on poles at least 20 feet high can sufficiently illuminate the area. The extra height is necessary to maintain visibility on the ball as it’s hit up into the air.
If your project includes multiple courts, you will need to scale up the number of fixtures. Standard practice is to install LED lights between pickleball courts and distribute their illumination across both. You will still need a pair of lighting poles on the outside edges of each court, but with this approach, six poles can light two courts, eight can light three, and so on.
Why High-Quality Lighting is Important for Pickleball Courts
USA Pickleball makes its lighting recommendations based on the level of play. Professional players require brighter lighting than club players, who require better light than recreational players. This is because the ball is hit harder and higher at top levels.
Regardless of the level of play, though, there are a few reasons why it is important to invest in quality lighting fixtures. For example:
- Safety – Pickleball players can be injured if they cannot track the ball well. With high visibility lighting, players of all ages can follow the ball’s movements without having to adjust their eyes during the game.
- Extended play hours – If you are expecting people to use the court during and after sunset, you will need pickleball court lighting that can overcome low light conditions. A high-quality LED lighting solution ensures your players can volley through the night.
- Better play experience – High visibility lighting supports a better game experience, as players can react and perform better. Further, professionally installed LED systems are designed with zero glare, which means zero distraction on the court.
LED Lighting Can Be a Game Changer for Pickleball Courts
LED technology is established as the future of sports lighting, pickleball included. LEDs energy efficiency, performance, and longevity have them ahead of the game, so to speak.
If your pickleball courts are in the planning phase, or construction is underway, a trusted LED lighting expert can match the right fixtures to your project and ensure they are installed with precision.