What is Platform Tennis?
Platform Tennis is an American racquet sport enjoyed by thousands of people of all ages. It is the only racquet sport that players can enjoy outdoors in cold weather. This unique appeal attracts people who desire fresh air, competition, and social engagement - all on a chilly winter's day or night.
The sport is played at private clubs, public facilities, and in backyards at both highly competitive and purely recreational levels. Because it is easy to learn, it is enjoyed by players as young as eight and as old as old bones allow.
The CourtThe Court: The game is played on an aluminum deck about 1/3 the size of a tennis court and is surrounded by a 12' high superstructure with taut, 16-gauge "chicken wire" fencing which allows play off the walls, as in racquetball and squash.
Historically, the court has been elevated or on a platform. (When founders invented the sport in 1928 they erected the first court on the side of a hill. A platform was needed to keep the court level and was helpful with snow removal.)
The base of an elevated platform tennis court is usually enclosed, allowing for a heating system beneath the deck (propane, natural gas or kerosene.) The heating system melts ice off the aggregate deck surface, allowing athletes to play outdoors in all weather conditions. Most courts have lighting systems ao the game can be enjoyed day or night.
As the game has grown, the court has adapted to its surroundings. In areas of the south, for instance, with no need for heating elements, more courts are being built at the ground-level. This can benefit spectators and help keep construction costs down.
Playing the GamePlaying the Game: A picture is worth a thousands words, so click here for our library of videos showing platform tennis at all levels, from the recreational player to the top national players, including video instruction for the beginner.
The EquipmentThe Equipment: Platform tennis paddles are made of a composite material with aerodynamic holes drilled in the head. Paddles are approximately 18" long. The spongy, rubber ball measures 2.5" in diameter. A flocking material on its exterior keeps the ball from skidding.
The Name of the GameThe Name of the Game: Players often refer to platform tennis as "paddle," as in "Are you playing paddle tonight?" With the re-emergence of paddle tennis on the West Coast (basically, a down-sized game of tennis,) this has many people confused. To further the problem, there is paddle ball (an urban sport played against a single wall) and paddle (much like paddle tennis).