Besides hard courts, clay courts are so popular when people think about playing racquet sports, like tennis or pickleball. The sound of a pickleball bouncing off the clay court appeals and arouses excitement during the match.
But do you know exactly about clay courts? Can you play pickleball on clay courts? Is a har-tru court different from a red clay court?
If you are interested in finding more information about this topic, let’s read the full article below!
What Is a Clay Court?
A Clay Court Is Made From Crushed Stone And Sand
Sand and crushed stone are the main materials that make up a clay court. These components give players a solid grip when moving on the court or making fast motions. This clay surface also offers cushioning to prevent players from knee injuries, especially when they play pickleball for a long time.
You will mostly find clay courts in big games or tournaments, as they can endure significant rainfall during the match. It is an important characteristic of clay courts because if they get wet, they will become unplayable and delay the games.
Compared to hard courts, clay courts impact how you play pickleball. It brings more difficulties and requires you to practice frequently to get acquainted.
However, it’s also easy to construct clay courts in different areas, like the community playground or private houses, as long as they have enough space.
Can You Play Pickleball on Clay Courts (A Clay Tennis Courts)?
On a smaller scale, players only play pickleball on hard courts like other racquet sports. However, since pickleball has become so well-liked in the United States and other nations, clay courts are commonly found in many tournaments and matches.
Therefore, you can play pickleball on a clay court, although it may have some challenges. You will need to practice regularly on clay courts to get used to it and bounce off pickleball better.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Pickleball On Clay Courts?
The top-most benefit is safety. Compared to hard courts, which are tough for movements, clay courts offer a softer surface that is good for muscle treatment, especially knee, hip, and ankle muscles.
People who practice for an extended time should play on clay courts to reduce the risk of osteoarthritis and other injuries.
Secondly, playing on clay courts gives you extra excitement. Do you know why? Many players who have played on clay courts for a long time experience that the clay surface makes the ball bounce off slowly, leading to longer rallies.
The game becomes more competitive and interesting because they have to strike back at their opponents longer, making it more intense and exciting.
Clay Courts Are More Affordable
Besides, a clay court brings many unique challenges because of its surface. It slows down your footwork and makes your bounce-off less predictable because the ball can change direction suddenly after hitting the clay surface.
Ultimately, clay courts are more affordable than hard ones. You may need about $30,000-$75,000 to construct a clay court, while it can cost up to $120,000 for a concrete court.
Clay courts make the ball direction quite unpredictable due to the slow pace generated by the clay surface. It’s a good thing, but it also has some drawbacks. The bounces often get uneven, so you will find it difficult to predict where the ball travels.
If you fail, you will lose points and be defeated by your opponents. So, practice bouncing the ball many times and remember the force you generate after each serve.
Further, though a clay court is cheaper than a concrete one, its maintenance is quite costly. It requires regular upkeep to protect the surface and hold water if there’s rain during the game.
Tips to Play Pickleball on A Clay Court
Wear Specialized Shoes
Wearing The Right Shoes Helps You Play Better
The clay court’s surface is often slick and becomes an obstacle for players. So, wearing shoes that offer strong grip and traction is imperative. To provide the best stability while pacing the court, look for shoes made specialized for playing on clay surfaces.
Use Spin Paddles
A Spin Paddle Can Improve Your Game
The ball bounces off on clay courts unpredictably, making it difficult to strike back with a powerful shot. Therefore, a spin paddle helps you alter the ball speed and manage your serves.
Depending on your demands, you can choose either topspin or underspin. If you want to know which type suits your technique, test them to get the result.
Due to the softest surface and slow pace, playing pickleball on clay courts requires careful footwork. If you immediately play on this court without understanding its features, you will fall or lose your balance when moving rapidly.
Therefore, first, you need to regularly practice playing on clay courts, exercise warm-up workouts, and shuffle side to side, so your footwork can get used to the soft surface and keep balance.
Change Your Strategies
Players have to always adjust their tactics when playing pickleball on clay courts. The soft surface of clay courts slows down the ball’s speed, leading to its direction changes. Predicting where the ball travels is difficult and sometimes impossible due to its fluctuation.
So, before each match, you should learn and remember how fast the ball goes on clay courts and prepare for unexpected shots.
Red Har-Tru Courts vs Clay Courts – What’s the Difference?
Red Clay Courts
It’s Easier To Manage Shots On Red Clay Courts
Red clay courts are traditional surfaces in professional tournaments, like the French Open. This red clay court offers natural softness due to its crushed brick components, making the ball bounce higher, slower, and easy to predict. The shot is not challenging, so it’s beneficial for you to control the ball’s direction and make strategic strokes.
However, the significant softness of red clay surfaces is also a drawback. Its consistency depends mostly on weather conditions and maintenance. It’s difficult for players to execute their consistent playing techniques because they have to be always ready to change their strategies.
Har-Tru Courts Are More Expensive Than Other Clay Courts
Har-Tru is a well-known brand of clay courts. Its material is crushed green stone, which is softer than crushed brick. A great advantage of Har-Tru courts is that they give players consistency.
Har-Tru courts do not depend on weather conditions, so their surface offers a high level of stability, which keeps the ball’s bounce and speed unchanged.
A Har-Tru court provides the greatest safety to players. Its surface helps reduce the risk of injuries by enhancing footwork when moving over the court.
On the other hand, the price of Har-Tru courts is something you need to consider. Because this court has a specialized nature surface, constructing and maintaining it is more pricey than a red clay court.
Why do People Love to Play on Clay Courts?
Clay Courts Increase Players’ Experience
Clay courts provide the softest surface for pickleball players, making their footwork smoother but solid on the clay. Clay courts also reduce the risk of knee injuries by lowering the game pace and requiring players to slow down the speed.
However, this slow pace does not make the game less interesting. Instead, it makes the ball direction more challenging, boosting extra excitement for the match. That’s why many people love to play on clay courts, and pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.
Are Clay Courts Harder To Play On?
Yes, playing pickleball on clay courts is more tricky for players who make a fresh start with this sport. Due to the ball’s direction to move slowly and unpredictably across clay courts, players must be more accurate at hitting shots.
What Pickleball Is Best For Har-Tru Courts?
Selecting the right ball to play pickleball is crucial. Since clay courts provide an extra soft surface, you should avoid a ball with a high softness level. The ball will travel more inconsistently if lightweight, especially on swift shots.
We advise getting a heavyweight ball when playing on clay courts, such as the great ball from Dura Fast or Onix Pure 2.
What Is The Best Floor For Pickleball?
According to professional players’ experiences, a nice concrete or gym floor is the best floor for pickleball. You can convert it into an ideal pickleball court as it offers a hard surface for better bounces, which is advantageous in competitive tournaments.
Moreover, constructing durable gym flooring provides extra striping, expert coatings, and other key factors that ensure an excellent experience in playing pickleball.
Can you play pickleball on clay courts? The answer is YES, as you will find it easy to play on them. However, some players do not like the feeling when moving on clay courts because they slow down the speed and require higher accuracy.
You will soon get used to clay courts and play efficiently by practicing your footwork daily and wearing clay court shoes. When you realize the benefits of clay courts, we believe you will like them.
>>See more: Can You Play Pickleball On A Racquetball Court?