What Is Padel?
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Tennis, squash, platform tennis, pickleball, badminton...and now Padel! The variety of racket sports is overwhelming, especially if you don’t know much about them.
In Latin countries and southern Europe, there is a modality called Padel (aka as Paddle in the English speaking community) that is the king of racket sports.
What is Padel? Padel is a racket sport where the games are officially played as doubles inside an enclosed area with transparent walls, which are part of the court. The game is played with a solid and perforated racket both indoors or outdoors. The court is similar to paddle tennis on size but marked differently.
Since I lived in Spain for two years, I became a Padel addict. So, if you don’t want to stop playing other racket sports, don’t try Padel.
If you want to know more about it, keep reading and I will show you everything I know about this amazing sport.
What is Padel?
When talking about Padel, it is important to mention that the sport is highly influenced by three main elements: the court, the racket and the ball. If it comes to mention the element that impacts the game and makes the sport unique, this is the court.
The three main elements in the game of Padel:
The court in Padel plays a major role in the flow of the game. In this racket sport, hitting the walls with the ball is allowed, and this aspect has a significant impact over the strategical edge of the game.
Basic facts about a Padel court:
- The size of the court is 32ft wide (10m) by 65ft (20m) long.
- The court is rectangular and divided in half by a net, which is around 35 inches or 0,9m in height.
- The court must be completely enclosed.
- The surface of the ground should be made of porous concrete or cement, synthetic material or artificial grass.
The court must be one color only. Preferred colors are green, blue or terracotta and always in contrast with the wall surface color.
2. The Paddle or Pala
It is smaller and more compact than a tennis racket, which makes it easier to handle.
Both sides of the racket must be flat and can be either smooth or rough. Also, at the end of the handle, there must have a non-elastic cord, which must be put around the wrist as protection against accidents. The use of the cord is mandatory.
3. The ball
The balls in Padel are generally made out of soft rubber covered with a uniform exterior surface in either yellow or in some cases, white. The exterior layer can be made out of wool or nylon, for example.
At first sight, it is hard to tell what is the difference between a tennis ball and a padel ball. Although they are different in different aspects, the key to understanding the difference between a tennis ball and a padel ball is the pressure.
Compared to a tennis ball, Padel balls are 0,06 atmospheres lower on pressure.
How Do You Play Padel? Guide for Beginners
Although a simple game, there are many particularities if played in competitions that you should know. However, now I will be making an overview of the fundamentals of Padel.
I have made a quick guide to help you before playing your first Padel game. I will go through the basic aspects you need to know to be ready and get the most out of it. Good luck!
- Padel scoring system is similar to tennis. The games are counted by the system of 15, 30, 45, etc. The first player winning 6 games by a difference of 2, wins the set. The first player to win 3 sets, wins the game.
- Every three games, the players switch courts to avoid field advantage.
- Players can hit the ball from anywhere in their own playing field. There are no restrictions when playing the ball in your field, both players can run freely around their own playing field.
- In Padel, the ball must hit the ground before touching any surface on the sides (walls), except for the service. Throughout a rally, the participants can play with the walls, bearing in mind that it must hit the ground before to be legal.
- The service. Service is the motive of most of the arguments during games. When serving, the ball must travel diagonally, over the net and land on the service area. If the ball lands in the opponent’s service area, bust bounces off and touches the fence, it will be invalidated.
- Overhand service is not allowed. Serving in padel must be done under the hips level at the moment of impacting the ball. The player serving will thus let the ball bounce on the side and strike it before it goes over the hips.
- In Padel, we can take up to two opportunities for serving.
- Playing without the racket attached by the cord is not allowed in tournaments. The same principle applies to all situations. For example, if we throw the racket, hit the ball and lands in, it will be illegal. The racket must be held at all times.
- It is not allowed to touch the net. If you touch the net with your racket, body or any part of your equipment, you will lose the point.
- If the ball is smashed hard enough and comes back to our field or gets out of the field, we win the point. Sometimes, when playing, we get the chance to hit the ball, but when bouncing off it travels back to our field or even outside the court. In these cases, the player smashing the ball will win the point.
- In Padel is allowed to hit the ball from outside the court. When a player hits the ball so hard that it goes outside the court, it is often seen in tournaments that the opposing team goes outside, hits the ball back, and comes back in.
Check out this video to see the very basics of Padel
Who Invented Padel?
In 1962 the Mexican Mr. Enrique Corcuera became known as the inventor of the game that we now know as Padel. Enrique invented this racket sport at his house in Puerto de Acapulco, Mexico.
Enrique had a fronton court, then he decided to install another wall facing the original one. The new wall was about 9,8 ft or 3m high and it was placed right in front. On top of that, he added two small walls on the sides of the playing field, creating some sort of enclosed cubicle. That was the first Padel court known.
The size of the court was approximately 32 ft or 10m wide and 65ft or 20m long, which has remained until today.
Mr. Corcuera used to host big duck hunts with his friends in his house in Estipac, Jalisco. It was in those reunions when Enrique visualized the idea of creating that game. He and his friends used to play in the newly built court right before lunch, so they could do some exercise and have a good time before eating.
When asked how did he come up with the idea, he ignores the fact that the wall built facing the original fronton wall was built for a different reason. According to his friends and family, one of the reasons for building the wall was to avoid the ball to get into the neighbors’ house, turning it into an annoying game.
After creating the wall on the other side, building the ones on the sides, and adding a tennis net, the group of friends shortly noticed that they might have come up with a new modality. The fact that they would keep playing after the ball had bounced off the walls created a new flow of the game, a new sport that turned out to be very dynamic, and fun!
Therefore, we can claim that this game called Paddle Corcuera or Paddle-Tennis is what is currently known as padel.
Nowadays, the game of Padel is represented by more than 30 national associations all over the world.
In some countries like Spain or Argentina, Padel is the most played racket sport.
The sport of Padel is governed in the USA by the United States Padel Association (USPA)
USPA’s first international participation, in a tri-national event, hosted in Mexico and played by Canada, USA, and Mexico.
The USPA enters into partnership with the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA).