It looks a bit like pickleball and acts a lot like tennis, but spec tennis is a sport unto itself. Meredith Walton, the tennis and pickleball director at The Clubs of Kingwood in Kingwood, Texas, watched as pickleball soared in popularity and feels that spec tennis is poised to be the next new court-sport trend.
“We find it immediately engages people,” Walton says of spec tennis.
Played on a pickleball court using a platform tennis racket, the sport uses an orange-dot tennis ball (one with less compression) to keep it from soaring off the truncated court. It’s competitive, fun and provides another alternative to full-court tennis.
Need more convincing? Here are three reasons you may want to try spec tennis:
1. It’s Easy to Learn
If you’ve played tennis before, you’ll have a huge advantage on the spec tennis court. But even if you’ve never picked up a racket, you’ll be able to understand spec tennis quickly enough to begin enjoying it right away.
“Just show up and we’ll teach you,” Watson says. “You’ll get the hang of it.”
And with more and more clubs adding pickleball courts, spec tennis is not only easy to learn, it’s also more readily available to would-be players.
2. It Will Improve Your Game — Whatever That Game May Be
Walton says spec tennis has been popular among junior tennis players, and she feels that the sport, which she compares to playing short-court tennis, can be an important component to the development of one’s tennis game. As an example, she points out that spec tennis can help you learn proper swing technique.
“It’s competitive, fun and provides another alternative to full-court tennis.”
But if tennis isn’t your game, you can still reap the benefits, one of which is improved fitness. The shorter court means longer rallies, and longer rallies mean more movement. And because there’s a ball involved, your hand-eye coordination will get some training too.
3. It Will Entertain Everyone
Not everyone can agree on a sport to play at a club. Some like tennis, while others prefer golf. And if you excel at one sport, you may not have the patience to endure playing against a beginner. Walton sees spec tennis as a sort of great equalizer, a way to bring people together for a fun yet competitive activity.
“Spec tennis is the one sport they can all do together,” she says.