WHAT IS PADEL?
Find out more about this wonderful game
The greatest game you’ve never heard of!
adel’s history and beginnings are by no means a clear cut story with many versions of how it all began. However, through our research, it seems that it went a little something like this… Mr Enrique Corcuera, a wealthy businessman from Mexico, decided to build a tennis court with walls to stop the ball bouncing out of play in the small area he had to work with. This was in his hometown of Puerto de Acapulco, Mexico in the late 60’s. He decided to name it Paddel Corcuera with his wife, Viviana, putting together the first rule book for the sport.
A couple of years after Mr Corcuera had come up with the game his good friend from Spain, Alfonso de Hohenlohe, was introduced to it. He instantly fell in love with the game (as most people do) and by the mid 70’s had taken it across the pond to Marbella, Spain, where he installed two courts of his own in the Marbella Club Hotel. Mr De Hohenlohe made a few modifications such as the wire fencing. This is where padel began to gain momentum and grow in popularity due to all his high profile friends and associates, such as King Juan Carlos and ex-Wimbledon champion Manolo Santana.
The game continued to spread across the globe by getting taken back across the pond but this time to Argentina, by De Hohenlohe’s friend, Julio Menditengui. Padel exploded in Argentina and didn’t take long in becoming the country’s second most popular sport after football, as has now happened in Spain. These two countries were essential in the growth of padel, and through people visiting and trying have helped introduce the world to the sport. Today the still relatively unknown padel is played by around 12 million people on +30 000 courts in over 40 countries across the globe. And, it’s just getting started…
How it’s played and why
You’ll Love It!
Padel is played by 4 people, 2 vs 2. This makes it a very social game, you can play with your friends, associates, partner, children or even parents/grandparents.
The game is relatively easy to pick up, especially compared to the more traditional racket sports. Even without coaching/guidance, it would be easy enough to grasp the fundamentals of the game in one session or just by watching a video.
The game is played in a tight enclosed space, which means it is quick and games move at an exciting pace. Matches don’t tend to drag on or get boring and normally finish within an hour, that’s if you don’t want the inevitable rematch!
- Less physical effort is required than in tennis or squash
- Longer rallies due to the small size of the court and walls
- More time playing and less time fetching the ball
- 50mins of play per hour versus only 15mins of play for tennis!
- It is a team sport, played in doubles
- Having 4 people on a small court at the same time brings everyone closer, which makes social conversation between players an integral part of the game
- It is a entertaining sport to watch with spectacular points
- It is a intergenerational game in which children, grandparents and parents can all play together
- Players learn how to play quickly and improve fast
- It starts with an underhanded serve, which is easy to make and return
- There are two chances to return the ball, before and after it hits the glass
- The racquet is very easy to handle
- Unlike other sports, players can start doing rallies immediately
- It is quite literally is a game for everyone; old and young, men and women, altogether!
The padel racket is quite different to anything seen in South Africa, one could probably compare it’s look to a beach bat however there is a lot more going on under the shell. It consists of an inner foam core, strong outer support and a plastic face that is pierced with holes to help with aerodynamic movement. The neck is reinforced (typically in carbon fibre) and connects to the handle/grip. It is slightly heavier than a tennis racket but is a lot smaller and easier to handle. The sweet spot is also a lot closer to the hand and therefore easier to find, which gives the player more control.
The padel ball is almost identical in look and feel to a tennis ball, with the key differences being that a padel ball is slightly less pressurised and is a tiny bit smaller. A padel ball must bounce between 135CM – 140CM when dropped from a height of 2,54M onto a hard surface.
A padel court takes about 10 – 14 days to install, depending on location and foundations.
Padel originated in Mexico, in the late 60’s but quickly found its way over to Spain where is has grown to become the country’s 2nd most popular sport. Padel is now played all over the world, by more than 30 million players on more than 12 000 courts. And it’s still just getting going!
Although padel is spread all across the world, South Africa has been slow to jump on the bandwagon. Currently there are no public courts or clubs, however this is due to change very soon. Stay tuned!
A padel court is 10m x 20m and is roughly about 1/3 the size of a tennis court if laid width ways. They sit at their highest point at 4m and have a back wall made of 12mm thick glass.