Are paddle tennis and platform tennis the same sport? And if not, what is the difference between paddle tennis and platform tennis? Our racket sports expert Stan has more…
If you are a regular on this blog, you would have realised by now there are a variety of of tennis-related sports and these include platform tennis, paddle tennis, beach tennis and racquetball.
These sports are all growing in popularity and while tennis still remains the ultimate game from a point of world wide interest, people who play and follow tennis and national and international tournaments, the other tennis games are widely played.
Beach tennis and racquetball are fairly easy to separate from tennis, with pretty different size courts and rules, and it’s not hard to get them mixed up. But many racket sports fans and players get paddle tennis and platform tennis mixed up, as they are fairly similar.
We are going to make it easy for you with a very brief explanation of how paddle tennis and platform tennis are different. Here we go.
A paddle tennis court is smaller than a regular tennis court and there are no double lanes. There is a net in the centre that is lower than in ordinary tennis.
Because the court is small, the game is quick, with a lot of net play. Players use solid paddles instead of strung tennis racquets and the ball is depressurised. Both singles and doubles are played. Serving is underhand in paddle tennis.
Paddle tennis has been played for over a hundred years. It is more similar in sport to pickle ball than anything else and was created by a family who were looking for a family sport, using paddles and balls, including lots of fun, one that could be played in a fairly small space and without the need for too much equipment.
Because the service is underhand, paddle tennis differs to actual tennis in that there are more rallies and very few aces or serve and return points only.
Paddle tennis is played not only in the USA but is now placed in the Middle East and the popularity is growing.
Platform tennis is more similar to tennis in that the court look the same although it is slightly smaller than a tennis court (about one-third of the size) raised on a platform and it has a taut wire fence all around the court.
The wire fence can be used to keep the ball in play. There are heaters underneath the platform, allowing platform tennis to be played year round, especially popular for tennis lovers who struggle with the cold in winter.
Doubles is the more popular format of the game. Players use specially designed platform tennis paddles that have holes in them. Serving is overhand in platform tennis.
Platform tennis started in the late 1920s by two tennis players who were looking for a game of tennis but the terrain and weather did not suit them. They came up with the idea of a platform tennis court, raised on a platform, with heading underneath, and the game took off there.
These variety of tennis games sprung up because there was a need for them.
Tennis is one of the most exciting games, but not everyone has access to tennis courts and tennis can also only be played under certain conditions. In the coldest parts of the USA, tennis could only be a summer game.
Platform tennis means people can play at any time of year, because of the heating underneath. Paddle tennis can be played both outdoors and indoors and is a faster game. Both games are incredible fun and speedy, brilliant for fitness, and while they are played competitively, they are also easy, leisure games for the whole family.
Paddle Tennis v Platform Tennis – Where are They Played?
Paddle tennis played in the USA. It was always a huge sport on the East Coast, New York and New Jersey, but has spread to the West Coast and in-between. You will find paddle tennis courts at many sports clubs and at colleges, most sports stores sell paddle tennis equipment online and via their stores, and the game is spreading overseas too.
Platform tennis was always played mostly in New York because of the weather, and was very popular on the East Coast. Today, platform tennis is also played across the USA. While California does not have the same kind of weather patterns as New York, and the platform tennis courts do not require the same level of heating, platform tennis is still popular all over the USA.
Paddle Tennis v Platform Tennis Court and Net
According to the American Paddle Tennis Association, a paddle tennis court must be 50 feet long and 20 feet wide. The distance from service line to service line is 44 feet. The net must be 31 inches off the ground.
As per the American Platform Tennis Association, platform courts should be 44 feet long and 22 feet wide. The centre net is kept at a height of 34 inches.
Paddle Tennis v Platform Tennis Rackets
A paddle tennis racket is in fact called a paddle and not a racket. It should not be larger than 9 and a half inches and 18 inches in size.
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These are also known as paddles and the maximum length is 18 inches. The paddle is aerated and cannot have more than 87 holes.
Paddle Tennis v Platform Tennis Ball
Paddle tennis balls should measure between 6.35 cm and 6.77 cm and weigh between 56.0 and 59.4 grams.
The platform tennis ball is spongy, heavier than a regular tennis ball as it needs to bounce well off the wire fences, and measures 6.4 cm in diameters.
Summary of the differences between Paddle Tennis and Platform Tennis
There is a six feet difference in the court length with Paddle Tennis courts being bigger than Platform Tennis. A solid sponge ball is used in Platform Tennis while a depressurized ball is used by the players in Paddle Tennis. Overhead serving is allowed in Platform Tennis but not in Paddle Tennis. Platform tennis has a raised court which allows it to be played during harsh winters by heating the surface.
The best thing to do if you are interested in Platform Tennis or Paddle Tennis is to go online and watch a few videos.
You will immediately see how people play, what is needed and how much fun the game are. Both games are played for leisure, sport and fitness, and you do not have to play competitively although both do have recognised tournaments.
Both games are highly recommended for tennis lovers or anyone interested in tennis or similar ball games. You can also enjoy our posts on pickleball here.