Pickleball Net Height vs. Tennis Net Height | Key Differences & Other Considerations
If you play tennis regularly on public courts, you’ve likely encountered other players using a tennis court to play pickleball.
While pickleball and tennis share certain aspects in common, there are key differences that make each sport unique. One of those important differences is how the net is set up in each game.
Read on to find out how the net plays a significant role in each sport and to find the optimal court configuration to improve your game!
What is the Correct Pickleball Net Height?
According to the USA Pickleball Rulebook & Official Rules, a pickleball net should be 34 inches high in the center and 36 inches high at each net post on the sidelines.
A center strap is recommended for pickleball nets to facilitate easy net adjustment to the proper height.
Pickleball Net Height vs. Tennis Net Height
In tennis, the net should be attached to two side posts that are 42 inches high. The net should be 36 inches at the tennis court's center.
Compared to the pickleball net height, a tennis net is two inches higher in the center and eight inches higher on either sideline.
At the center, the difference is minor. However, there is a significant height difference in tennis at the net posts compared to pickleball.
Pickleball Net Width vs. Tennis Net Width
In pickleball, the net width should be at least 21 feet & 9 inches extending from either post, sideline to sideline.
In tennis, the net is 42 feet wide for doubles and 33 feet wide for singles. The big difference is because tennis courts are significantly wider than pickleball courts.
Pickleball & Tennis Net Similarities
While there are fundamental differences in the correct net measurements in each sport, nets in pickleball and tennis share several things in common:
- Both use white tape to cover the cable that holds the top of the net together
- They are made of a mesh material that prevents balls from passing through during play
- Each net is secured and strapped in the center to maintain regulation height
- Pickleball nets & tennis nets are lower at the center of the net
- Both are attached to posts on either sideline that hold the net up
- You can typically adjust each net easily
- Both nets play an essential role in strategy and how each sport is played
Why Are Pickleball And Tennis Nets Lower in the Middle?
Pickleball and tennis nets are naturally lower at the center because either court is not wide enough to stretch the net to the same length across its height. Also, there would need to be significantly higher tension pulling in each direction at both net posts to maintain an even height.
How Does the Dip At The Center of the Net Affect Each Sport?
Since the net is lowest at the center in both pickleball and tennis, hitting the ball over the center of the net crosscourt is safer than hitting down the line near the net posts.
In tennis, this is why most neutral rallies are hit crosscourt over the center between each player.
In pickleball, this is why a crosscourt dink is commonly used in the kitchen to neutralize a rally when a player finds themselves in a defensive position.
In either case, the lower net height at the center is an essential element influencing strategy and how points are played.
Fun Fact: Originally, the founders of pickleball positioned the net at the badminton net height of 60 inches before lowering the net to 36 inches!
Can You Use A Tennis Net For Pickleball?
Although it isn’t ideal, if you’re in a crunch, you can use a tennis net as a pickleball net by lowering its height.
Alternatively, many public tennis facilities store portable pickleball nets onsite. Just make sure to put them away after playing so tennis players can enjoy the court after you!
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