Platform Tennis History

American Platform Tennis History

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 night.

American platform tennis 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.

Platform Tennis Court Dimensions: The game is played on an elevated aluminum deck 1/4 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.

The base of a 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 for Winter, the game can be enjoyed year-round.

Platform Tennis 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 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).

More Information: In March, 2008, the APTA published a newsletter about the sport of Platform Tennis, including infromation about how and where it's played, who plays, a comparison with tennis, and more. Click this link to open up that newsletter in a printable pdf format. (Please be patient if it does not open imediately. It's a big file.)

Compliments of the American Platform Tennis Association