Racquet sports lovers usually have a hard time when the leaves start to disappear and snow begins to fall – since many of their favorite games are held outside.
Some people head south for a more conducive weather, while others take shelter in indoor racquetball, squash, and tennis courts. But thousands flock to platform tennis courts and continue to enjoy their racquet games as if nothing happened at all!
What is Platform Tennis?
Platform tennis – sometimes referred to as “winter tennis” – is a racquet sport that is enjoyed by many.
It’s the only racket game that can be played outside during the winter. This appeal makes it attractive to casual players who yearn for fresh air, social engagement, and competition all on a cold winter day or even evenings.
The game is played at public facilities, private clubs, and backyards – at both recreational and highly competitive levels.
Platform tennis is usually played on a 20 by 44-foot court that’s about one-third the size of a tennis court. The court is also surrounded by a 12-foot fence structure that allows players to play off the sides of the walls. The serving lines are the same as those found on tennis courts.
Unlike other racquet sports, platform tennis can be played throughout the year, regardless of the seasonal changes.
The History of Platform Tennis
In the fall of 1928, two Scarsdale neighbors – Fessenden Blanchard and James Cogswell – were looking for an outdoor winter game they could play close to their neighborhood. Disappointed by the fact that they couldn’t find even one, they resorted to building a multipurpose wooden platform in Cogswell’s backyard for both volleyball and badminton.
The structure was finished in November that same year and was marked out for both volleyball and badminton. However, the terrain of the plot of land they built on proved to be a huge challenge. The court could not be wider than 20 feet because that would mean raising the platform over a large rock.
Moreover, the ground fell off at 48 feet and would have required a major (and expensive) operation to expand. As a result – playing volleyball on the platform was no longer an option.
After attempting to play, they also discovered that their home-made court was not ideal for badminton.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and eventually, Platform Tennis was invented!
Platform Tennis Game Equipment
Platform tennis equipment consists of a soft rubber ball and a short, hard-surface paddle. Platform tennis paddles have holes to assist in placing spin balls and reducing wind resistance.
The paddle weighs 13-17 ounces and measures 17 inches in length. The ball, on the hand, has a diameter of 2.5 inches and has yellow markings to improve its visibility and control.
For safety and preservations of the court’s surface, players are supposed to wear tennis shoes or any other non-marking rubber-soled shoes. In extremely low temperatures, players are allowed to wear several layers of clothing which can be peeled off as they warm up in the course of the game.
APTA Platform Tennis Rules
The American Paddle Tennis Association APTA governs the requirements for Platform Tennis rules of play. A toss or paddle spin is done to determine the player who will start the game by serving the ball.
The player has only one chance to serve right. In the case of a faulty serve, the server loses a point. A faulty serve occurs when the ball is missed or hits the net.
To serve, the ball can be bounced once behind the baseline or tossed in the air before being hit with a Platform Tennis paddle. However, the serving method you choose must be consistent for the whole set.
In a Singles return serve, the server must wait for the ball to bounce before hitting it, while in Doubles, only one player can return it.
Most of the Platform Tennis rules are similar to lawn tennis rules, including the 15-30-40 score system. There are, however, some major differences. First, there’s no second chance to serve the ball after a faulty serve in platform tennis – you automatically lose a point.
Secondly, in platform tennis, the screens are used to keep the ball in play.
And just like in a game of tennis, a player can return the ball by either hitting it after it has bounced once on the floor (ground-stroke) or before it hits the deck. However, in platform tennis, there’s an additional option. The ball can be hit after rebounding off the deck and screen.
Platform Tennis Tips to Help You Serve Like a Pro
The return serve is the most feared shot in a game of platform tennis. If you master it, you’ll have an upper hand in all your matches.
To achieve the perfect return shot, ensure that you drive the ball and volley to the spot. This will help you in getting to the net and committing to the shots with more consistent results.