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Playing Paddle Tennis – Summary of the Official Rules

Updated on May 12, 2011
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Paddle Tennis Anyone?

Paddle Tennis courts can be found in many multisport court designs. Adapted from tennis, it is ideal for multisport courts due to its smaller size and similar court design to other sports. As with tennis, there is a racquet and a tennis ball and can be played as single and doubles.

Finding the rules for Paddle Tennis was a little bit of a challenge but here are the basics.

Scoring

Paddle Tennis can be played as singles or doubles. It is scored the same way as tennis with a match being the best of three sets. A set consists of a sequence of games (a game is the number of points received by the server before changing to another player), ending when a player receives at least four points in total with at least two points more than the opponent.

Sounds a little confusing! If the first person serving reaches 4 points without their opponent scoring, then they win. Otherwise, the first player to have 2 points above the other wins after one of the players has reached 4 points. Hopefully that cleared it up a little.

Equipment

The paddle should be made of a solid material that may have holes with some texture but no strings and can not be larger than 9 1/2" x 18".

A regular tennis ball with a little of the pressure removed can be used for play. The correct pressure can be achieved by puncturing the ball. The tennis ball should bounce between 31" and 33" when dropped from a height of 6'0".

The paddle tennis court should be 50' x 20'. A center line should be drawn down the court perpendicular to the net and a service line of 3' running parallel to the net on each side.

The net should be 22' long by 2'6" wide with the top of the net at exactly 31" above the surface of the court.

Positions of the Players

For singles, the server stands behind the baseline and to the left or right of the center line. The receiver should stand diagonally opposite of the server on the other side of the net.

For doubles, the server stands behind the baseline and to the left or right of the center line with their partner on the other side of the center line but same side of the net. The receiver should stand diagonally opposite of the server on the other side of the net with their partner on the other side of the center line.

Serving

A serve may occur in two ways but may only use one way per set… so no changing methods during a set. While standing behind the baseline, (1) the ball may be thrown in the air – or – (2) the ball may be bounced on the court surface (behind the baseline) and hit with the paddle underhand at a point not higher the 31” above the surface of the court. The server must not touch the baseline or the imaginary extension of the center line with either foot. You must actually hit the ball. The serve must land on the opposite side of the net (without touching it) diagonally from where the server stood within in the lines of play. If the serve is not completed as describe, the serving side loses a point. Oh… and the receiver must indicate they are ready or the serve is redone so no surprise serves.

Points

An opponent receives a point if…

(1) A player does not allow the ball to bounce on his side before being permitted to volley for the first time (the “two bounce” rule).

(2) A player returns a ball after a second bounce.

(3) A player hits the ball and it hits the net, other permanent fixtures, or outside the opponent’s court.

(4) A player hits the ball more than once with his paddle during a stroke.

(5) A player or paddle hits the net, other permanent fixtures, or the ground while the ball is still in play.

(6) A player throws the paddle to hit the ball.

(7) A player returns a ball that hits a permanent fixture before hitting the ground.

(8) Both players (in doubles) hit the ball during one stroke.

There are several rules that ultimately discourage bad sportsmanship, so be kind to your opponent out there. I hope this is a good summary of the rules to get everyone started with Paddle Tennis.

And that's Just About It!



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