The game of Platform Tennis developed from the regular game of tennis and in the USA in particular, has become a sought after and fantastic year-round sport. It’s an outdoor sport, much like tennis, but the tennis courts are smaller and surrounded by wire fencing. The underside of the courts are also heated, which is why it is such a great winter game.
If you are one of those people who hates fetching the ball in a regular game of tennis, or playing tennis in winter, Platform Tennis is the answer for you. Plus it’s exciting, a game of skill, good for the whole family and is excellent exercise.
There’s an International Platform Tennis Association, there are Platform Tennis rules and regulations for the game and the players, and the game can be played for fun or competitively, with tournaments, competitions and championships being held on a regular basis.
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What is the History of Platform Tennis?
It would be safe to say that Platform Tennis started because of the weather. Whereas today we have indoor tennis courts, a few decades ago when Platform Tennis first became a thing, there were very few indoor courts.
It was in the early eighties during a cold winter in New York that two players who really wanted a game of tennis, came up with the idea of Platform Tennis. They designed a raised wooden platform, built a court to go on top of it, put up some wire fencing, looked at a heating system, got a pair of wooden paddles and a ball, and played their first game.
Since that time, almost forty years ago, the American Platform Tennis Association has formed and governs the sport. There are approximately 17000 members, over 275 facilities found in over 41 of the American States. Platform Tennis is spreading out of America too and can be found in other countries.
What Equipment does one need for Platform Tennis?
- A Platform Tennis court with a net
- Minimum of two players
- A Platform Tennis paddle or racket
- A Platform Tennis ball
- Sports clothing and a pair of tennis / sports shoes
How does one play Platform Tennis?
Our first word of advice would be for you to watch some of the online Platform Tennis videos. For a start they are really fantastic and will inspire you to play. If you want to know how to play platform tennis, the best way is by watching and then of course, by playing.
Now that you have watched the video above, it should be easy to pick up the platform tennis rules with our guidelines below. Here’s brief synopsis for you:
The Platform Tennis Court
A platform tennis court is smaller than a regular tennis court.
- The court is 44 feet long x 20 feet wide
- The playing area of the deck is 60 feet x 30 feet
- Screens are made of 1-inch galvanised or plastic-coated wire mesh and 12 feet high
- The net is right in the middle, 37 inches high on the outside and 34 inches high in the centre
- The net goes 18 inches outside of the court.
A platform tennis court is also similar to a regular tennis court in that it has lines, including baselines, sidelines and centre service lines.
There are singles sidelines and just like tennis, there are service lines. The main difference between a platform tennis court and a regular tennis court is the size, that the platform tennis court is raised, and the platform tennis court is surrounded by wire mesh.
HOW TO PLAY – SERVING/RECEIVING/VOLLEYING RULES
The color of the court surface is usually grey with a green playing area, and in the same way the courts must be approved the American Platform Tennis Association Committee, so must the colors.
- The players will toss the paddle, the winner choosing to serve or choosing a side
- Players take up position, with one team on either side of the net
- The server serves diagonally to the receiver, from behind the baseline
- The server must stand on his half of the court, behind the baseline
- Receivers can position themselves anywhere they want, on their side of the court
- The server’s partner can also choose to stand anywhere he or she likes
- The serve must pass over the net and into the receiver’s box
- The receiver returns the serve after it has bounced once
- Once the ball has been served, bounced once, and returned, it is open play
- The ball must stay within the lines of the court, but the surrounding nets are used
- The server gets one serve only. If he or she serves a fault, they lose the point
- If the serve is in, play continues until one team makes a mistake or hits the ball out
- Scoring is as per tennis, starting with love, 15, 30, 40 and game
- If a game reaches 40/40, also known as deuce, it then goes to an advantage
- If the advantage is lost, the game goes back to deuce
- If the advance is won, that team wins the game
- There can be unlimited deuces and advantages until a game is won
- A game continues until it is won, only the third set is played as a tie-break.
A team loses a point if:
- The ball is hit outside of the baselines or sidelines
- The ball hits the net
- The player hits the ball before it has 100 % passed the net
- A player catches or touches the ball during play
- A player touches the net during play
- Any player makes an error, unforced or not
Platform Tennis Paddles and Balls
This is where platform tennis is very different to tennis itself. This sport has paddles like pickleball and not rackets.
They are perforated with holes and a platform paddle can be up to 18 inches in length, have up to 87 holes and the holes can be 3/8th of an inch in diameter. You will find that the same brands that make tennis rackets make platform tennis paddles too.
The ball is made of rubber, bounces well off the surface of the court the net and the mesh nets, and must be APTA approved.
The game of Platform Tennis
Just like tennis, there is singles, doubles and mixed doubles. The opponents will toss a paddle, or a coin, or similar, to decide who serves first and which side each player will take. The game starts with a serve, and official scoring:-
- No point – Love
- First point – Fifteen
- Second point – Thirty
- Third point – Forty
- Last point – Game
If both players receive forty points it is known as deuce like in tennis.
They then play for advantage, and either one player / team wins, or it goes back to juice. To win a game you can win by winning the point after 40/love, 40/15, 40/30, Deuce / Advantage and then game.
If you can play tennis, you can play Platform tennis!
To win a set you need to win 6 games in the set, but with a margin of 2 games. If the game goes to 6 all, a tiebreaker is played. A match is the best of 3 sets.
Why has Platform Tennis become popular?
The game has become popular for many reasons. It can be played outdoors in winter, but is unlike a winter sport such as ice-hockey or skiing.
It’s tennis, on a raised platform with underneath heating. Players of all ages can get involved, it’s played recreationally and competitively, the rules are easy to learn especially if you can already play tennis, and it is a lot of fun. It’s perfect for all players, not just those who don’t want to fetch the ball!
Where does one play Platform Tennis?
First you need to find a Platform Tennis Court. Many sports clubs have them today and you can find listings on the APTA here.
You can also check the other racket sports rules here in order to get a fair comparison of they work.