A Relaxed Game for the Beach

Are you looking for a fun family activity that is easy to learn, fun for the whole family, and does not require a lot of expensive equipment?  You may want to consider paddle tennis.  It is a game that can be enjoyed by both the very young as well as senior citizens. 

Although you will not need to buy much, you will want to get your own special paddles and balls. Paddle tennis racquets look a bit different from traditional racquets. There are no strings! In some places, this game is only played at the beach, although, in the United States, it is sometimes played on a special tennis court.   I have seen the game played both ways.  In either case, it is a lot of fun.

Nearly every morning in the Southern California retirement community where I live, you will find from four to twelve people playing paddle tennis on the small courts that have been designed specifically for this fun game. Although our community also boasts a number of regulation tennis courts, as well as a tennis pro shop that organizes matches and tournaments, paddle tennis is still a popular alternative. One reason is because it is played on a court that is somewhat smaller than a regular tennis court, so it requires the participants to run much less … especially if they are playing doubles. The smaller court also makes it an ideal sport for anyone who is just learning to play tennis, as well as for the person who has played all their life but now needs to take things a little easier. Personally, I have found that I enjoy paddle tennis more than I do regular tennis. It has been a wonderful way to get exercise and make friends at the same time! In addition to a paddle, what do you need to get started at this fun game?

Paddle tennis racquets look a little different from other tennis racquets

Paddle Tennis Equipment:

The construction of a paddle tennis court is very similar to a regular court, except it is smaller. The surfaces are made of the same materials, although the smaller court only measures 50 feet in length from baseline to baseline, with an additional 3 feet at each end for the service line. The court is 20 feet wide. The net is 31 inches high. In some areas of the country, especially the West Coast of the United States, a line is drawn 12 feet from the net on each side of the court. All the players must stay behind this line, until the player receiving the serve has returned the ball.

The paddle tennis court equipment is also very similar to regular tennis, although it has been modified somewhat to adapt it to a slower game. The ball used in paddle tennis looks like a normal tennis ball, except that its internal pressure has been reduced by being punctured with a needle or safety pin. This reduces the amount of "bounce" and slows down the ball's speed.  This is another reason why the game is easier and slower to play.

If you want to order the equipment you will need online, the easiest way is to use this direct link to Paddle Tennis supplies on Amazon.com.  Amazon sells everything you will need and it is often available at discount prices.

As mentioned earlier, the paddles are one of the few things you will really need to purchase.  The typical ones are only about the size of a small tennis racquet. They are made of wood or a similar solid material, and do not have strings. The paddles are usually perforated with little holes. They can be no more than 18 inches long and 9.5 inches wide. The paddles are available with a variety of handle thicknesses, to accommodate different size hands.

Basic Rules:

Paddle tennis is scored pretty much the same as traditional tennis, except the points are called out as "one, two, three" instead of "fifteen, thirty, etc." A score of zero is still referred to as "Love." When either side achieves four points, they have won the game. The first team to win six games wins the set. Three sets make up one match. Usually the teams change sides after every three games. This makes it fair if there are any issues with the sun.

Unlike traditional tennis, the ball is served underhanded.

Governing Association:

Like any other sport, there is a governing body that determines the office rules and helps to stage official competitions.  For a complete set of rules, or to find out more information about this fun sport, you can contact the United States Paddle Tennis Association (USPTA).

For more family fun, you may also want to read:

Summer Activities to do with Your Kids

Family Fun: Your California Beach, Golf and Disneyland Vacation!

Cheap Hotels near Disneyland

Universal Studios Hollywood, a review

Enjoying Your Laguna Beach Vacation

photo courtesy of photoxpress.com

Example of a Typical Racket from Amazon.com

It's a Fun, Easy Way to Stay Healthy!

Voit Collegiate Paddleball Racquet
Amazon Price: $18.99 $11.21 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 8, 2015)
Amazon has a large selection of paddles and balls, and anything else you may want to use to get started. If you want to see the other choices available, click on the blue product name above and you will be taken directly to the Amazon site where you can check out your other choices.