Pickleball net height is 36 inches on the sides and 34 inches in the middle of the net. This two-inch difference between the sides and middle is due to the expected sagging in the net.
Due to the increasing popularity of this sport, many people are keen to know about pickleball scoring rules, court sizes, net height, and most importantly its similarity with tennis. Both sports have somewhat similar sets of rules and playing formats too. Due to these key similarities between pickleball and tennis, many people wonder if they can use tennis nets for playing pickleball and the answer is, YES. We can use tennis nets for pickleball after making some adjustments to the width and height of the net. Though there aren’t many discrepancies between pickleball and tennis. Still, there are slight differences in the net height and width of both sports.
The standard height of a pickleball net is somehow lower than a tennis net. Tennis nets are also wider than pickleball nets. Here the question arises how much lower is the pickleball net?
Tennis Net Height vs Pickleball Net Height:
Pickleball nets are slightly lower than tennis nets. Tennis nets are set at 42 inches in height from the sides and 36 inches high in the middle. The pickleball net is 36 inches high from the sides and two inches lower (34 inches) in the middle. It shows that there is more sagging in tennis nets with a difference of around 6 inches. But pickleball nets are set sturdier with only 2 inches difference between the sides and middle of the net.
This slight (2 inches) difference in height in the middle and 6 inches (half a foot) difference at corners greatly impact both sports. Due to this difference in net height certain game rules also vary.
Tennis Net Width vs Pickleball Net Width:
Tennis nets are set wider for both doubles and singles matches. The tennis net is set 42 feet wide for doubles matches and around 33 feet wide for single matches. That is mainly because tennis courts are bigger in size than pickleball courts.
On the other hand, pickleball net width is the same for both doubles and singles matches. The Pickleball net is set at around 20 feet in width with an addition of 1 foot on each side.
Other than net height and width differences there are some other differences including ball size, weight and scoring rules, etc.
There are many other differences between tennis and pickleball including court dimensions, racket types, and ball weights. But the key differences between tennis nets and pickleball nets are listed below.
- Pickleball net height is lower than Tennis nets both at the middle and side posts
- Pickleball Nets (around 22 feet wide) are less wide than tennis nets (42 feet wide).
- A tennis net is more sturdy than a pickleball net.
- Pickleball nets are the same for singles and doubles matches. Whereas tennis nets have different sizes for both types of matches.
- The side supporting posts are smaller in pickleball due to the smaller net height.
There are many similarities between pickleball and tennis including point scoring, court shape, and rules. But here are key similarities between the tennis net and the pickleball net.
- Both nets are made out of mesh material.
- Both pickleball and tennis nets are strapped at the center to maintain standard height.
- Both nets are made from almost the same material including metal tape (covered with two-inch white tape) running through the top.
Court and Gear differences:
Other than net width and height, there are some other differences between pickleball and tennis. One of the major differences is court size. Tennis courts are larger in area. For example, four pickleball courts can be made from one tennis court for doubles matches.
The standard size of pickle courts is 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. Whereas the standard size of one doubles tennis court is around 36 feet in width and 78 feet in length.
Another primary difference is the weight of the ball used for both sports. A plastic ball with machine-drilled holes is used for pickleball which is very light in weight as well. The weight of the pickleball ball is 0.8 to 1.02 ounces. Whereas the weight of a tennis ball is around 2 ounces.
The United States of America’s Pickleball Association (USAPA) has approved various brands of balls for outdoor and indoor use in professional matches and tournaments.
Another important difference between tennis and pickleball is the type of racquets used. Pickleball-specified paddles are used for pickleball smaller in size than a tennis racket. Those paddles are made out of wood or graphite. Pickleball paddles have a solid striking surface on the face of the paddle but tennis rackets have woven string striking surfaces. Tennis rackets resemble badminton rackets.
Why is the Net lower at the center?
A higher-height net at the center makes hitting more difficult. This is especially true when using strokes such as slice strokes and drop shots with no spin on them (besides forehand topspin). That’s why pickleball nets are lower at the center to make hitting easier on the court.
How does net height affect pickleball?
The right height of the net affects the game in many ways. First, it determines how far from the ground you can hit the ball. The higher the net, the farther you can hit it from the baseline.
Secondly, pickleball balls are lighter in weight and it’s difficult to send those balls over a higher net.
It’s evident from the whole discussion that a tennis net can be used for pickleball after making some size adjustments. Mainly it needs some changes in the height and width of the net. Portable tennis nets are easier to set on pickleball courts. Even pickleball can be played informally on tennis courts as well.
But if you are going to play pickleball regularly, you should have a pickleball net set at the right height. It is also crucial to have standard and USAPA-approved gear to practice for official tournaments and matches.