Playing padel is not a dilemma that only responds to the need of having exhaustive knowledge of the rules of this sport; it also requires to know what is the appropriate equipment needed to practice it, as well as some movements that must be executed, what spaces they are the ideal ones for their development, among other important things.
Padel is a sport similar to tennis that, fortunately, can be practiced by people of different ages, genders, technical and physical conditions. In addition, its practice does not involve very high costs. Not to mention that this sport is living its golden age because it can also be practiced outdoors; it has represented a great alternative to gyms in an era of COVID restrictions.
It is also an activity to keep yourself fit, and a different way to have fun and meet people.
Given its boom in recent years in Spain, how to play padel has become one of the most common questions for people who are attracted to this new sport. In this guide you will find accurate and thorough information about padel practice.
Padel and tennis: Differences and similarities
Those who are not familiar with the rules of these two sports may find it difficult to differentiate them. However, if you are familiar with tennis, you need to know some basic distinctions:
Padel court size is 10 meters wide by 20 meters long, and the court is divided in half by a net. In contrast, a tennis court is much bigger.
With a smaller court, padel has become easier and funnier to play as the rallies are longer than in tennis, even for the less experienced players.
Walls limit the baseline and side sections, and are an integral part of the playing area. Consequently, if the ball bounces off the walls after bounce on the court ground, the game continues.
Walls make padel dynamic and reduce the difficulty for players who do not have much experience in this sport.
Padel bat and ball
Padel bats are different from tennis rackets. Padel bats do not have strings. The materials are different and the bat surface has holes and a ergonomical design allowing the air to flow differently. The weight of a padel bat is between 360 and 375 grams. Because the padel bat is shorter than the tennis racquet, it is much easier to get shot control.
As for the balls, they are similar to those in tennis, but lighter and with less pressure.
Padel is always played in pairs. Individual matches are not official.
How to Play Padel?
Playing padel consists of following a series of rules that are very similar to those in tennis. The player must serve diagonally opposite the opponent’s serve return area and must bounce the ball off the ground before hitting it.
Basic rules of padel
- The ball cannot touch the walls located in the opponent’s court on the fly, nor the net, nor can it bounce twice on the ground.
- Players may hit back the ball (without bouncing it off the ground), except in response to service.
- They also have the option of hitting the walls of their court with the ball (after ball bounce on the ground court) and making it pass over the other side, into the opponent’s court.
- The scoring is identical to that of tennis. One couple serves and the other receives. It is the draw at the begining that establishes which couple begins to serve and which one responds.
- To receive the service correctly, the ball cannot be hit before bouncing off the ground. If this occurs, this will result in the immediate loss of the point.
The score in padel
The scoring system is similar to tennis; that means the points go up as follows: 15, 30, 40 and game. Should there be a tie on 40 – 40 then this is called deuce and the winner is the first player to lead by two clear points. Match of Padel are played as the best of three sets, each of them consist of six games. Nowadays, many tournaments are played with the new rule of “Golden point” when the score reaches deuce (40-40) during any game. So, the receiving team chooses whether the service will come from the left or right of the court, and that point decides the game.
To win a set, a pairing should win six games with two clear games (e.g 5-7). If the score gets to 6-6, a tiebreak is played in which the winner is the first side to get to seven points with two clear points. If the game continues to be tied, then another tiebreak is played in which the first side to have a two game lead is declared the winner. The first pair to win two sets is the winner.
When playing padel, it is also important to know the actions allowed in this sport. These would be:
- Players can leave the court through the side exits to hit the ball in, provided it has not bounced off the ground a second time.
- A player may also hit any wall in his area with the ball and make it go over the net into the opponent’s court side.
- You can always refer to the FIP website to know the official and updated regulations.
The playing pairs normally are aligned with each other and play both together offense and defense. These could change depend on the opponent game strategy.
At the service time, the pair serving will try to reach the net position to attack.
When do I lose a point?
- The ball bounces twice on the court before being hit back.
- A player hits the ball before it crosses the net line.
- The ball touches the players or anything they carry or use, except the padel bat.
- A player returns the ball by hitting straight to the wall, including the metal mesh.
- A player hits the ball more than once to return it to the opponent’s court side.
- Both players from the team, simultaneously or consecutively, hit the ball.
It is done with both feet behind the line, the bounce of the ball cannot exceed the waist height. The serve in padel is always aimed at the opponents cross-court side.
When inquiring about playing padel, it is also convenient to take a look at the benefits of practicing this sport regularly. It is an excellent activity for:
- Keeping the body in good shape.
- Losing weight.
- Playing the game with friends or family members.
- Training legs, abs and arms in a fun way without even realizing it.
- Burning lots of calories (if practiced consistently).
- Distracting yourself and relaxing mentally.
It is definitely a dynamic and aerobic sport that trains the body from a cardiovascular point of view, strength, coordination and elasticity.
Playing padel is not that complicated. Although it is very close to tennis, the rules are quite different. The best thing is that anyone can play it; from children to the elderly. In addition, it is not necessary to have played tennis before or be in any particular physical shape for its regular practice, not to mention that it is an opportunity to have fun and exercise the body in a fun way.
You would like to learn? Start now with our Padel Lessons in online video.