Platform tennis growing in popularity

One of town’s hidden gems was on display Saturday as newcomers got a chance to play Pelham’s other winter sport – platform tennis.

They entered the court which is one-third the size of a traditional tennis court and is surrounded by a 12 foot wire fence, to get a first-hand look at the sport which has thrived in the town for over 40 years.

“This is a whole different sport that is somewhat a combination of squash and tennis,” Bob Christensen, President of the Fonthill Platform Tennis Club, said. “Some even compare it to playing on top of a ping pong table.”

A spongy ball measuring 2.5 inches in diameter is used. It’s played on a platform above heaters, allowing for the snow to melt away during the winter.

The combination of the ball and the platform create the perfect playing field as players can use the fence when it’s hit inside the lines first. Because the overall surface of the court is smaller and advantage of using the wall, the sport grows on people of all ages. Experience is key as many take advantage of knowing where to place the ball, Christensen says.

“You learn to compensate for speed.”

Courts have sprouted up across the United States, with 16 new builds in Texas last year. That hasn’t been the case for Canada.

Fonthill Platform Tennis was created by bridge players looking to explore something more physically active. They gathered funds to build first court along Hwy. 20 before moving to the current location in the Pelham Arena parking lot 27 years ago.

As they are one of just a few courts available in Ontario, they began a junior program to allow children to get involved with the sport. With low overall costs to play, Christensen is shocked the popularity of the sport has not flourished in Canada yet.

“I cannot fathom why everybody doesn’t play this sport. It’s just an awesome activity to do during the months your often stuck inside,” Christensen said. “The fresh air and gentle snowfall make for a great evening under the lights at club.”

For more information regarding the club, visit www.fptc.info or by calling Christensen at 905-892-8942.

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