What Is Padel Tennis And How Do I Play?

June 9, 2021

Padel (also known as padel tennis) is a court-based racquet game that is usually played in doubles. The court dimensions for the game are 20M (L) x 10M (W) and is surrounded by a cage, which usually consists of either glass, metallic mesh, net or sometimes concrete. The cage is often used to bounce the tennis ball off the sides to score a point, which is similar to what we in the UK call squash. 

Scoring points in padel follows the same scoring system as tennis, but unlike tennis, people spend more time in a rally than they do in tennis. On average, tennis players usually spend 15 minutes an hour in a rally, compared to 40 minutes an hour that padel players often experience. Padel is a cross-generational game and people of mixed ages and abilities can compete while having fun. Padel tennis as a sport is easily accessible and it can encourage new generations to take up the sport.

The History Of Padel (Padel Tennis)

Padel is a relatively new sport that has emerged on the racquet sports scene, but we can trace its roots to Spanish speaking Latin America. The game was invented by a Mexican businessman named Enrique Corcuera back in the 1960s and the first court was set up by himself. Enrique included fences around the court to prevent the ball from going onto his neighbours land and he actually named the sport ‘Paddle Corcuera’ after himself. It was his friend Spanish entrepreneur Alfonso de Hohenlohe who brought the game to Spain after having a game with Enrique, which introduced the game to Europe.

It saw a rise in popularity with us Brits after expats living in the Costa Del Sol in Spain started to enjoy the game and wanted places to play it back home. Fast forward into recent history and in 2019, it was recognised by LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) and as of November 2020, there are roughly 6,000 active padel players in the UK and 82 padel courts at 45 clubs. There are plans to expand access to padel courts with another 400 courts looking to be installed by 2023. 

Rules Of Padel (Padel Tennis)

The scoring system is exactly the same as tennis, so you score points in 6 sets and in order of 15, 30, 40 and game point. However, the differences are how you score points. You can score points by:

  • Playing shots off walls (like squash)
  • You have two attempts to hit into an opponent’s box, if you miss you concede a point
  • You can score by volleying the ball during a rally 
  • You lose a point if is determined as “out” should it hit a wall directly

What Equipment Do I Need For Padel (Padel Tennis)?

All you need is a court and a padel. You can access a court at a local sports centre or tennis club. In regards to the padel, you can pick one up from a sports shop but if you are just trying the sport for the first time, you may want to hire one from the sporting facility you are using. Paddles are usually widely available and include a small hire fee or deposit. It’s usually recommended that you wear shoes that don’t leave marks on the court.

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