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How High Is a Pickleball Net? Court Specifications & More

A close-up view of the net on a pickleball court.

TL;DR: Key points for understanding pickleball net specifications:

  • Court Size and Rules: Pickleball courts are smaller than tennis courts, enhancing playability and continuous action due to features like the non-volley zone.
  • Net Specifications: The regulation pickleball net height is 34 inches at the center and 36 inches at the sidelines, with specific design standards maintained by USA Pickleball.
  • Comparison with Tennis: Pickleball nets are slightly lower than tennis nets, with less slope from the center to the sidelines.

The specifications of a pickleball court are part of what makes this game we all love simple to learn and to play for beginners.

Smaller than tennis courts, pickleball courts make it easier to cover ground and keep the ball in play. Rules, like the kitchen or non-volley zone, also encourage continued action on the court as opposed to forceful returns that tend to quickly end active play.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these pickleball court specifications. We’ll answer questions like “How high is a pickleball net?” and “What are the differences between a pickleball and a tennis court?”

Looking down the centerline of a pickleball court, with the net prominently featured.

Pickleball Net Height and Other Important Details

Pickleball nets are one of the most important features of the court of play. The net is a physical barrier between the opposing sides, making the limits clear for every play. The net is also a barrier that stops low, hard-to-return shots from being part of the game. This key piece of court equipment takes the guesswork out of determining if a shot is valid or not.

So, what are the exact specifications of a pickleball net? How high is a pickleball net?

USA Pickleball, the country’s official governing body for the sport, maintains a detailed manual of pickleball equipment standards. In this guide, USA Pickleball notes that the top of a regulation pickleball net must be 34 inches off the ground at the center of the court. Additionally, the net needs to be 36 inches off the ground at the sidelines.

So, the height of a pickleball net is very clearly defined but is also not uniform across the entire court. In other words, the net is slightly lower in the middle and then gently rises by two inches from the middle of the court to the sideline.

That small difference can have a slight but occasionally noticeable impact on games of pickleball. A shot that would just barely make it over the net in the middle of the court would likely hit the net near the sidelines.

Pickleball Net Height vs. Tennis Net Height

Pickleball and tennis have a lot in common However, some important differences, especially in the layout of the courts, influence the style of play for each sport. When it comes to the net used in each of these racket sports, some of the similarities between the games are very clear.

We know pickleball nets reach a height of 34 inches (just under 3 feet) at the center of the court and 36 inches (3 feet) at the sidelines. In tennis, the governing body of the International Tennis Federation specifies that:

  • The top of the net should be attached to sideline posts at a height of 3 and 1/2 feet, or 42 inches.
  • The height of the net should be exactly three feet (36 inches) at the center of the court.

We can see that tennis nets are set up to be higher than pickleball nets, although the difference is only a matter of inches.

Additionally, both types of nets are higher at the sidelines than at the center of the court. However, the slope of a tennis net is somewhat steeper, going from 36 in the middle to 42 inches at the sidelines. That’s a six-inch difference instead of the two-inch difference seen in pickleball nets.

Pickleball Nets: More Important Info

Now that we understand the net height for pickleball, here are a few other important facts related to official pickleball net specifications:

  • Pickleball nets should be at least 21 feet and 9 inches long.
  • The height of a pickleball net set up for play includes a little space between the court itself and the net. The net itself should be at least 30 inches tall, while its height when set up for play ranges between 34 and 36 inches.
  • Pickleball nets are required to have a two-inch white tape binding, through which a cable or cord that helps to hold up the net passes.
  • USA Pickleball recommends but does not require a center strap for permanent pickleball nets. The center strap is used to easily adjust the net height at the center of the court.

Finding a Place to Play Pickleball

Knowing how high a pickleball net is may not give you an edge in every single game of pickleball you play. However, remembering the center net height of 34 inches can help you make sure every court you play on has the net set up in the right configuration.

Looking for a place to play pickleball? Our court locator, powered by PicklePlay, can help you find a nearby court. With more than 30,000 courts tracked, chances are you’ll find a convenient place to play pickleball near you. Find a nearby pickleball court now!

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