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In 2014 news reports called pickleball the fastest growing sport in America.
The popular outdoor group activity has been around since 1965 – but its popularity has grown to high levels in the last decade.
Part of the popularity is due to the fact that pickleball is easy to set up and play – even if you don’t have an official court.
You only need a large flat surface, indoors or outdoors. The fact that you can use a portable net is a huge plus!
Finding the best portable pickleball nets will put you well on your way to playing this fun and thoroughly entertaining activity.
Pickleball is played on a 20” x 44” court, the same size as an official badminton court.
Instead of playing with a net elevated in the air, the 36” x 22” net is hung at ground level in the way tennis nets would sit.
A game can be played one-on-one or with teams of two. The court is split into two 7 feet zones directly on either side of the net.
Also there are two15 feet areas past those zones where the players stand.
Each 15 foot zone is split in half for a right service area and for a left service area.
Pickleball is a cross between tennis and ping pong.
The ball is always initially served from the right service area and must be served to the opposite side using an underhand serve with the paddle kept below your waist.
After each successful volley, the server switches and serves to the opposite service area.
The ball must get past the non-volley zone on the serve and the ball must bounce once before the receiving team can return the ball.
The serving team must also let the ball bounce once before it is returned.
After the initial bounce, the teams can volley (hit the ball without letting it bounce first).
A player cannot directly volley in the non-volley zone.
Only a serving team can score a point. The game score goes to 11, with the winning team winning by at least two points.
Anyone slightly familiar with other net and paddle sports will recognize the basic structure of pickleball.
As the sport grows in popularity, the number of official courts has grown to over 6,000 in North America.
With so many courts available, it is still possible that a player won’t have one near them — another reason to search for the most appropriate portable pickleball net for your game.
If you don’t have a court near you, you can make your own!
While a player really needs concrete, asphalt, or a similar hard surface, many people are able to find enough room for a court on their driveway or neighborhood cul-de-sac.
There are four things you will need to play pickleball.
- Playing area
- Materials for marking the lines
- Paddles and balls
When looking for your location, make sure it is a large enough space not only for the court but for players who will run beyond the court.
It is recommended that at a minimum the entire playing surface area including the outside space of the court, is 30’ x 60’.
- Marking the lines — Once you’ve found your spot, you will need to mark the lines of the court. You want clear barriers drawn to indicate different areas.
- Chalk — You can use large sidewalk chalk or large crayons or colored tape. You can also use official vinyl court lines. Chalk is cheap and easy to use. It will last a decent amount of time even while being stepped on. If the location you are using is not going to be a permanent pickleball court, chalk is ideal. Chalk will fade, but unless you get a heavy rain, it should last for at least a week. It can also be touched up to make the lines more visible.
- Tape — Tape is a more permanent option that allows you to play on a court all weekend without having to remake the lines. If you are using your own driveway, tape is ideal. You will need about 200 feet of tape to make a full court. Some marketers offer what they call “pickleball tape”. Gaffers tape is better because it sticks to rough surfaces. It is also easy to remove without leaving sticky residue. Green frog tape is also an option because it is highly visible.
Vinyl Court Markers
Another popular option for marking pickleball lines are vinyl court markers.
They are made of thin rubber.
You will lay pieces down along the lines and at the corners to make the outline of the court more visible.
- Fast to set up and take down
- Good for shared courts where multiple sports are played
- Does not leave any permanent markings
- They do not stick to the court as well if they are kicked accidentally.
- Does not create solid lines like tape or chalk
The net serves as your point of reference for everything else. Getting an official sized pickleball net is recommended.
The convenience and lightweight design makes a portable pickleball net an excellent choice.
Best Portable Pickleball Nets
There are a number of portable net options that could potentially work well for use with pickleball. It’s important to always consult an industry professional before using any new product with your game.
The following nets may prove a good place to start your search.
OnCourt OffCourt PickleNet – Easy Assembly / Official Pickleball Size
OnCourt OffCourt is a leader in the pickleball industry. The company strives to design and provide sports products, specifically with pickleball, that are appropriate for use with all ages and skill levels.
In 2009, the company joined with the USAPA to develop a high-quality pickleball net.
They have a large product catalog that includes paddles, nets, balls and training gear.
Features and details of this product include:
- Easy: Easy to assemble and comes with a strong zippered nylon bag to help with organizing.
- Official Size: The net is made with powder coated steel and conforms to official pickleball specifications.
- Oval Tubing: Patented oval tubing for faster set up and automatic alignment of the center frame. Guaranteed not to twist like round frames.
- Durable: The elastic bottom net band speeds up net set-up, helps maintain consistent net tension, and takes stress off the net to increase durability
- Easy Storage: Includes heavy-duty zippered duffel bag for easy storage and transport. Can be used indoors or out.
This net uses metal supports, which are designed to be sturdy and durable, especially if assembled and disassembled frequently.
The net is made of a strong, durable material designed to handle balls being driven into the net.
It is designed for easy assembly and stability.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this net might work for your game.
USAPA Portable Pickleball Net System
This is a practical, durable pickleball net that has great tension and is easy to construct.
It has a visible, black net.
Features of this net include:
- Net has a powder-coated steel frame that makes it resistant to weather damage.
- Can quickly be packed into a 38” by 6” storage bag
- The net is regulation width and height, measuring 22” across, 36” at the sidelines, and 34” at the center of the net
- Total weight 22 pounds
- The net is black with sidebars that are trimmed with vinyl for added protection.
- The elastic bottom runs across the bottom of the net to prevent sagging.
- Wind won’t catch the net because of the elastic bottom.
So why does this net work well for portability?
The net is numbered which makes it easier to put up, with nylon-webbed adjustment straps on the top edge allowing you to adjust the tension to suit your court and surroundings.
The net can be left outside – but not for long periods of time or in wet weather. This is because although it is rust resistant, if left out in the rain consistently it will begin to deteriorate.
This net is designed for easy assembly and even comes with a bad that has wheels, which makes for great portability. This is good, as this net may be on the heavier side and this makes transport easier.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this net might work for your game.
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com