Multi-Sport Game Lines

It's common to walk onto a gym floor and see an array of colorful game lines going in every direction. And sometimes, these multi-sport game lines may cause your eyeballs to go fuzzy. Hardwood maple sports courts are generally large enough to host multiple sports. These different sports of course have different rules and game line standards.

It actually makes a lot of sense once you understand how the game lines sit. This post aims to make sense of the chaotic order of multi-sport game lines.

Reasons for Multi-Sport Game Lines

All school and recreation center gym floors routinely see a lot of traffic. Because gym floors aren’t just used for the big game anymore. In fact your sports floor is probably used for practice, tournaments, and other sports or events. 

As you walk onto a basketball court you readily see the basketball game lines (the key, the 3-point arc, etc). In a different color, you can see another set of game lines as a set of three adjacent rectangles toward the center of the court and away from the main basketball game standards. Almost every floor that QHF Sports paints has a main basketball and main volleyball layout. This is because most schools will have a basketball and volleyball team that shares the home court. 

It is also common to have game standards that run perpendicular to the main game lines. Most large schools will have side basketball and volleyball game lines to use for practice or tournaments. These side game standards will typically be lighter and in a different color so as not to confuse with the main game lines. 

Gym floors will also feature multi-sport game lines: 4-square, pickleball, badminton and agility dots and ladders. These other game lines are prominent in middle schools and community rec. facilities.

pickle ball game being played
Multi-game lines on a rec court
ymca with multiple game standards

Making Sense of Multiple Game Lines

Hosting that many sports, a gym floor can be very confusing at first. One would think athletes will become lost. Athletes and game officials alike often do get confused, especially when game lines share colors or lines.  So how do they get it right? 

Every gym floor with multiple game standards will always have a dominant set (usually basketball) of game lines.  One can normally see 2” main basketball lines clearly. These sit on top, unbroken by other game standards. Volleyball game standards are smaller and toward the center of the floor, again, in a contrasting color to easily differentiate. This secondary game standard goes under, or breaks, when it crosses the path of the dominant game standards. These and subsequent game standards follow a hierarchy.

Game Line Hierarchy

The MFMA agrees with our above statement: maple gym flooring with multi-sport game lines should have one dominant game line. Other game lines that cross the main game line will “break”.  A game line break is a ¾” to 1” gap between the main game line and the secondary game line. Dominant game lines also remain on top when sharing a game line with a secondary sport. 

Click here to see examples of game-line heirarchy in-place on recently done QHF Sports projects.

multi sport game line break
rec floor with multiple game lines

The photo to the left illustrates game line hierarchy when the floor hosts different sports. Typically, the basketball lines that run the length of the maple floor will lay on top of other lines, unbroken. Sports courts traditionally have the main basketball game lines as the dominant standards. In the photo the main basketball game lines are black. 

Main volleyball lines (white in above photo) typically take 2nd priority in the game line hierarchy of the gym floor. However, main volleyball standards will go through logos and the key unbroken. Notice that the white volleyball lines in the photo only break for the black main basketball game lines.

Following these, the blue side basketball game lines break for both of the main basketball and volleyball lines. The dark green pickleball lines break for all other game lines. One can see the pickle ball lines turn black as they share the same line with the main basketball lines.

Shadow Lines

Multi-sport game lines often cross large areas of paint or stain such as the basketball court keys and large center court logos. Game standards that cross large areas of paint will typically transition to shadow lines. A shadow line maintains the 2” inch width of the game standard but is shown as two parallel ¼” “natural” (negative) lines. These shadow lines keep the game standard but allow a logo or large paint area to keep its look.

shadow lines through center logo

Evolving Standards

In the past almost every foul in basketball led to a jump ball.  In recent years however, jump circles simply start the basketball game. The remainder of the regulation game does not use the center jump circle. Due to this, many facilities ask QHF to simply mark the center jump circle with a ½” wide circle.  

Additionally, the jump circles that used to be in the keys now only have a half of the full diameter of the jump circle that sits at the top of the key. Occasionally, a dashed line completes the circle through the paint.  Dashed lines are also used to mark side practice 3 point areas but not the main floor.

Need Additional Game Lines?

Over time coaches may want or need additional multi-sport game lines. Many times coaches will simply tape the floor for practice purposes. However, applying adhesive tape to the gym floor can ruin the hardwood finish. QHF warns against doing so. Call the QHF pros today if you need multi-sport game lines.

Set The Standard

Reach out to a QHF professional about adding game standards to your sports floor.