Padel tennis is played by over ten million people worldwide, but still remains reasonably unknown in the UK. So as one of the world’s fastest growing sports, what is padel tennis?
Where did padel tennis originate?
Invented in 1969 by Enrique Corcuera, padel tennis actually has quite a lot in common with the regular game. The sport was first played by the residents of Acapulco in Mexico, and it quickly spread across the whole of Latin America. Today it is one of the fastest growing sports in Europe, with its heartland in Spain.
How does padel tennis work?
Padel is tactical, exciting, hard work and really addictive too. It’s a low-impact, high-energy cardio workout that can be enjoyed by both singles and doubles.
The rules of padel are reasonably similar to tennis and are easily learned. But, once you get playing, the differences are quickly revealed.
- First off there’s the court; it’s half the size of the normal tennis court.
- Then there’s the enclosure; it is framed by either perspex or wire. This framing is then used, like in squash, to hit the ball against the rear or sides of the court, in attack or when returning.
- Next there are the ‘padels’ themselves. Made of plastic and foam, they’re like giant table tennis bats and they can deliver impressive force. However, only underarm serves are allowed in the game – though once the point begins, there are no restrictions on this.
- The balls are adapted too, in order to reduce their pressure. In fact, most amateur and club games just use standard tennis balls, which they de-pressurize with the help of a needle.
The combination of a smaller playing area, and similarities to squash in allowing the back and side walls to become part of the game, gives padel much more speed.
Is it a good workout?
Don’t let the idea of big bats, playable sides and softer balls fool you. Whether you’re playing a singles or doubles match, padel is a very demanding activity. Even at its gentlest, it tests stamina, flexibility and reaction times too. Plus, as you practice and become more skilled, your game will naturally become more challenging.
Who is padel tennis for and where can I play?
The pace, energy and fun padel offers makes it a great game for everyone, no matter what your age! David Lloyd Clubs currently offers padel tennis courts in its Bushey and Chigwell clubs. If you’d like to find out more you can enquire about membership by clicking here.