What Is Padel?

padel

Padel is a racquet sport that is a mix of tennis, squash, and badminton. The sport is sometimes considered tennis with walls. Padel can be played both indoors and outdoors. The sport has few rules and is considered player-friendly since it is quick to pick up. There are currently 8 million padel players worldwide. There are 4,000 padel clubs in the world, with 3,500 of them located in Spain. 


History

The game was created in 1962 by Enrique Corcuera. When he created the sport, he was living in Acapulco, Mexico. He modified his squash court at home by adding elements found on a tennis court. A visitor of his, Alfonso of Hohenlohe-LangenBurg, played padel at Corcuera’s home and immediately fell in love. When he returned to Spain, he brought the game with him and began to spread its popularity in his home country. In 1974, Alfonso created the first club in Marbella, Spain. He thought that since the game was a mix of different sports, it was considered its own. He decided to name it Paddle Corcuera or Paddle Tennis, known today as padel.

The sport then spread slowly to other countries. In 1969, padel was first played in Mar del Plata, Argentina, by another friend of Corcuera’s. The first major tournament was in 1991 in Madrid, Spain. The sport was mainly played in Spain, but it has begun to spread quickly across other parts of Europe and to the U.S in the last ten years. In 2005, the Padel Pro Tour was established. It was the first international professional championship tour. The main goal of the tour was to help further the sport and create a ranking for players. In 2013, the Padel Pro Tour was replaced by the World Padel Tour. The tour is now a series of 15 to 20 tournaments that end with a final Master series to cap off the year. 

Court Setup

Padel Court

The court is similar to a squash and tennis court. The court is roughly 25% smaller than a tennis court. There is a net that divides the court into two equal parts. It is surrounded by walls of glass that can be used in the game. The court has a baseline, service line, sideline, and centerline. The court is 10 meters by 20 meters. The walls on either end of the court are 4 meters high, and the walls on the sides of the court are 3 meters high. 

Equipment

Padel Equipment

For equipment, the player needs a racquet and a padel ball. The racquet is a solid paddle with small holes that are mainly positioned in the center of the racquet. The racquet is either covered in plastic or carbon, with the inside being composed of ethylene-vinyl, which is a foam-like substance. The racquet is a bit heavier than a tennis racquet. The padel racquet weighs around 340g to 370g. The padel ball is similar to a tennis ball but is made so that the ball is easier to bounce off of the walls by reducing the amount of pressure the ball contains. 

Rules

Here are the most important fundamental rules of padel:

  • The ball must bounce on the ground before hitting a window/wall
  • Players can use the walls as a way to return the ball
  • The player can hit the ball before it hits the ground
  • When serving, the ball must be hit into the opposing side of the court diagonal to the server
  • You must serve underhand
  • A player is allowed two attempts to serve
  • If the ball hits the net and then bounces into the service box, it is considered a let
  • Players need to win six games to win a set and then two sets to win the game
  • Players have to switch sides after every odd game, which means switching after every first, third, and fifth set. 

Scoring

Scoring in padel is similar to tennis. The scoring follows the scoring system starting with 0 and then going on to 15, 30, 40, and then game. Each point won by your team increases your score based on these intervals. For example, a team’s score will be 15 after winning their first point, 30 after winning their second, and 40 after winning their third; the game is won when a wins their fourth point. If the two teams are tied at 40, they will play in a deuce until a winner is declared, which means that a team needs to win by two points. When a game is won, a point is added to the players’ score for the set. A set is won by winning six games. A match is won by winning two out of the three sets.

In padel, points are won by forcing your opponent to commit an error, which happens when:

  • The ball hits the player or grazes any part of the player
  • You touch the net at all during the game
  • You hit the ball and it lands on the same side of the court
  • The ball bounces twice before the ball is returned back to the other side of the court
  • Both players hit the ball before it is returned to the other side of the court.

FAQ

Is padel easier than tennis?

Padel is considered by most to be easier than tennis. With the court being surrounded by glass walls that can be used as bounce boards for the ball, it allows for the ball to be played for longer. In addition, the sport does not require as much physical exertion as tennis does. This is because being successful does not rely on physical strength or if your technique is perfect. The rules are easier to pick up, making the game more player-friendly. 

Padel becoming popular can be because of multiple reasons. To start, the game is very simple to understand for players. With there being only a small amount of rules, players are able to grasp the game quickly. This makes the game more enjoyable. In addition, the game is similar to squash and tennis, making it easier for players to recognize similarities and feel more comfortable with the game. Popularity can also be increasing because of how family-friendly it is. 

How do you play padel?

To play padel, you first need a partner since the game is mainly played in doubles. However, you can play singles if you’d like. Once you find a partner and a team to play against, you should decide which person will serve first. You can bounce the ball to serve as long as you serve underhand. To serve, you hit the ball to the opposing side diagonal to you. After the ball bounces, the opposing player can return the ball. The game continues until the ball cannot be returned, the players hit the ball twice, or the ball bounces out of bounds.