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Many levels of competition make sport easy to join
4-01-2007
Rochester Democrat

Rochester, NY
Played on specially designed elevated courts that are surrounded by chicken wire and heated from underneath to melt the snow and ice, platform tennis is the only racquet sport that can be played outside in the winter.... The game offers 14 skill levels: elite to can’t-chew-gum-and-swing-a-paddle-at-the-same-time. full story




 

Rochester Democrat
reprinted from http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070401/SPORTS/704010355/1013

(April 1, 2007) — Played on specially designed elevated courts that are surrounded by chicken wire and heated from underneath to melt the snow and ice, platform tennis is the only racquet sport that can be played outside in the winter.

oz
CARLOS ORTIZ staff photographer
Paddle tennis rackets can run $50 to $100, but some courts rent paddles and balls to beginners. Paddles are about the size of a racquetball racket.

A typical season runs from October to April but many enthusiasts play year-round because it’s a fun, fast-paced game that provides an excellent workout, combining aspects of traditional tennis, racquetball and squash.

The game offers 14 skill levels: elite to can’t-chew-gum-and-swing-a-paddle-at-the-same-time.

“A lot of (people) are intimidated about coming out to play a sport but if there are this many levels, you’re going to be with people who are exactly the same as you,” said Lori Merkel, 44, a member of Oak Hill Country Club who plays in the Women’s Thursday Interclub League.

“It’s a lot of fun. I’d recommend it to anybody, absolutely.”

This is primarily a doubles sport, making it a great social activity. The American Platform Tennis Association has 8,000 registered members.

Here’s how to get into the swing:

Name game: Platform tennis players often call their game “paddle” and it’s acceptable. But just to be clear, there is a game called paddleball, an urban sport played against a wall and paddle tennis, a downsized version of tennis invented in the late 1800s.

The court: One-quarter the size of a regular tennis court, roughly a 30 x 60 deck with a 20 x 44 inbounds area. The metal decking has a course surface to reduce slipping and is heated by a propane or natural gas system. The walls are 12-feet high, the net 34 inches high. Lighting enables play on frigid winter evenings.

Gear: Paddles, which run $50 to $100, have aerodynamic holes and are about the size of a racquetball racket. Balls are much more dense than traditional tennis balls. Conventional tennis shoes work fine. Eye protection is recommended.

Rules: Scoring is the same as tennis but there is only one serve and balls that touch the net or the mesh walls are in play.

Strategy: Good players keep the ball in play with a lot of lobs, waiting for the right kill shot. Elite players can average 60 to 70 hits per point. Weather conditions — rain or extreme cold — affect the ball’s bounce forcing adjustments.

Injuries: Expect to experience sore joints from the start-and-stop pounding. Falls can result in scraped knees due to the gritty court surface.

Paddle hut: This is a building right next to the courts where participants can get warm, socialize and relive their glory, real and imagined. Some are rustic and some are elaborate, coming with locker rooms, fireplaces and a bar.

 


 
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