What is Paddle Tennis?

What is paddle tennis? Paddle tennis is a sport in which two or four players hit a ball back and forth over a net using a paddle in an 11m by 5m court. One would ask, what is the average price of a tennis paddle? The average price of a tennis paddle is $125 while ranging from $75 to $290.

For the average cost of paddle tennis gear, check out our article on paddle tennis gear costs.

More about Paddle Tennis balls in What’s the difference between Paddle Tennis Ball and Tennis Ball? and on the costs of a paddle tennis court in What is the Cost of a Paddle Tennis Court? Your Full Guide on Paddle Tennis Court Costs and Expenses.

Paddle Tennis Player

To know more about budgeting in tennis, you may refer to our articles on budgeting and tennis gear costs.

What is paddle tennis?

Paddle tennis, often called “paddle” for short, is a sport in which two or four players hit a ball back and forth over a net using paddles. The game is generally played in an enclosed indoor area such as a gymnasium, church hall, or recreation center. Paddles are about the size of a racquet and resemble an oversized ping pong paddle.

Paddle tennis is easy to learn, making it a popular choice for both adults and children alike. The American Paddle Tennis Association lists the average age range of players as 35 to 65 years old, including male and female members. Paddles are lightweight, at about 4 ounces, making them easy for the player to handle.

The paddle tennis ball is about 1.5 inches in diameter and weighs less than 1 ounce.

How to start and play paddle tennis

A paddle tennis game begins with a coin toss. Players then decide who will serve first by another coin toss or other method that the players agree on before the game starts.

Once both players are ready, the server stands behind the baseline and serves by tossing the ball in the air and hitting it with their paddle.

The opposing player must hit the ball back over the net before it bounces a second time. At this point, players alternate turns until one of them fails to return the ball properly.

A proper return consists of hitting the ball to bounce in the opposite court or outside the baseline, go out of bounds, or hit the net. The game finishes when one player wins by two points.

A player wins a point each time she successfully serves the ball and returns it over the net.

Paddle tennis began to gain popularity in 1991 with nationwide publicity about paddle tournaments that included celebrities. Celebrities such as Andre Agassi, Serena Williams, and Anna Kournikova have all endorsed paddle tennis products.

The game’s popularity has also increased due to several organizations that promote it across the nation. These include USA Paddle Tennis, American Paddle Association, Professional Paddle Tennis Tour, and World Paddle Tour.

Several amateur paddle teams have also succeeded in national competitions, including the Illinois Paddle Tennis Club, the New York City WTT Team, and the DCRP Team. The WPTA has organized top-level tournaments across the country.

Paddle tennis is a great way to spend time with family members or friends while getting fresh air and exercise. But just as with any sport, it’s essential to have the proper equipment. For paddle tennis, this includes paddles and a good-quality ball.

At first glance, a paddle seems simple to use but requires an intense wrist action, so you need a good grip. The best way to get started is to buy one of our pre-assembled packs, which contain the best available products.

Paddle Tennis Rules


The court is 11 meters long (measured from the backline) by 5 meters wide. There are two small lines painted across each side of the court, near the net on each side. These lines serve reception and mark where the ball is out of play on a sideline (see game section).


Paddle tennis uses many different types of paddle, but all of them have one thing in common: they are smaller than handheld racquets. There are different types of paddles; some have a square face and others have a round face. The square one is much easier to play with and is the official paddle used in USPTA sanctioned tournaments (the round ones can be used as well, but no statistics will be kept).

Paddles also come in different weights: The heavier, the better (a lighter paddle will be harder to control, and its spin capabilities will be severely limited). The standard weight is between 150 and 200 grams, but feel free to experiment with other weights.

Most players use a white paddle; if you put the black dye on your hand while playing, you will see it easily on a white background.

Paddle tennis also requires softballs. Balls come in different colors as well, but the most common ones are yellow and green. Yellow is used during hot weather conditions (it doesn’t become as hard as a rock after a few minutes of play), while green is used for colder days.


The serve starts with one player standing on each side of the court. The server must keep at least 1 foot behind the line and not step on it until they hit the ball.

The server then tosses the ball in the air and hits it to bounce twice before hitting the ground (giving his opponent time to move to a good position).

The server also has to serve from behind the line, which means they must hit the ball when it bounces back over the net. If the serving player hits the ball before it crosses over (even if it touches his opponent), a point is given to their opponent.

This rule helps prevent people from going around the net for a better position.

Each point starts with a serve from the serving side of the court.


The scoring system in paddle tennis is straightforward: You can only win by two points (you need three to win a game). And every time you win a point, you score one point. If your opponent wins a point, then the score goes back to zero. In other words: he didn’t win anything.

  • You win a game if you can get to three points without letting your opponent do the same.
  • When playing a best of 5 games match, it becomes a tie if no one scores in the first four games (10).
  • The game is played to 11 points, win by two. If you get 10-all, it becomes deuce, which means that the next point wins. At deuce, both players change ends; this can be done after every point.

However, if one player reaches 6 points (the other has only 4), then they are the winner.


The only way to score a point when serving is by hitting the ball so that your opponent cannot hit it before it bounces twice on the ground. If you do so, then you win the point, no matter where he hits it back (if your opponent can hit a winner, it doesn’t matter where the ball bounced).

You have to toss the ball up in the air and hit it with full force to serve correctly. If your opponent tries to intercept the service by moving forward before you hit the ball, then they can be called for a foot-fault (the foot must stay behind the line when you hit the ball).

  • If your opponent does not go for the service but instead stays in their baseline, then they cannot be called.
  • As soon as you hit the ball with your serve, you have to step out of the service zone without stepping on or over any part of the line (it’s okay to step on the line partially).
  • Then, you have to stand behind the other service line until your opponent hits the ball.
  • If your opponent hits a winner, it doesn’t matter whether or not you stepped out of your zone (they win). If you hit an illegal serve (i.e., if you step on the line), your opponent wins.
  • If you try to hit a winner before your opponent returns the ball, then it’s out of bounds, and they win.

Just like in tennis, you cannot return an overhead shot with another one. However, there is no such thing as a volley-return. If you serve the ball by hitting it over the net, your opponent has to return it by hitting it before it bounces twice on the ground (if they do not, then out of bounds and win for the serving player).

Paddle Tennis Main Differences with Tennis

Paddle Tennis has several aspects that differentiate it from the more common game of tennis. The court is smaller, with two walls on one end (the side where service is sent) and only one partition on the other end.

This makes for a much tighter playing area than seen in regular tennis.

Further, the ball used in Paddle Tennis is much lighter. The ball used in Paddle Tennis weighs only 2 ounces (versus the 4-6 ounce balls used for regular tennis).

The lack of weight makes the ball fly at a much lower velocity than its hard rubber, metal, or composite counterpart. Players can place it low and deep into the court to force their opponents to make difficult shots.

Additionally, Paddle Tennis is played on a paddle instead of a racquet. A significant difference is that the strings are not strung as tightly together in Paddle Tennis as they are in regular tennis.

This results in greater ball “play” and more opportunity to place the ball exactly where the player wants it.

For professional players, Paddle Tennis is much more relaxed than regular tennis. With no clothes or shoes required for play (usually only a bathing suit and sandals), along with concise sets (best of five games), playing Paddle Tennis feels like an outing with friends rather than serious competition.

Players are also required to supply their paddles, usually purchased for between $15 and $30.

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