If you’re looking for an exciting new sport, put PADEL at the top of your list. It’s fast, it’s social, it’s fun!
It looks like tennis and has walls like squash, but padel is an entirely different sport growing in popularity across the world. If you’re looking for a fast, social and challenging non-contact sport, this could be for you.
“Padel players should be versatile, with very good eye and hand coordination, and have social personality,” says Finnish padel coach, Piukku Kopiloff. “It’s not an individual sport so you have to know how to get along with others, and a tactical gaming eye is also essential.”
Enrique Corcuera invented the sport in Mexico in 1969, and it then spread to other Latin American nations, and also to Spain, where it exploded in popularity. It is similar to tennis, with the walls of squash.
The ins and outs of padel
- The court is half the size of a tennis court, and is enclosed.
- Scoring is the same as tennis.
- It’s played in doubles.
- The objective of the game is to win two out of three sets.
- The ball is the same as a tennis ball, but with less air pressure.
- The racquets are solid (no strings), but perforated.
- Like with squash, players can use the walls.
- Serves are done underhand, or from below waist height.
According to Karri Kauko, a padel player and sales manager for Wilson racquet and team sport, padel is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the world. “Probably the reason for this is padel is rather easy to start and to get a game going compared to other sports, for example tennis,” Karri explains. “It’s also very social as it’s always played in doubles.”
Piukku, 58, first came across padel 26 years ago when she was living in Spain. She played in Spanish clubs, and enjoyed it so much she studied it in Barcelona, and qualified as a professional padel coach. In 2003, she exported the sport to Finland. She built a temporary padel court for a demonstration game, and news spread, piquing Finnish interest. Since then, Piukku has built nearly 60 padel courts In Finland
Among the Nordic countries, Sweden has most rapidly adopted the sport, with 500 courts across the country, and no sign of growth slowing down.
To learn to play padel, Piukku recommends having lessons with a qualified padel instructor. “It’s important to learn the correct strikes and rules right from the start so your experience of the game develops in the right direction,” she says.
Buying a good quality padel racquet is essential. Karri recommends Wilson racquets, and says it’s wise to test a few models before buying. “If you’re a beginner, you’ll need some forgiveness and power from the racket,” he says. “If you’re a better player you’ll appreciate a little more touch and control from the racket.”
The best thing to do first, however, is simply grab a friend and give the sport a go. Find out if there is a padel club or court nearby by visiting www.padellands.com, and clicking your country to see where the closest one is. Alternatively, keep an eye out for upcoming competitions in your region, and get along to watch some of the matches. You’ll be hooked in no time!