Introduction to Paddle Tennis
For those who’ve never heard of it before, an introduction is needed for what is Paddle Tennis. Paddle Tennis is a popular variant on the standard game of tennis. It’s been around almost as long as its parent sport but has recently found its niche as a popular pastime that allows people to get out, hit the ball around, and enjoy the fun of tennis in a fast-paced and easy-to-learn format.
In many ways, Paddle Tennis is a scaled-down version of tennis. Like any racquet sport, the premise is simple: hit the ball across a net towards your opponent within designated court boundaries. If you can outplay your opponent and they’re unable to return your shot, then you get a point. If your opponent outsmarts you or you make an error, they’re the one who gets the point. The differences between standard tennis and Paddle Tennis (and other racquet sports like Pickleball) exist because of variations to the type of racquets, the court sizes, and the balls used.
What Are the Differences Between Platform Tennis, Paddle Tennis, and Pickleball?
There are actually three racquet sports that use the name “Paddle Tennis” to describe themselves. This, understandably, results in a bit of confusion when someone is trying to describe what is Paddle Tennis. The original Paddle Tennis was created in 1915 in New York, but it’s origins can be traced all the way back to 1898. This historic variant of tennis has been around for a while, but it’s only recently been officially recognized by the USA Tennis Association. It’s much closer to standard tennis than other variants such as Pickleball. It uses a similar ball to tennis, but solid paddles instead of strung racquets are used to hit the ball back and forth across a smaller court. Largely due to the confusion surrounding the use of the term “Paddle Tennis”, recent rebranding of Paddle Tennis has introduced the name Pop Tennis as a way to refer to professional leagues and tournaments.
However, another type of “Paddle Tennis” was invented – also in New York – in 1928. This version of tennis has come to be known as Platform Tennis because the courts used to play this game are raised off the ground to allow for heaters to be placed underneath. Platform Tennis is designed to be played outside in the cold Northeastern US since the raised platform allows ice- and snow-melting heaters to be placed underneath the court. The rules of Platform Tennis allow for the ball to be in play even if it bounces off the wire fencing that closely surrounds the perimeter of the court. This means the bouncier, spongy ball can be bounced off the fencing as well as the court itself during play.
To add to the confusion, yet a third type of racquet sport is referred to as “Paddle Tennis”. First played in 1969 in Mexico, Padel – also known as Paddle Tennis – is again similar to tennis in more ways than not. Since its creation this sport has become very popular around the world, especially in Mexico and Spain. It’s very similar to standard lawn tennis except for being played on a scaled-down court that’s about half the size of a traditional tennis court, using a paddle instead of a racquet.
Pickleball is easier to differentiate from these forms of Paddle Tennis because it has never been referred to using this name. Invented in the Northwestern US in 1965, this game uses paddles on a scaled-down tennis-style court. But it uses a hard, perforated plastic ball and utilizes a distinct scoring system. However, the tactics used in Pickleball share several similarities to those used in the other three types of “Paddle Tennis.”
What Is the Paddle Tennis Court Made Out Of?
The court used in Paddle Tennis – not to be confused with Platform Tennis or Padel – is very similar to that of a standard tennis “Hard court.” Hard courts are made from asphalt or concrete or a mixture of the two, covered with an acrylic surface layer. The rigidity of the surface and therefore the type of ball bounce on each court varies depending on such factors as the sand content or asphalt/concrete mix of the court. However, most Hard courts provide a relatively consistent bounce and all-around dependability for the playing conditions.
Court Dimensions and Markings
Paddle Tennis uses the same material for its courts as tennis Hard courts. The only major differences are the dimensions of the court. A standard tennis court measures 78 feet long and 27 feet wide, and the net is about 36 inches high. A Paddle Tennis court is generally much smaller than this. There are three variants of Paddle Tennis court. Classic Paddle Tennis or Pop Tennis is played on a court that’s 50 feet long and 20 feet wide, but it can also be played on a court that’s 60 feet long and 27 feet wide. There’s also a recently introduced court size variant that’s 36 feet long and 18 feet wide.
Where Is Paddle Tennis Played?
Though created in New York, Paddle Tennis has become most popular in warm climates in places like Southern California and Florida. This is a contrast to its closest counterpart, Platform Tennis. The ability to install heaters underneath the raised courts of Platform Tennis has made it the predominant racquet sport in places with cold snowy winters like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. However, like tennis, just about anywhere there’s a good spot to put a court there’s the opportunity to play Paddle Tennis and you’ll find people doing just that.
How To Play Paddle Tennis
The scoring of Paddle Tennis is very similar to that of traditional tennis. However, the constraints and opportunities of the smaller court and the use of a paddle instead of a racquet means the tactics of the game are a bit different. Having said this, the skills used in all racquet sports are interchangeable. If you’re familiar with one of them, then you’ll be able to jump right into another racquet sport without too much trouble.
