Platform Tennis vs. Pickleball — Which is More Popular in Nantucket?
December 17, 2022

Over the last couple of years, several reputable new sources have reported pickleball as the world’s fastest-growing sport. One of the places where pickleball seems to have exploded in popularity is Nantucket Island. Some reports have alluded to the fact that the island is steering pickleball toward global dominance.

Pickleball isn’t the only sport that has been gaining popularity in Nantucket; there’s also platform tennis. It’s common to think that platform tennis and pickleball are similar if you are new to both sports, but they are different. Here are insights into pickleball and platform tennis, their differences, where Nantucket sits in all of this, and their health benefits.

What is Platform Tennis?

To grasp pickleball well, you first need to understand platform tennis. Platform tennis, also known as paddle tennis, is played on one-third of a traditional tennis court, which is 40 feet long. James Cogswell and Fessenden Blanchard created the game in 1928 as a derivative of the traditional tennis game that could be played in the winter. The duo had tried to play volleyball and badminton, but the available court was too small.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a more recent invention than platform tennis, as it was developed in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, by congressman Joel Pritchard and a couple of his friends. The companions tried to play badminton but couldn’t find the shuttlecock. So they improvised a new game by grabbing a Whiffle ball, setting the badminton lower, and playing with make-shift paddles cut from plywood.

The Differences Between Pickleball and Platform Tennis

Several differences set apart the game of pickleball and the game of platform tennis. The five primary differences between the games are

  1. The Court: The platform tennis court is one-third the size of a conventional tennis court, while the court for pickleball is four feet shorter than the court for platform tennis.
  2. The Fence: The pickleball court has no fence, while a 12-foot-high chicken wire fence surrounds the platform tennis court. In platform tennis, the ball can bounce off the fence and remain in play, yet no such rule exists in pickleball, as there’s no net.
  3. The Ball: The pickleball ball is a plastic ball that resembles a circular shell with holes, while the platform tennis ball is a spongy ball similar to the one used in conventional tennis.
  4. No-Volley Zone: Pickleball has a unique no-volley zone, also known as “the kitchen,” on each side of the net, while platform tennis has no such zone.
  5. The Paddles: Competitive pickleball paddles are mandated to be smooth, and specialized tools are used to ensure standard smoothness. Varying levels of paddle smoothness can give one player an advantage in pickleball. In contrast, competitive platform tennis paddles are allowed to have texture and holes.

Which is More Popular?

Pickleball has recently surpassed platform tennis in popularity. Pickleball’s popularity star started shining brighter over platform tennis among seniors in Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas as a winter sport more than a decade ago.

While people of all ages can play both sports, it’s in Nantucket that pickleball is gaining traction as a sport for all ages. This Nantucket traction has already started influencing people of all ages all over America to develop an interest in pickleball.

You might wonder: “How is Nantucket different from all other places where pickleball is already popular among seniors?” Well, on Nantucket Island, pickleball is more accessible to the general public than in other places.

The most visited pickleball courts on the island are near Nantucket Memorial Airport. When you are here, take a walk down Macy’s Lane, and you will come across a couple of platform tennis courts. Behind the platform tennis courts sit four brand-new pickleball courts. All courts are fitted with sufficient lighting that allows you to play and enjoy the matches after dark and in the winter.

The “sports complex” has a kitchen, a lounge with a fireplace, and two restrooms. The “sports complex” is owned and run by the Nantucket Racquet Sports Association (NRSA), which charges a $10 guest fee to use the courts.

Should You Even Care About Pickleball and Platform Tennis?

Yes. Research by John Ratey, MD, a Harvard Medical School medical professor, shows that pickleball and platform tennis have unique health benefits compared to other sports. The two sports exercise the brain and the cardiovascular system, unlike other sports, which only exercise the cardiovascular system.


Pickleball is more popular, but that does not mean you should disregard platform tennis. Both are equally beneficial. Whether you’re young or old, it’s time to start participating in one of these sports to reap the health benefits and improve your physical condition. There’s no better place to begin your journey than on Nantucket. Rent a Nantucket home today to get tranquil accommodations that will enable you to experience the island’s sports and numerous other unique offerings.

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