FindItMore | It’s a no-brainer that you need lighting for any tennis court. First, the obvious reasons are that players can actually see what they’re doing during late matches. The same goes for the umpire. Furthermore, tennis courts can be used for practice all day and all night if said court has a good lighting system installed. This can help the court earn some extra money, which can go towards its improvement. The ball should be visible at all times, no matter its speed or location.
What people don’t understand is just how complex the actual lighting system is. It’s not enough to place a couple of reflectors and call it a day. No, appropriate lighting levels on a professional tennis court require much more. It’s quite often set up by professional engineers who specialize in this field.
Before a lighting system is set up, there are a couple of things that need to be taken into account. First of all, the standard of play. This obviously influences the actual dimensions of the court, the illumination levels… Then, costs in regard to maintenance, heating, cooling, installation costs… You also need to take into consideration access to a regular power supply, and, of course, the time of day and the season in which the tennis match will take place. However, your best bet is usually to just contact a good lighting professional, like Legacy Sports Lighting for example, and listen to their advice.
Without going into too much detail, there are a couple of terms that we will be using in the second half of this article which may prove useful to you.
So, first, have horizontal illuminance. This is the amount of light that covers the court. The unit of measure is usually lux or foot-candle, and horizontal illuminance is presented through Eh. Then, uniformity of illuminance, which describes the evenness of the light that covers the surface of the court. Uniformity of illuminance is presented through Emin/Eh . Colour temperature is the actual color of the light source, expressed in Kelvins. Glare is essentially direct and intense brightness, coming either from the light source or having said light source be reflected off a surface.
Achieving proper lighting levels – introduction
Now, depending on the National Association and the Government said association is set in, there are different lighting requirements and recommendations. These lighting Standards, regulated by the European Standard for Sports Lighting, determine both higher light level quality, as well as taking into account that viewing distance between spectators and the actual field. The higher the level of competition, the more people will be willing to watch the match, meaning more complex lighting arrangements are needed.
Achieving proper lighting levels-General information
Now, the general lighting levels regarding horizontal luminance depend on the size of the total playing area, and the principal playing area (a perimeter within one meter of the perimeter of the court). The lighting level in the spectator box should be around 10 lux. The average value of horizontal illuminance should be 500 for top-level matches, 300 for Class II matches, and 200 for Class III. As far as Uniformity of Illuminance is concerned, the value of Emin/Eh ave should be 0.7 for Class III, while 0.8 is necessary for both Classes I and II.
In order to get the right lighting levels on the court, you need to maintain a fine balancing act between getting the right amount of light and avoiding glare. When setting up the proper systems, remember the proper mounting height for your lights. Somewhere between 8 and 12 meters is adequate. You are to place two to four (depends how much light is needed) columns on the longitudinal sides. The poles, or columns, should be set in a manner which won’t obstruct the players, and which can make the players unlikely to collide with said poles or columns.
Many behind the scenes things are important if you want to set up a good lighting level. From the positioning of poles and columns to understanding the various elements needed to get the best environment possible both for the players, and the spectators, you need to do your homework.