A Paddle Tennis match is scored just like tennis. It starts with a designated player having the right to “Serve” the ball throughout the first “Game.” This means that each play starts with the designated player hitting the ball across the net to his opponent, from their side of the court diagonally across the net towards the opponent who’s waiting to hit the ball back. For example, if the player serving hits the Serve from the right-hand side of the court, they must hit it leftwards diagonally across the net to where the opponent is on their right-hand side of the court.
In Paddle Tennis, whoever wins each session of play is awarded a point. These are awarded in increments of 15, 30, 40, Deuce (if tied at 40 or more), then the winning point of the Game. After a game is completed, it’s the other opponent’s turn to Serve in the next Game. The first player to win six Games wins a Set. The first player to win two Sets wins the whole match.
The tactics of how to play Paddle Tennis revolve around long Rallies but fast points. Unlike in tennis where a point can often be won in only one or two back and forth exchanges or Rallies, in Paddle Tennis there are usually quite long sessions of play as the ball whizzes back and forth over the net. But this doesn’t mean that Paddle Tennis is a slow game. The small court and solid paddles mean this game is usually pretty fast paced. It requires quick reflexes and adept tactics to become an expert at this game.
One of the major differences, besides court size, between Paddle Tennis and traditional tennis and Platform Tennis is that the Serve must be done underhand. This diminishes the advantage given to the serving player. In tennis, a powerful and well-placed overhand serve give one player a distinct advantage at the beginning of each Rally. In Paddle Tennis, there’s a much more even starting point at the beginning of each session of play. The Rally will evolve from there instead of starting off with one player possessing an advantage. This leads to longer, more strategic games.
The Ball and Paddle
The paddle used in Paddle Tennis is solid, unlike a traditional tennis racquet that uses strings strung across an open-faced racquet. The paddle is made out of carbon fiber with a memory foam core and it’s perforated with a number of small holes making it easier to swing. Because it’s made out of carbon fiber, the paddle is very light and maneuverable.
The ball used in Paddle Tennis is referred to as the “Green Dot Ball” to differentiate it from a standard tennis ball. Similar in size and shape, the green dot on the side of the ball differentiates it as one approved for Paddle Tennis or Pop Tennis. The main difference is the pressurization of the ball. A traditional yellow tennis ball has more internal pressure than a Green Dot Ball. This makes it bounce farther but it is less predictable and skids across the surface of the court. A Green Dot Ball is depressurized and has a lower bounce but is more predictable.
Equipment for Paddle Tennis
Besides the paddle and ball, in order to play a great game of Paddle Tennis you need the right kind of shoes. You need shoes that don’t grip too much on the court, but don’t slide either. Non-marking, rubber soled shoes ensure you can play on a court safely without ruining the court’s surface over time. Besides shoes, athletic ware keeps you cool and allows you the agility needed to reach the ball and return fast-paced shots.
Shoes for Paddle Tennis
If you’re looking for court shoes to play a game of Paddle Tennis, it’s important to get the right kind. You need high-quality shoes built by experienced brands, giving you a product that meets your on-court needs. Shoes designed for use on Hard court surfaces, like most tennis shoes, are the kind you need for Paddle Tennis. They give you the comfort and grip so you don’t trip, slip and slide, or mark the court.
The ASICS Gel-Challenger 12 is a cutting-edge court shoe from a leading athletic shoe brand. It’s built to suit recreational
players and provides its user with agility and ease of movement. You can easily maneuver across court with this shoe’s lightweight, cushioned insole and wear-resistant outsole. It also gives you loads of traction, grip, and stability to keep you in the game and finishing off those on-court moves. I actually used these as my tennis shoe. The description is on point. It’s a great shoe for recreational players and generally does the job. Ultimately, when it came time to replace them I found that I wanted something with a little more stability. Click the link for my ASICS Gel Challenger 12 Review
The K-Swiss Hypercourt Express also gives those who wear them a great on-court experience. The lightweight mesh and comfort-designed sole of the shoe allows ease of movement around the court.
Robust support yet breathability and lightness let you play long and hard in comfort. It’s classic, versatile, and stylish.
From a trusted tennis apparel, equipment, and shoe brand, the Babolat Jet Mach 3 is a great option for a lightweight, supportive, comfortable court shoe.
Updates to the stability arch found in the series 2 of the Jet Match along with its updated level of cushioning and flexibility make it a worthy update from the Jet Mach 2.
Another classic shoe from a tennis brand, the Wilson Rush Pro 3.0 is a trusted on-court product. Known for its reliability and durability, this shoe features comfortable sole design, reliable stability, and breathability.
This shoe is designed for on-court performance and can always be relied on to meet whatever athletic demands are placed on it.
As one of the most important pieces of equipment for an on-court athlete, shoe choice shouldn’t be overlooked. Taking the time to choose a great fitting pair of shoes that meet your on-court needs ensures the time you spend playing Paddle Tennis (or any other kind of court game) will always be enjoyable.