According to the official USAPA tournament rule book the standard regulation height for a pickleball net is 36 inches high (or 91.44 centimeters) at each end and the net at the center of the court should be 34 inches high (86.36 centimeters).
(If you’re reading this I’m guessing you might be a beginner, if so, head over to read about our recommendation for getting up and playing right away with a pickleball paddle set and a portable pickleball net.)
So to get the perfect height your best bet is to – obviously – buy a pickleball-specific net.
You might be thinking… can’t I just use a tennis court net? They look the same….
Not quite! For the sticklers out there, if you want to use a tennis court net for your pickleball game – tennis nets aren’t quite the right height! We wrote all about it in our article How to Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court.
The original game of pickleball was conceived around a modified badminton net, so the height doesn’t match up – though they are close so you could use one in a pinch. Tennis court nets are generally 36 inches high at center court and rise to 42 inches at the posts.
The quick and dirty solution is to adjust the center strap. Since tennis court posts are spread out wider (more than 36 feet) than pickleball posts (more than 20 feet), if you can lower the center strap to 34 inches the edges of your pickleball net should only be a bit higher than regulation on the edges of the court. You might need to provide some slack at the posts to allow for the lowering.
If you don’t want to buy a pickleball net, you can adapt a tennis court net to your purpose using a net height adjuster.
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One solution that doesn’t require you to get the drill out to use a net converter that uses a series of straps and weights to . There are pickleball tennis net adjusters like this one, for example from Convert-a-net (Amazon affiliate link). It’s a quick set up that takes just a few minutes and your tennis net will be magically converted into a pickleball net without the need to drill holes into the court.
The USAPA recommends that if you are playing on a tennis court the ideal set up is to play on one side of the tennis court net and use it as a backstop. You can then set up a portable pickleball net on either side instead of trying to finagle the tennis net down to the pickleball height. It is also highly recommended to play so that your pickleball net is parallel to the tennis court net since there is a good chance that the tennis court has been built so that it is optimally oriented in terms sunshine.