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Pickleball Vs Platform Tennis – The Key Differences

Pickleball Vs Platform Tennis
Written by Alex

Knowing the esoteric nuance of sports that seem similar at a glance could bamboozle anyone, even a former professional athlete and a coach, I have a hard time guessing the theme of the session whenever I am amongst the spectators.

Despite the fact each sport nowadays boasts its own signature set of aura and game mechanics, some sports that utilize racquet can be challenging to differentiate, let alone wrap your head around its theme and learn the basics.

Let’s take pickleball versus platform Tennis for instance, while both Pickleball Vs Platform Tennis sports might look like they are cut from the same sport, there are some hidden differences which in this article I will be shedding light on. 

Backstory Of Platform Tennis

As the old saying goes, “Invention is the mother of necessity” and the origin story for platform tennis isn’t any different here, as it is a sport that is the product of its environment which closely mimics the roots of Tennis with a twist. 

To further elaborate, in 1932, Cogswell and Blanchard struggled with keeping the ball off the boundaries since they were playing in an unstable area in a chilly winter. So they decided to raise a fence that would keep the ball in the court while enabling the walls as a part of their game’s core mechanics.

Since then, courts designed for tennis have been fenced on uneven terrain and are named “platform tennis” since they have elevated levels, while the closed fence prevents the ball from going astray.

How Pickleball Came into being?

As for Pickleball, its backstory is much more anti-climate, in fact, it lies more on the sentimental spectrum.

The official game of Washington was invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard and his friends Barney McCallum and Bill Bell who devised this sport simply for recreational purposes so they and their children could enjoy it without anyone injuring themselves.

Differences Between Pickleball Vs Platform Tennis

Let’s explore the fundamentals of both of these sports and how they differentiate from each other, even if they use a similar form of Paddles.

Court Size

The typical court of Platform tennis measures up to 30 feet (9.1m) in width and is 60 feet (13m) long which is also known as the deck.

However, the playable area in the court is shrunken down to 44 feet in length while having a width of 20 feet. 

The area behind the baseline and the gap between the walls and the service box are considered the out-of-bounds regions, however, the fence itself is also part of the playing field, the height of these fences is usually around 8 feet or higher and prevents the ball from going out of the bounds even if the game is played on a leveled field.

On the other hand, a Pickleball court measures up to 44 feet in length and has a width of 20 feet, almost similar to Platform tennis but without the fences covering for the ball going out of bounds.

Another discrepancy you would see on a pickleball court is the presence of a Kitchen or Non-Volley Zone which is around 7 7-foot wide gap that prevents players from volleying the ball directly across the net and is present at each side of the court.

Equipment Type

But that’s not it yet, you would be surprised to know the balls used in Platform are quite similar to the one used in traditional tennis but they are considerably smaller in size and has a diameter of 2.5 inches. 

They are spongey yet have a tactile bounce and come in many colors depending on the brand and their quality, however, green is the go-to choice since it has a higher level of visibility especially if you consider the color of the court. 

The Paddle of Platform tennis is similar to a Pickleball Paddle but instead of a smooth surface, the face is perforated to enhance the texture. The length of the Platform tennis Paddle measures up to 18 inches, however, there are variations that have a shorter length with a more profound grip. In total, there are 89 holes on the face, each having a diameter of 9.5mm.

On the other hand, Pickleball Paddles are considerably shorter, in fact, the maximum length is around 16 inches with a width of 7 inches. These paddles are made from graphite or wooden material and usually have a nomex or aluminum core to assist in ball swinging.

Speaking of the ball, in Pickleball, a synthetic plastic ball with a hollow structure is used which weighs 3 ounces and has around 40 small holes giving off a perforated design that is heavily influenced by the wind.

Surface Dynamics

Since the court of the platform tennis is called a “deck”, it is usually built on wooden plywood to assist the tennis balls’ spongy texture whenever it makes contact with the wooden surface.

On the other hand, a Pickleball court is typically made on a Concrete surface or asphalt, since it works well in conjunction with the plastic ball, allowing them to have a higher bounce frequency.

Read Also: Pop Tennis and Pickleball – Paddle’s Haven

How does the Serving Rule Of Pickleball Differentiates From Platform Tennis?

In order to understand the differences, let’s take a look at the Pickleball Serving methodologies.

  • Only The Server has to announce the initial score before serving.
  • The Serve has to be performed through underhand gestures.
  • The paddle has to remain below the waistline while hitting the ball across the net.
  • The server has to stand behind the baseline while implementing the double bounce rule on the ball while serving it diagonally across the net.

Now Let’s Take a Look At Platform Tennis Serving Methodology,

  • There is no such thing as a Non-volley zone, so players can volley from anywhere after serving the ball.
  • The player has to stand behind the service line before serving the ball diagonally across the net.
  • The ball must be well over the net and must land on the correct side of the court when playing in a doubles format.
  • There is no rule that enables players to announce the score when serving.

Pickleball Vs Platform Tennis – Conclusion

In the end, I would add my two cents by saying that both of these sports are designed for casual and professional players and cater equally to them, as the division compatibility isn’t restricted by any official law, so if you want to play singles, doubles, mixed doubles or round robin, you have the complete liberty as long as your teammates are down for it.

As far as the major differences between Pickleball and Platform tennis are concerned, Pickleball courts when played in outdoor settings, don’t tend to have fences or walls and even if they do, once the ball hits the fence it is considered out of the boundaries and automatically results in a fault, meanwhile in Platform Tennis, the fence itself acts as a fundamental part of the game.

About the author


Hello, I'm Alex, and welcome to PicklerSpot – your ultimate resource for all things pickleball! I've curated this blog to share my 5 years of expertise and tips to enhance your pickleball skills.

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