The pickleball net is the same as that of tennis. You simply lower the tennis net to 34" at the center and you can use it for pickle ball. As a refresher you know the ball is served underhand over the net without bouncing it and played diagonally to the opponent’s court. Points are scored for the serving side only and occur when the opponent faults. Similar to most games, faults may include failure to return the ball to opponent’s court, hitting the ball out of bounds, etc. While alternating service courts the server continues to serve until he/she faults. The winner is the first side who scores 11 and leads by 2 points. If both sides are tied at 10 the game continues until one side wins by 2 points.
One reason that pickleball can be setup so quickly is that the lines and areas of pickleball courts can be drawn on an existing tennis court and the net can be used as well after lowering it slightly as noted above. This allows current tennis courts to utilize the facility in peak and off-peak hours if they choose to add pickle ball. While tennis may be physically demanding for seniors pickleball can be less physically demanding if you choose as the court is smaller and the pickleball nets are lower. Also, as the net and rules are based on tennis, people can easily get used to the game.
Due to the similarity in nets an ease of learning the rules the sport is becoming popular in school Physical Education programs and in communities of senior citizens.
Despite the similarities of the net and court to tennis, pickleball has at least two unique features: non-volley zone and double bounce. The non-volley zone is an area where players cannot volley a ball, allowing longer rallies and more interesting play. There is also a double bounce rule in which both serving and receiving teams must allow the ball to bounce on their court once after the serve before any of them can volley. It is the easiest rule to misunderstand, and some people even think that double bounce rule means the ball is allowed to bounce twice on their side of the court.
The International Federation of Pickleball is responsible for maintaining standard specifications of all pickleball equipment including court and net. Measurements and dimensions of standard pickleball court are as follows:
- - the Court is a rectangle with 20 feet (6.10 m) wide and 44 feet (13.41 m) long for both singles and doubles games. You may notice that the court has the same dimension as standard badminton court.
- - the Minimum recommended playing surface is 30 feet (9.14 m) wide and 60 feet (18.28 m) long. The preferable playing surface is 34 feet (10.36 m) wide and 64 feet (19.5 m) long.
- - the lines shall be 2 inches (5.1 cm) wide and all are in the same color contrasting to the surface. Court measurements are made to the outside of the lines.
- - the pickleball nets are 34" on center.
There are at least 6 important parts (zones and lines) in a pickleball court. Getting familiar with the terms used for the court will help to understand the rules, too.
|Baselines||These are the lines at the end of each side of the court parallel to the net|
|Sidelines||These are the lines at the end of each side of the court perpendicular to the net|
|Non-volley Lines||These are the lines between sidelines and parallel to the net. Each side of the court has a non-volley line drawn 7 feet (2.13 m) from the net.|
|Non-volley Zone||It is the area of the court bounded by the non-volley line, two sidelines, and the net. Sidelines and non-volley lines are included in this zone.|
|Centerline||It is the line on each side of the net the bisects the area between baseline and non-volley line|
|Service Courts||The areas on either side of centerline bounded by baseline, sideline, and non-volley line.|
Specifications for net only concerns the dimensions including height, size, center strap, mesh size, and posts. The following table explains pickleball net specification as listed in the IFP Official Tournament Rulebook.
|Material||Any open mesh fabric is allowed as material for the net|
|Size||The length shall be at least 20 feet (6.1 m) extending from one sideline to sideline. Width of the nest is at least 2.5 feet (0.8 m)|
|Mesh Size||It must be small to prevent the ball from passing through the net|
|Height||The net must be suspended at the center to 34 inches (0.86 m) in height. At the sidelines, it must be 36 inches in height (0.914 m)|
|Center Strap||For easier adjustment of height at the center of the net, a center strap may be used.|
|Edge||The top of the net is edged with a white binding measuring at 2 inches (5.1 cm). This binding rest upon a cable or cord that holds the net.|
|Posts||Net posts are placed outside of the sidelines. The recommended placement is 12 inches (30.48 cm) from each sideline.|
On a standard tennis court the net is 36 inches high in the center and 42 inches high at either side. It is possible to convert a tennis net by lowering the height. Tension on the net is probably very tight so loosening it slightly can be helpful. Another option is to use a Tennis net Adjuster. This equipment has eye hooks planted to some holes drilled on the tennis court. Make sure you have permission to drill holes into the tennis court. Once the net is ready, pickleball courts can be drawn based on the aforementioned specifications. When lines of a pickleball court are drawn onto an existing tennis court, players of both sports can use the same facility. There can be initial confusions because of the added lines, but players quickly get used to it.