How to play padel – everything you need to know
Padel is here to stay! The racket sport is taking the world by storm, but its origins are disputed. Some believe that padel began as early as the 1920s as a pastime on British cruise ships, while others claim that its origins lie in Spain and Latin America. Whichever way, it was not until 1974 that padel emerged as a sport played according to the rules that apply today. In recent years, Europe has seen the sport explode. In Sweden, padel is the fastest growing sport and padel centres are popping up in every city. But despite this, most people are not familiar with the art of padel. We show you how to play padel, what you need, and what rules apply.
How do you play padel?
Padel (or padel tennis) is a racket sport that can best be described as a cross between tennis and squash. It is a fast-paced, social sport that is easy to learn and suitable for all ages. The great advantage of padel (and probably why the sport has become so popular) is that it is suitable for all ages and levels, since it is not dependent on strength and serving competency. Padel is more about strategy and cooperation between you and your partner, rather than power.
Padel is usually played in doubles. Just like tennis, padel is played on a pitch that is divided by a net, the difference being that in padel, the player also uses the walls, as in squash. A regular padel pitch is 10 x 20 m and is surrounded by walls. On this type of pitch, games are always played in doubles. Padel can also be played in singles on a narrower pitch (6 x 20 m).
A partner, two padel rackets and a ball
Padel is a simple sport that does not require multiple accessories. In principle, it requires a partner, two rackets and a ball. A padel racket is made of a composite material and the playing surface is covered in small holes. As a result, the strokes are less powerful and dynamic. Padel rackets come in three different shapes: round, drop-shaped and diamond-shaped. Since it offers the best control, the round padel racket is considered to be the most suitable for the majority of players, from beginner to competition level. The round racket is usually referred to as the control racket. The ball used to play padel is similar to a tennis ball, only slightly softer.
To a large extent, the rules of padel are the same as in tennis, except that in padel, you serve by bouncing the ball on the ground and below hip height. In addition, special rules apply with regards to the walls. A padel match is most often the best of three or five sets, with a set being the first side to win six games. In padel, you score points if
- the ball bounces on the ground twice on the opponent's side
- the opponent hits the ball into the net
- the opponent hits the ball outside the play area, i.e. outside of the cage or against one of your walls
- the opponent hits the ball into their own grid
- an opponent is hit by the ball.