As the popularity of outdoor paddle sports continues to surge, Platform Tennis and Pickleball have emerged as two captivating options for players of all ages and skill levels. Both games share similarities, involving paddles and a ball, but they possess distinct characteristics that set them apart. This article explores the unique attributes of Platform Tennis and Pickleball, highlighting their histories, rules, court specifications, gameplay styles, and the benefits they offer to participants. By understanding the differences and similarities between these two thrilling paddle sports, enthusiasts can make an informed choice about which sport best suits their preferences and needs.

Platform Tennis: The Cold-Weather Paddle Sport

History and Origins 

Platform Tennis, commonly known as “Paddle,” was invented in 1928 by James Cogswell and Fessenden Blanchard in Scarsdale, New York. It was initially devised as an off-season variation of tennis to be played during the colder months. The sport gained rapid popularity and expanded across the United States and internationally.

Court and Equipment 

Platform Tennis is played on an elevated court that is typically 30 feet wide and 60 feet long. The playing surface is surrounded by 12-foot-high walls made of wire fencing, allowing the ball to remain in play when it bounces off the walls. The court’s raised structure permits quick drainage, making it an ideal choice for playing in winter and wet conditions. Paddle players use solid paddles made of composite materials or graphite and a spongy rubber ball.

WILSON Platform Tennis Paddle - Ultra UL Gruuv
Platform Tennis Paddle
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ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle (Graphite Carbon Fiber Face with Rough Texture Surface, Cushion Comfort Grip and Nomex Honeycomb Core for Touch, Control, and Power)
Pickleball Paddle
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Gameplay and Rules

The rules of Platform Tennis are similar to traditional tennis, with a few key distinctions. The serving team must deliver the ball underhand diagonally to the opponents’ service box. Additionally, the ball can be played off the walls, allowing for strategic and dynamic gameplay. Teams consist of two players each, and points are scored when the opposing team fails to return the ball within the boundaries or commits a fault.

Pickleball: The Fast-Growing All-Ages Sensation

History and Origins 

Pickleball traces its roots back to 1965 when three friends – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum – created the game in Bainbridge Island, Washington. The trio intended to create a fun activity for their families and combined elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis, leading to the birth of Pickleball.

Court and Equipment

Pickleball is usually played on a smaller court, either indoors or outdoors, with dimensions of 20 feet wide and 44 feet long for doubles play. Singles play uses a slightly narrower court. The surface can be made of concrete, asphalt, or similar materials. The equipment includes a solid paddle, akin to a larger version of a table tennis paddle, and a plastic ball with holes.

Viking Low Bounce Extra Duty Platform Tennis Balls - 3 Pack - Yellow
Platform Tennis Ball
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Franklin Sports Outdoor- X-40 Pickleball Balls - USA Pickleball (USAPA) Approved - 3 Pack Outside Pickleballs - Optic Yellow - US Open Ball
Pickleball Ball
(Click Image to Check Reviews and Price)

Gameplay and Rules 

Pickleball rules are relatively straightforward, making it an accessible sport for beginners. The serving team initiates play by hitting the ball diagonally across the net. Both the server and receiver must stay behind their respective baseline until the ball is served. Unlike Platform Tennis, the ball is not allowed to bounce off the walls. The game progresses with back-and-forth rallies until a point is won. Points are scored only by the serving team, and games are typically played to 11 points (or 15 or 21, depending on the players’ preference).

Similarities:

AspectPlatform Tennis and Pickleball
1. Paddle SportsInvolves hitting a ball with a paddle.
2. Social SportsFosters community and social interaction.
3. Hand-Eye CoordinationRequires development of hand-eye coordination.
4. Cardiovascular WorkoutOffers excellent cardiovascular workout.
5. Doubles PlayCommonly played with teams of two players.

Differences:

AspectPlatform TennisPickleball
1. Court Size and SurfaceLarger court, 30ft x 60ft, with elevated surface.Smaller court, 20ft x 44ft, indoors or outdoors.
2. Ball Type and MaterialUses rubber ball designed for colder temperatures.Uses plastic ball with holes for a slower pace.
3. Gameplay Style and IntensityFast-paced and intense gameplay with ball rebounding off walls.Leisurely and social gameplay without wall rebounds.
4. Court BoundariesBall allowed to bounce off walls, expanding play area.Ball must stay within defined court boundaries.
5. Scoring SystemPoints scored when opposing team fails to return the ball.Only serving team can score points; games played to 11 points, must win by 2.
6. Accessibility and InclusivityMore challenging and competitive, higher physical demand.Welcomes players of all ages and abilities.
Platform Tennis Court

Conclusion

Platform Tennis and Pickleball have rapidly become two of the most popular paddle sports worldwide, each offering unique playing experiences and attracting diverse communities of enthusiasts. Platform Tennis, with its cold-weather appeal and fast-paced action, appeals to those seeking a challenging and strategic sport. Pickleball’s accessibility, social nature, and adaptable court options make it an excellent choice for players of all ages and abilities.

Ultimately, the choice between Platform Tennis and Pickleball depends on individual preferences, skill levels, and desired levels of competitiveness. Regardless of which sport players opt for, both Platform Tennis and Pickleball provide exceptional opportunities for physical fitness, social engagement, and enjoyment of the great outdoors. So, grab your paddle and join the ever-growing community of paddle sports enthusiasts!

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