Difference between Padel, Platform Tennis, POP Tennis, Spec Tennis & Beach Tennis

Here in the Northeast U.S., there is one paddle sport that people are crazy about…Platform Tennis.  However, unbeknownst to many ‘Northeasterners’, there are equally enthusiastic groups of paddle sportsters from the Midwest to the West coast, in Puerto Rico and as far reaching as Europe.  They play the all-season POP Tennis, Padel or Beach Tennis.  All of these sports are growing rapidly and provide as much fun as they do competition.


Platform Tennis had its beginnings around 1930, begun by a group of tennis enthusiasts looking for winter entertainment in a racquet sport.  Played on an elevated, heated court (typically in the winter months) that is surrounded by wire fence walls off of which the ball can be played. It is a doubles game where the best of 3 sets wins. Only one serve is allowed and standard tennis scoring applies. It is an easy sport to learn and very little gear is required to play.


Court measurement – 44′ Long by 20′ Wide with markings like a miniature tennis court
Net Height – 34″
Perimeter – Court is bordered by a 12 Foot tall galvanized fence
Equipment –
Platform Tennis Paddle – 18″ is the standard paddle length.  Composition includes Graphite, Titanium
and solid EVA cores (no strings!)  Holes cut in the paddle face aid in
maneuverability and help bite the ball.

Platform Tennis Ball – Wilson or Viking are the manufacturers of the standard, very unique platform tennis ball.
It is a firm ball with a short felt-like surface called flocking. One ball typically lasts for one session of play.

Platform Tennis Shoes – Players wear durable tennis shoes (court surface is very abrasive). Running
shoes and cross-trainers NOT recommended for safety reasons!

For more information on Platform Tennis, contact the APTA (American Platform Tennis Assoc.)


POP Tennis (until recently was called Paddle Tennis) is believed to have originated in 1898 as an outdoor game for children. In 1959, Murray Geller revised the format and rules and the standardized game of Paddle Tennis took off for players of all age groups. Paddle Tennis can be played either as singles or doubles and the winner is the best of three sets. Tennis scoring applies, although only one underhand serve is allowed. It is an easy sport to learn and as with tennis, very little gear is required to play. Especially popular in the Southeast and West Coast regions and now, with the backing of the USTA, is gaining popularity across the USA. In order to better market the sport, promoters have changed the name to POP Tennis which corresponds to the sound of the ball hitting the paddle.

Watch POP Tennis here.


Court measurement – 50′ Long* by 20′ Wide (no doubles lanes).  Singles and Doubles played on the same court. *Note: now often played on a 60′ x 27′ full tennis court with a 36″ high net but not ideal
Net Height – 31″
Equipment –
POP Tennis Paddle – 18″ is the standard paddle length.  Composition includes Graphite, Titanium
and solid EVA cores (no strings!)  Holes in the paddle aid in maneuverability and help bite the ball.

POP Tennis Ball – A punctured / deadened tennis ball, low compression tennis ball or the Control+ Green Dot Ball made by Penn

POP Tennis Shoes – Wear good quality tennis shoes! Running shoes and cross-trainers NOT recommended for safety reasons!


Take the fun and fast-paced sport of tennis… combine it with the sun, sea and sand of the beach… and you have beach tennis, the most electrifying new sport to hit the U.S.

Beach tennis merges the worlds of tennis and beach volleyball into one exciting sport. It can be played both competitively and recreationally and because it’s so simple to play, it appeals to athletes and non-athletes of all ages.

So what exactly is beach tennis? It’s like regular tennis except it’s played on a regulation beach volleyball court. Using paddles, two players on each team volley back and forth, hitting a slightly depressurized tennis ball directly over the net without letting it bounce… it’s hard to make the ball bounce on sand! One hit per team is all that’s allowed.

Your team scores a point each time your opponents hit the ball outside the lines or let it hit the sand.


