If you’re not a fan of skiing, opportunities to be active outdoors may be few and far between once winter sets in. Enter: platform tennis, colloquially known as paddle, with a main season that runs from fall through spring. For tennis players, it’s an easy transition, but the sport is also accessible to anyone interested in trying something new, with public courts scattered throughout the county.
Invented in 1928 by two Scarsdale residents looking for an alternative winter sport, paddle is played on what looks like a raised tennis court fenced in with chicken wire. The game bears similarities to tennis—with the bonus of heated courts for play in the freezing-cold or snow. Scoring is similar, much of the terminology is the same, and serve-and-volley is a popular technique. But there are differences: It’s played with a perforated paddle not a racquet, the court is smaller, players are only allowed one serve, and balls may be hit off of the screens.
The American Platform Tennis Association (APTA) runs leagues and tournaments throughout the year, maintains rankings, and promotes the sport. Even if you don’t learn to play, you can check out the nation’s top teams (many of which live or work in Westchester) this March at the 81st National Championship, which will take place in Rye/Harrison and across the border in Fairfield County.
For more information about platform tennis, a list of local courts, and information about joining a local league, visit www.platformtennis.org.