Even though I practically live beside the South Campus Recreation Complex and have even played tennis on it multiple times, I had no idea there were paddle tennis courts there. And aside from that, I had never heard of the sport. One of the Campus Rec interns, Maggie, and I decided to give the game a shot to figure out how to play this mysterious sport.
First we checked out some equipment – two paddles and two balls (maybe we looked strong enough to lose one by hitting it over the cage?). The balls were similar to tennis balls but the racquets were a combination between a tennis racquet and a ping-pong paddle.
We stepped onto the court which seemed like a miniature tennis court – about half the size of one. Everything else about it was the same, including the net, the lines for doubles, and the serving lines. We glanced over the rules, and if you know anything about tennis, then you know a fair amount about paddle tennis.
Like tennis, you can play paddle tennis in singles or doubles. The scoring is the exact same as tennis and the only main difference in the rules is the serving. Serves can only be done underhand and there are no second serves.
Although neither Maggie nor I had any paddle tennis experience, we picked it up fairly quickly. After 30 minutes, I joked we were good enough to play in the Olympics. And my favorite part about it was that the court was so small, it didn’t require as much running as tennis; just a few steps forwards or backwards (does that make me lazy?).
I first want to encourage you to check out the game of paddle tennis. The South Campus Recreation Complex (near the Dean Dome) has three courts, so you can grab lots of friends (3 Courts x 2 Sides x Doubles = You + 11 friends!) and give this sport a try.
Second, if you are a graduate student, you should register for the Paddle Battle. On Saturday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m., there will be a free paddle tennis tournament for any interested grad students! This family-friendly environment is open for registration right now, and best of all, the first 25 registrants will receive a prize. One prize not enough? Drinks will be provided and there will be additional giveaways at the event.
For more information on the Paddle Battle, check out www.campusrec.unc.edu/paddlebattle.