Grow participation among all levels and types of players in Colorado
The Colorado Platform Tennis Association (CPTA) is a non-profit organization founded in 2016 to grow and sustain a thriving platform tennis—aka “paddle”—community in Colorado.
What is Platform Tennis or Paddle?
The official name of the sport is platform tennis, but the sport is called paddle by the players. Tennis players in Scarsdale, New York, invented the game in 1928. Paddle is played outside in the winter on a 30′ x 60′ heated aluminum court that is surrounded by a 12′ steel wire screen to help keep the ball in play. Paddle combines elements of tennis, squash and racquetball. Players from these sports are attracted to paddle because ball and racket skills transfer easily. The points tend to run long because the ball can be played off the screen, which increases the enjoyment of the game. Also, the impact on the body is low compared to tennis and squash. This allows players of all ages to participate in the game.
Paddle is a growing sport in America
Paddle is a growing sport in America. The largest concentration of players and courts are in the Northeast. Cleveland has 30 courts at eleven country clubs. Atlanta has eleven courts at tennis clubs plus three public courts. Chicago has over 100 courts and is considered the center for the sport in the U.S. The sport exploded in Chicago when public courts were built in parks. This got the sport out of the country clubs by increasing access to courts by the public.
There are college paddle programs at Bucknell, Denison, Georgetown, Middlebury, Pine Manor, UNC-Chapel Hill, Williams College and Yale. The American Platform Tennis Associate (APTA) organizes and helps nurture the sport across seven regions. The APTA has 13,500 members and sanctions 180 tournaments each year. The APTA sanctions two tournaments in Colorado each year.
Paddle in Colorado
Paddle been played in Colorado for several decades. In Denver, the Arapahoe Tennis Club (ATC), Denver County Club (DCC), The Village Club and Mount Vernon Country Club together have 10 courts. Boulder has 4 courts. This equals to 14 paddle courts in Denver/Boulder metropolitan area. The DCC and the ATC built three courts in the last twelve months to meet demand at their clubs.
There are two major paddle tournaments in Colorado. The Arapahoe Invitational is an inter-club tournament hosted at the ATC and assisted by Denver Country Club and the Village Club. These tournaments are attended by over 100 men and women players from Colorado and across the country. Each tournament is a good mix of play and social gatherings.
The Paddle Opportunity
Denver is a town of transplants. As paddle players move here from the Northeast and Midwest, they will look for a place to play. Organic growth in Denver plus the demand for courts from these Northern transplants will drive the growth of paddle in the Front Range. The Colorado Platform Tennis Association (CPTA) mission is to grow the sport in Denver and the Front Range. We will look for opportunities to educate public and private institutions about the benefits of the sport, expand access to paddle for all Coloradans who want to learn and play, and connect paddle players by organizing leagues and tournaments statewide.