pickleball net rules

Pickleball Net Rules: Everything You Need to Know in 2023

Pickleball, a game that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, has gained significant popularity in recent years. With this surge in interest, players must understand the rules surrounding the pickleball net. In this blog post, we will dive into the ins and outs of pickleball net rules, debunk common misconceptions, and provide tips for improving net play. By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to dominate the court with newfound knowledge and confidence.

Short Summary

  • Understanding the pickleball net’s dimensions and their effects on gameplay is essential for proper adherence to rules.

  • The height of a pickleball net post and its width in the middle (34 inches) are important factors when playing.

  • Rules for hitting the net include ensuring that it does not touch posts or cords, understanding the Two-Bounce Rule during serves, and avoiding crossing the plane until after hitting the ball.

Understanding Pickleball Net Dimensions

A pickleball court and net dimensions

The dimensions of the pickleball net play a significant role in the game, affecting gameplay and strategies. To ensure a proper understanding of net-related rules, it is essential to know the net’s height at posts, its height in the middle, and its width.

Let’s delve into these dimensions and their impact on the game.

Height at Posts

The height of a pickleball net post is 36 inches. This height is crucial for maintaining a consistent playing environment and affects the trajectory of shots during the game.

Understanding the net height at the posts can help players plan their shots and strategies accordingly.

Height in the Middle

In the middle, the height of the pickleball net is 34 inches. This 2-inch gap in the center provides a slight advantage for players attempting to hit shots over the lowest part of the net.

However, it is important to remember that hitting the ball between the net and the net post is considered a fault and will result in a lost point.

Net Width

The width of a pickleball net is 22 feet, providing a foot of clearance on either side of the 20-foot court. This width ensures that the net spans the entire court, making it an integral part of the game and challenging players to hit the ball within the court boundaries.

Pickleball is a sport that requires skill and strategy. Players must be able to hit the ball over the net and within the court boundaries to score points. The width of the net is an important factor.

Rules for Hitting the Net in Pickleball

A pickleball player hitting the ball over the net to the opponent's court

Understanding the rules for hitting the net in pickleball is essential for fair play and avoiding unnecessary faults. These rules pertain to serves, rallies, and around-the-post shots. The ball can generally touch the net cord, not the net or posts.

Let’s explore these rules in more detail in the following subsections.


An image showing the proper setup of a pickleball net according to pickleball net rules

During serves, if the ball grazes the net cord and lands on the correct service court outside the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ), it is considered live and must be played. However, if the ball touches any part of the net or its components, including the net posts, it is considered a fault, resulting in a loss of serve.

The Two-Bounce Rule also applies to serves. This rule stipulates that the ball must bounce once on each side of the court before players can advance and initiate a volley. This rule helps maintain a fair and balanced game, preventing players from rushing the net and gaining an unfair advantage.


During rallies, if the ball touches the net cord and lands on the opponent’s side of the court, the ball is considered live, and the rally continues. However, if the ball touches any part of the net system, including the net or net posts, a fault is committed, resulting in the loss of the rally for the offending player’s team.

It is important to note that players are not allowed to cross the net’s plane until after hitting the ball, unless the ball bounces back untouched due to backspin or wind. This rule ensures fair play and prevents players from interfering with their opponents’ shots.

Around-the-Post Shots

Around-the-post shots are legal and often used as a strategic move in pickleball. These shots involve hitting the ball around the net post instead of over the net, landing on the opponent’s court.

However, if the ball passes between the post and the net, the player who hit it is considered at fault. Mastering around-the-post shots can provide players with a significant advantage during gameplay.

Crossing the Plane of the Pickleball Net

A pickleball player hitting the ball over the net

Crossing the plane of the pickleball net is only allowed after hitting the ball unless the ball bounces back untouched, in which case the player can cross the plane to hit it, but only after it crosses the net again.

This rule helps maintain fair play and prevents players from gaining an unfair advantage by crossing the plane of the net and obstructing their opponents’ shots.

