What Are The Walls Used For In Padel?
A padel court is enclosed either by solid walls or glass along with metallic fencing. These surfaces are fair game when playing the sport and can be used to the players’ advantage when hitting the ball.
Use of Padel Walls
The walls that surround a padel court have several purposes. The major reason that walls enclose the court is to prevent the ball from escaping during gameplay. Besides serving as a barrier, the walls can also be used by players to strategically hit the ball toward their opponents. Players will often hit the ball against the side and back walls when returning it across the net. They may hit the ball at a certain angle and speed against the walls to make it difficult for their opponents to return it. Since balls that bounce off the wall are often considered fair game, players must be aware and adjust accordingly when attempting to hit them.
The serving player must hit the ball directly over the net to the diagonal service box and may not hit the ball off the wall. Once the ball has passed over the net and bounced in the appropriate service box, the ball can bounce off the wall or fence and is still in play. The player returning the serve can choose to hit the ball immediately after it bounces or wait for the ball to bounce off the wall/fence before returning it.
Following the Serve
The walls enclosing a padel court may be used when hitting the ball after the initial serve. Players may hit the ball against their own side or back wall when returning the ball. A foul will occur if the ball hits the opponent’s wall or fencing before hitting the ground on the opposing side. A foul may also occur if the ball is hit against a wall and then bounces off of the same team’s fencing before passing over the net. Once the ball bounces on the playing surface of the opposing team, it may bounce off the wall or fencing once before being returned. The ball may not bounce again on the court after it hits the wall or fence.
The back walls of a padel court are four meters tall. The first three meters are made of solid material (either concrete or glass) and topped with metallic fencing that is one meter high. Since the back wall is primarily solid, it is fairly easy for players to hit the ball against it. The side walls are often split evenly between solid material and fencing, but the dimensions and ratio of the two materials can vary based on the court. Players may have a more difficult time hitting the ball against the side walls due to the inclusion of fencing. The sides are divided into three sections from side to side. Typically, the two sections connected to each back wall are either solid material or glass, with one meter of fencing on the top layer, while the inner third section is fully made of fencing.
Wall vs. Glass
The gameplay of a padel match can vary depending on if the court is enclosed by glass or solid walls. Glass walls tend to be more flexible than walls made of materials like concrete. This allows for the ball to bounce more off of a glass wall. Solid walls can increase focus during a match, while glass walls can be more distracting. Given the transparent nature of glass walls, players’ focus may shift towards things outside of the court. They may also have trouble perceiving the strength, depth, and direction of balls that bounce off the glass. Weather can also play a factor in differing between glass and solid walls. Glass walls tend to be more sensitive to weather conditions such as precipitation and extreme temperatures, making it more difficult for players to compete as usual.