Often referred to as platform paddle tennis or winter tennis, platform tennis is a derivative of lawn tennis devised by James Cogswell and Fessenden Blanchard in the 1920s. Although it’s quite similar to lawn tennis, platform tennis is unique in several ways.
Below, we will discuss Platform Tennis rules, as well as some tips on how to play the game!
To begin with, a platform tennis court is smaller in dimensions and the net is set at a lower position. Secondly, a paddle tennis court doesn’t bear the double lines found on lawn tennis courts. Other differences come from the type of racquets and balls used as well as applicable rules.
Despite the game’s prominence, there isn’t a world organization dedicated to platform tennis or Platform Tennis rules. However, there’s a national platform tennis governing body in the U.S. known as the American Platform Tennis Association (APTA). One of its key roles of this organization is drafting and enacting the rules of play.
APTA Platform Tennis Rules
1. Platform Tennis Court
According to APTA guidelines, a platform tennis court should be 44 feet in length and 20 feet in width. The playing area should be 60 by 30 feet and should be enclosed by a 12-foot high screen. Halfway the length of the court, there should be a net attached to 37-inch posts. The net should have a height of 37 inches at both ends, and 34 inches at the center.
A platform tennis court is marked by several lines. Baselines are parallel to the net and are drawn at both ends of the court. Sidelines mark the sides of the court and are perpendicular to the net. Parallel to the sidelines, are the alley lines which are only two feet into the court.
Service lines are used to define the service area at both ends of the court. They are parallel to the net, and 22 feet from the middle of the court. The 3 feet distance between the baselines and service lines forms the service area.
2. Equipment and Apparel
APTA has outlined several guidelines regarding platform tennis attire and equipment. For instance, the size of paddles should not exceed 9.5 by 18 inches. The surface of the paddles should be solid and bear no strings.
Moreover, the ball used should be pressurized enough that when dropped from 6 feet, it bounces at least 31 inches high, and no more than 33 inches.
Proper platform tennis attire should be worn to the court. The shoes must have rubber soles that leave no marks on the court’s surface. Tennis shoes are often worn since these fit the bill.
3. Gameplay Rules
Platform tennis is governed by the following rules:
- The team that gets to serve first is decided by a paddle spin or coin toss. The winners of the spin or toss can also choose the side they wish to start the game from.
- The server only gets one chance to serve the ball. A faulty serve results in point loss.
- The serving player must serve from the service area toward the receiver’s area on the diagonal end of the court.
- The server should alternate between deuce and ad court serves.
- Members of both teams can stand wherever they please on their side of the court.
- A serve must cross the net and bounce once before the receiving party can return it. A volleyed return is not allowed and results in a point loss.
- Once a correct serve is made, play continues until a let or a fault is called.
Scoring in platform tennis is similar to lawn tennis. Points are earned in the sequence of 15, 30, 40, and game points. If both teams tie at 40-40, the game continues until one of the teams wins two points consecutively.
The number of sets won determines the winner. A player is said to have won a set if he/she wins 6 games. The first party to win two sets is declared the winner of the match.
During play, a team loses one point if any of the following happens:
- They allow the ball to bounce twice when receiving.
- One of the players touches the ball.
- A player hits the ball before it crosses to their side of the net.
- One of the players comes into contact with the net.
- A player hits the ball by throwing their paddle at it.
Constructing a Platform Tennis Court
If you are looking forward to owning a platform tennis court, it would be unwise to construct it by yourself. Even if you are skilled enough, constructing a platform tennis court from scratch will most likely be an exhausting and expensive task.
Instead, seek the services of Total Platform Tennis – one of North America’s most experienced court contractors with over 70 years in the business.
You can choose between new and used courts depending on your budget and preferences. Be sure to check out their online platforms for designs and quotes.