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What is Platform Tennis

How to Play Platform Tennis (Also Referred to as Paddle in Places)

Most of you may like to watch a game of lawn tennis or even table tennis. However, when it comes to platform tennis, most of you draw a blank look on your face. Platform tennis is basically a type of tennis that is also known as paddle tennis. The sport actually derived from tennis and was developed by James Cogswell and Fessenden Blanchard in 1928. The sport was developed at Fox Meadow Tennis Club in Scarsdale, New York.

How It Was Developed?

Fessenden and Cogswell were looking at developing a sport that people could play outdoors even in cold winter months. The original platform for the sport was designed that was 48 feet long and 20 feet wide. These dimensions were dictated by the Cogswell’s property that had a rather steep slope that was limited by a very big rock. This court proved to be too small for volleyball and the presence of overhead hanging foliage prevented a proper game of badminton from happening. These were the two options that the duo had in mind for the platform. This left them with a form of deck tennis that could be played on the platform.

Cogswell found some paddle tennis equipment in a sports store and decided to use it on their court after having lowered the net that was used to play deck tennis. While playing they found out that the ball often used to go out of play. This made them add a fence around the platform that was initially 8 feet in height. This height was increased to 12 feet by the year 1932. The initial dimension of 39 feet by 18 feet was later increased to 44 feet by 20 feet. This was roughly the size of a badminton court. This left a narrow strip out of play between the fencing and the court. Thus, later on the fences were put into play. Players were allowed to hit the ball even after it hit off the face of the fence.

The Playing Court

The size of the platform tennis court is roughly one-third the size of a traditional tennis court. A chicken wire fence is used to surround the court that is 12 feet in height. This taut fencing lets the ball to be played off the wall and also remain in play. Mainly made on land that is unsuitable for traditional tennis courts, like along a hill, the space available under a platform lets you install heating and lighting equipment that lets you play anytime of the day and even on cold winter days.

If the location mainly experiences warm weather conditions, then the platform will be made on a level ground as there is no need to clear off accumulated snow. The deck will be 60 feet in length and 30 feet in width. At the same time, the court will be 44 feet in length and 22 feet in width. It shall be divided by a net that is kept rather taut at a height of 34 inches at its center and about 37 inches at both the ends.

Ball and Paddle

A spongy ball that measures around 2.5 inches in diameter is used for the sport. It is possible to serve the ball overhand. The paddle is used to strike the ball. This paddle is 18 inches in length and may contain a maximum of 87 holes each of which will be a maximum of 3/8 of an inch in diameter. This helps to improve the aerodynamics.


In order to start a point, a serve happens to be the first shot. It is initiated by tossing the ball into the air followed by hitting it in a diagonal direction in the opposite service box. It is possible for the ball to make contact with the net. If the ball lands in the service box, it shall be considered as a valid serve.

It is important for you to understand that the rules are different for doubles and singles play. In a game of singles, the rules of tennis apply in a similar manner. A server has a maximum of two chances to make a valid serve. If both the serves fail, then the server will lose a point. However, in a game of doubles, a server is given just a single chance to make a valid serve. This is why serves are less aggressive in a doubles game.

Platform Tennis – Quick Facts

  • Platform tennis is scored just like tennis. Points are awarded to the players via Love, 15, 30, 40, and deuce rules. If tied at deuce, the serving team has to win two points to win.
  • Six games allows a player to win a set. The first to win two sets will eventually win the match. This makes it very comfortable for tennis players to play platform tennis easily.
  • This sport may be played both as a singles and as a doubles game.
  • The size of a platform court is about 1/3rd the size of a traditional tennis court. It is usually 44 feet in length and 22 feet in width.
  • A wife chicken fence is used to surround the court. This fence extends up to a maximum height of 12 feet and also acts as a wall for the ball to be played off just like in racquetball.
  • The net is around 34 inches in height and lacks any volley zones.
  • Although the sport is played on a small sized court, players are still allowed to serve overhand just like in a game of tennis. This makes it rather unique for a sport that is played in such a small sized court.
  • Platform tennis can be played round the year and even in severe cold states where propane heaters are used underneath the court to melt the snow and ice.

Platform Tennis Vs Pickleball

  • Platform tennis is basically in a caged environment with fences all around the court, whereas pickleball has no wall or fence.
  • The platform tennis court is 4 feet longer than a pickleball court. However, the width remains the same for both the sport.

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