The Basics.

Padel is often referred to as a mix of tennis and squash. It is easy to learn which makes it enjoyable for beginners trying the sport for the first time.  Played in doubles it also creates an important social element. Most points are won through tactics and clever play (not through power) which requires less intense physical effort, however, rallies last longer so you still get a good cardio workout. Above all else padel is good exercise and great fun!

In The Beginning.

Padel was born in Acapulco in 1969 when Mexican businessman Enrique Corcuera created a home-built court on a plot of land on his farm. Enrique wanted to prevent the ball from escaping on to his neighbour’s land, so he built walls and a fence around the court. He played with wooden paddles and called the game Paddle Corcuera.

In 1974 Spanish entrepreneur Alfonso de Hohenlohe visited his friend Enrique and was so taken with what he had seen that he brought the game back to Spain, creating the countries first two courts at the Marbella Club; the rest, as they say, is history.

The Court.

A padel court is one third of the size of a tennis court; 20m x 10m. The back walls are made of glass (3m high) with a 4m return on each side. The remainder of the court is enclosed with a 4m high metallic mesh.

As in tennis there is a net (88 – 92cm high) which divides the court in to two sides. Each side is split down the middle by a centre line which runs from the net to a line 3m from the back wall which marks the service area.

The playing surface is usually made from a synthetic turf which has an infill of sand making it more durable and allowing the player increased shot control and a greater range of movement. The turf will also slow the ball down after it bounces making it easier to hit.

Equipment.

The rackets used in padel are very different from tennis. Padel rackets (or padels) are made from composite materials with a perforated surface that is ergonomically designed to allow for airflow. The face measures c. 26cm x 29cm and the overall length is c. 45cm. Because the padel is shorter than a tennis racket, it is much easier to control.

Padel balls look, feel, and weigh the same as a tennis ball but they are in fact slightly smaller. Their main difference is the compression; 14psi for tennis and between 10-11psi for padel which means they are less bouncy. This also explains the size difference as the extra compression in a tennis ball stretches the felt to make it bigger.

The Game.

Principles

The object of padel is to work as a team to outplay your opponents. Your team’s aim is to hit the ball over the net into your opponent’s side so they are unable to return it. The opposition wins a point when any of the following occur; two faults are served, the ball bounces twice, is hit into the net or outside the play area or if it strikes you or your teammate.

Getting Started

A coin toss decides who serves first and which end of the court you start. Each point begins with an underarm serve; the server bounces the ball before striking it below waist height. Serves are hit diagonally alternating each side as in tennis. If the serve hits the wall or fence before the ground then it is out. Second serves are allowed.

The Scoring

The points system is the same as tennis with a game being won by the first team to win 4 points (15, 30, 40 & Game). A team must win by two clear points (Deuce & Advantage). A set is won by the first team to reach 6 games; again with a clear margin of two. If the score gets to 6-6, a tiebreak is played. The team to win two sets is declared the winner.