What Equipment Do You Need For Padel?
Padel is a common form of racket sport similar to tennis and pickleball, but what equipment do you need to play padel, and how is this equipment different from the equipment of other racket sports? Here, we take a look at the essential equipment needed for a game of padel, from the padel racket, to the ball, to the clothing one should wear on the court.
The most important piece of equipment in padel is the padel racket itself. Padel rackets are shaped and sized similarly to the rackets used in pickleball and are typically smaller and thicker than a tennis racket. Padel rackets combine aspects of both tennis and pickleball racquets into their designs. Like pickleball rackets, padel rackets are small and have squat, round heads, though pickleball rackets can often be more oblong in shape and are generally thinner than padel rackets. Padel rackets can be round-shaped or “drop-shaped.” They also have holes in their surfaces, similar to the meshing of a tennis racket, which makes them lighter and easier to swing.
There are rules and regulations delineating the proper size, weight, and other characteristics of a padel racket, which are made by the International Padel Federation (IPF). These rules state that padel rackets must have handles that are 20 centimeters or less in length, 50 millimeters or less in width, and 50 millimeters or less in thickness. From the bottom of the handle to the top of the head, the total length of a padel racket cannot exceed 45.5 centimeters, while the total width cannot exceed 26 centimeters, and the thickness cannot exceed 38 millimeters. There is no limit to the number of holes in the surface of a padel racket, but each hole must measure between nine and 13 millimeters in diameter. Padel rackets are also required to have a cord on the handle that wraps around a player’s wrist, to prevent the racket from flying out of their hand.
The second piece of necessary padel equipment is the padel ball. Padel balls have a similar appearance to standard tennis balls but are typically less pressurized. FIP Rules state that a padel ball must be colored either yellow or white and must meet the following standards: a diameter between 6.35 and 6.77 millimeters, a weight between 56 and 59.4 grams, and an internal pressure between 4.6 and 5.2 kilograms per 2.54 square centimeters. This internal pressure can be judged by dropping a padel ball from a height of 2.54 meters onto a hard surface, which will cause a proper padel ball to bounce anywhere between 135 and 145 centimeters into the air.
The clothing requirements for playing padel are fairly loose, normally requesting that players wear appropriate sportswear and footwear, including T-shirts, shorts, and shoes. Sleeveless shirts are typically not permitted, and players on a doubles team must wear the same shirt color if playing in a tournament. Generally, short-sleeved T-shirts are preferable to long-sleeved T-shirts, and shorts with pockets are also commonly worn, as they can be used to store extra padel balls.
Many padel players wear standard tennis shoes to play padel, but some wear specially-designed tennis shoes that are meant for the unique surface and movements of padel. Padel shoes tend to have different types of soles from tennis shoes, made to enhance a player’s ability to make short movements in oblique or vertical directions rather than the horizontal movements of tennis.
Some padel players may choose to enhance their gameplay with additional equipment that is permitted by the rules of padel but not required. Some padel players may wear leg warmers beneath their shorts in order to keep from getting cold while also maintaining their mobility and also to reduce joint pain. If playing outdoors and in the sun, some padel players may choose to wear a hat with a visor to block out the sun’s glare. Additionally, sweat-absorbent bands for the wrists, arms, or forehead are often used.