Like a mini tennis - with some key modifications - Platform Tennis is easy to understand and fun for all. We break it down into five simple rules so you can get right to playing!

The Basic Concept of Platform Tennis

The 1989 movie, “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” turned out to be a top five hit despite bad reviews. The basic premise was that the scientist dad (Rick Moranis) accidentally shrinks his two teenage kids who are pretty normal - other than being insect sized. Hilarity ensues. Lots of money is made - by Disney of course.

If you think of platform (or paddle) tennis as “Honey, I Shrunk the Tennis,” and you understand tennis, you are a long way toward understanding the rules of the game. Like the movie, platform tennis is designed to be fun for everyone and easy to understand. Like tennis though, it is very helpful to have good quality equipment.

Here, we break down the five rules of Platform Tennis. By the end of this guide, you'll have all the information you need to get started with this fun sport!

#1 - The Court

This is NOT a tennis court. It looks like one - except for the dimensions. It is much smaller than a tennis court. But what you can’t tell from a flat illustration is that the outer edge of the court is surrounded by a twelve-foot high chicken wire fence. The chicken wire is installed to be tightly strung so that balls can be played off the side and/or back “walls.”

The court surface itself is called the “deck” for a reason. It sits elevated to accommodate a heating system which allows the game to be played in most any weather but especially in the colder months of the year and to melt any snow and to dry the moisture. The surface is usually a system of deck boards.

The lines are set up for either doubles or singles play, but usually this very social game is played with a doubles team.

#2 - Scoring

This is exactly the same as tennis with sets to six games, win by two with a tiebreaker usually played at six all. Whoever wins the rally, gets the point. A match is best two out of three sets. No add scoring is becoming increasingly popular as is a tiebreaker played as the third, deciding set.

#3 - Serving

The concept is the same as in tennis, alternating sides and teams and rotating servers. You get only one chance to get the ball into the serving box opposite where you stand. And, unlike tennis, if it hits the net and goes in, it is not a let. It is in play.

There are no rules about the serving motion so it can be underhand (like pickleball) or overhead (like tennis.) The ball must be hit by the server before it touches the ground.

Footfaults can be called if the server is materially moving their feet at the time the ball is served or if they enter the court prior to striking the ball. The first incidence of a footfault is played as a let with any subsequent violations resulting in a loss of point.

#4 - Rallies

Just as in tennis, once the serve is in play, the point continues until someone fails to get it in court either by hitting the ball in the air (a volley) or off the first bounce. Unlike tennis, the ball can be played off the chicken wire sides or back if it first is hit in court. However, unlike racquetball, if the ball is played off the wire, it must first be hit to the opponent’s court and cannot be played back off the side or back. Bottom line: the ball must be hit in court first or it is a loss of point.

#5 - Singles Modifications

The match is played in the narrower of the two sets of lines. Also, the server gets two opportunities to get the serve in play. Finally, no add scoring is the customary scoring method.

Platform tennis is easy to learn and easy to play, but making sure you have the right paddle for your skills is important. Look to TennisRacquets.com to be your source of high quality paddles, shoes and other accessories. We love to help players who are just taking up a new sport or the player who is looking to upgrade their equipment. Contact us with questions!


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