What is paddle tennis?
Played year round on the West Coast and especially popular in Venice, California Paddle tennis traces its roots back to an Episcopal minister, Frank Peer Beal, in lower Manhattan. Wanting to create recreational activities for neighborhood children, he got the city’s parks and recreation department to lay courts in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village in 1915. The first tournament was held in 1922, and the United States Paddle Tennis Associated was formed the following year. By 1941, paddle tennis was being played in almost 500 American cities.
Although Frank Beal is known as the game's inventor, Murray Geller, a player in the 1940s and ‘50s, was instrumental in creating the modern game. Elected chairman of the USPTA rules committee, he wanted to make the game more appealing to adults and instituted features including an enlarged court and an underhanded serve.
The sport uses a standard tennis ball with its internal pressure reduced so that when dropped from a height of 6 feet, it bounces to between 31 and 33 inches. This is usually achieved by puncturing the ball with a hypodermic needle or safety pin.
The paddle is made of a composite core covered with graphite, and contains no strings. It is usually textured or perforated and may have a metal rim around the head. Its dimensions are limited to 18" in length and 9.5" in width.
- Players: Played in both singles or doubles.
- Serves: Serve must be underhand. Only one serve is allowed.
- Score: Scoring method is the same as in tennis. Best of 3 sets.
- Ball: Tennis ball with reduced pressure.
- Paddle: No strings. Typically a perforated face.
- Court: There are two styles of courts. East and West cost styles.
- Walls: Walls or fences are NOT part of the game.
Paddle Tennis Court
While some paddle tennis is played on hard packed beach sand, most Paddle Tennis courts are constructed of the same materials as tennis courts. Overall court measurements are 50 feet from baseline to baseline. The court width is 20 feet and the service line is 3 feet inside the baseline. This creates a ten foot by 22 foot service box. The net height is 31 inches. On the west coast, a restraint line may be drawn parallel to the net, 12 feet back from the net (this area is "the bucket"). If using the restraint line, all players must keep both feet behind this line until after the player receiving the serve has struck the ball.
For More Information
Visit the USPTA http://www.theuspta.com/