Handling Equipment Issues on the Pickleball Court

A pickleball court with pickleballs

Equipment issues on the court, such as a paddle falling or a ball hitting an item on one’s side of the court, do not cause a fault unless they land in the Non-Volley Zone as a result of hitting a volley. If the ball hits an object on a player’s side of the court, the rally continues, and the ball remains in play.

This rule ensures minor equipment issues do not disrupt the game’s flow.

The Non-Volley Zone Line and Pickleball Net Interaction

A pickleball court with the non-volley zone line and the net

The Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) line and pickleball net interaction are crucial for fair play. Players are not allowed to enter the NVZ until after the ball has been hit, and volleys must be made from outside the zone. This rule prevents players from gaining an unfair advantage by standing too close to the net and ensures that gameplay remains balanced and enjoyable for all participants.

The NVZ line is an important part of the game and should be respected by all players. It is important to remember that volleys must be made from outside the NVZ and that entering the zone must be avoided.

Temporary and Permanent Pickleball Net Systems

Both temporary and permanent pickleball net systems have their advantages and disadvantages. Portable nets are lightweight and easy to install, making them great for recreational play or practice sessions. On the other hand, permanent nets are more reliable and durable, providing a stable playing environment for serious games and tournaments.

Understanding the differences between these systems can help players choose the right net system for their needs and preferences.

Common Misconceptions About Pickleball Net Rules

A pickleball court with two players and a net

One common misconception about pickleball net rules is that double hits are always considered a fault. Double hits are permissible under specific conditions, such as when the ball hits both the paddle and the player’s body during a single swing.

Another misconception is that players cannot switch hands or use two-handed shots in pickleball. Contrary to this belief, players can switch hands and use two-handed shots during play. Additionally, missed shots do not create a dead ball; if a player swings at the ball and misses, the rally continues, and the ball remains in play.

Understanding these misconceptions and the actual rules helps players avoid unnecessary faults and enjoy a fair and balanced game.

Tips for Improving Net Play in Pickleball

A pickleball court with two players and a net, with one player hitting the ball

To improve net play in pickleball, it is essential to practice serves, utilize the proper equipment, and focus on technique. Regular practice helps players develop consistency and accuracy, while high-quality equipment ensures a reliable performance during gameplay.

Technique is another critical aspect of improving net play. Players should work on their footwork, grip, and serve execution to optimize performance on the court. Engaging in net play drills, such as the volley wall drill, partner dinking drill, and diagonal dinking drill, can also help players refine their skills and become more proficient at the net.


In conclusion, understanding pickleball net rules, debunking common misconceptions, and implementing tips for improving net play can significantly enhance a player’s performance on the court. By mastering the dimensions and rules surrounding the net, players can avoid unnecessary faults and develop strategic plays to outsmart their opponents. So, put this newfound knowledge to the test, and see your pickleball game soar to new heights!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the ball hit the net in pickleball?

Yes, a pickleball can hit the net if it contacts the cord between the posts or the posts themselves. However, if it touches any other part of the net system, the ball is out.

Therefore, caution should be taken while playing to avoid contact with the net.

Can I be in the kitchen before the ball bounces?

You can be in the kitchen before the ball bounces. However, if you choose to hit the ball before it bounces (volley it), you must ensure that both your feet are outside the kitchen when you make contact with the ball.

Can the pickleball paddle cross the plane of the net?

It is important to note that you cannot cross the plane of the pickleball net with your paddle before you make contact with the ball. Doing so would result in a fault and end the rally.

How do you not hit the net in pickleball?

To avoid hitting the net in pickleball, it is important to have control over your shot and aim for an optimal impact spot. Practicing techniques such as soft shots and having good timing will help you master this skill and become a formidable opponent.

What is a nasty Nelson in pickleball?

A Nasty Nelson is an advanced pickleball serving technique that involves the server aiming their shot at the opponent closest to the net, making it difficult for them to return the serve. This tactic can often be used to gain an advantage over an opponent and take control of the point.

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