  • The Penn T.I.P.2 ball is the official ball of Beach Tennis USA
  • Regulation net height is 5 ft. 6 3/4 inch. (1.7 meters)
  • Width of an official Beach Tennis court is 26 1/4 ft. (8 meters)
  • Length of an official Beach Tennis court is 52 1/2 ft. (16 meters)
  • Beach Tennis Paddle must be minimum of 18 1/2 inches in length and no longer than 20 inches

Beach Tennis Paddle – 18″ is the standard paddle length (no longer than 20″ allowed).
Composition includes Graphite, Titanium and solid EVA cores (no strings!)
Holes in the paddle head aid in maneuverability and help bite the ball

Beach Tennis Ball – A punctured / deadened tennis ball or low compression Penn Tennis Ball

Shoes – what shoes???? You’re in the sand!!!

Listed below are the official rules and regulations for the 2010 season of Beach Tennis USA®, the organization responsible for launching the sport of beach tennis in North America.


  • Scoring is the same as tennis 15-30-40
  • NO ADD scoring… at 40-40 (deuce) next point wins
  • In mixed doubles, men serve underhand
  • Lets are in play
  • You only get 1 serve
  • The ball can NOT hit the sand… if the ball does hit the sand, the opposing team receives a point
  • If the ball strikes the line in any way, the ball is good
  • No part of a players body or his/her equipment may touch the net or cross the plain of the net (over or under).. by doing so, the player and his/her teammate will loose the point being played
  • The player serving must stay behind the base line while serving… if any part of a players body touches the base line in his/her service motion before hitting the ball, it is considered a foot fault (serving team will loose the point)
  • ‘One hit and over’… you may not pass the ball to your doubles partner, one hit to get the ball over the net



Pickleball too slow for you?  Have an abundance of pickleball courts in your area but want to use them to play a faster paced, more athletic game?  Give SPEC Tennis a go.  Quieter, faster and more tennis-like, SPEC Tennis provides an alternate use for all those pickleball courts and is often played as both singles and doubles. Many tennis players move to pickleball as they age due to the smaller court size which makes it easier to cover.  With SPEC Tennis, the smaller court size can be fully utilized, with tons of shot options and a significantly faster pace.

SPEC Tennis uses platform tennis paddles with a low compression tennis ball (depressurized or roughly 50% pressure).  The “pickleball kitchen” is disregarded so that the full court is in play and serve and volley is allowed.  Check out the full SPEC Tennis rules and description.


  • Net height is 34″ in the center, 36″ on the sides
  • Court size is 40 feet x 20 feet
  • Platform tennis paddle (18″) is used with a low compression tennis ball

For further information, check out spectennis.com


Padel is a form of racquet sport and is a close relative of tennis. Although not as popular as tennis across the world, it is particularly popular in Spanish speaking countries such as Mexico, Spain and Argentina.  As a game, it is very similar to tennis, however there are some slight differences. Played only in doubles, it is also played on an enclosed court that is significantly smaller than a tennis court and has walls that can be used during the game. However, the balls used are almost identical (although with slightly less pressure) and the scoring system is the same.

The object of Padel is to win two out of the three sets that constitute a match.


Padel is played on an enclosed court that is just over a third of the size of a tennis court and has a playing surface of 20m x 10m. Similar to a tennis court it is divided in the middle by a net, but unlike tennis the court is surrounded by walls, which can be utilized by players during the game. The surface of the court can be made from a variety of materials, including cement, synthetic materials or artificial grass.

Padel racquets or padel paddles (sometimes called bats) are made from composite materials with holes in the face and are a “thicker” style paddle, roughly 38 mm. Because the racquet is much shorter than a tennis racquet, it is much easier to control. It typically has a wrist tether on the handle, for safety reasons in the even the paddle slips from the player’s hand.

Each match begins with a serve, which must be done underhand but like tennis must go diagonally into the opponent’s court. Scoring is like tennis. Matches are made up of 3 sets, with each set made up of six games. The winners of two out of the three sets will be declared winners of the Padel match.

For further information, check out https://www.rulesofsport.com/sports/padel.html