31 October 2023

What is Padel?

Read on for a beginner's guide to the sport taking the UK by storm.

What is padel?

Padel is a fast-paced, high-energy racket sport that combines elements of tennis and squash.

Played on an enclosed court, similar to squash but with walls made of glass and mesh, padel is typically played in doubles. 

The primary aim is to score points by hitting the ball over the net and into the opposing team's court, similar to tennis. 

But here’s the fun part: you can play off the walls. With an emphasis on strategy over power, you can utilise the walls to your advantage. Trust us when we say it makes for an addictive hobby.

What is the difference between padel and tennis?

Padel definitely takes some cues from tennis however the main differences are: 

  • Court: Padel courts are enclosed, smaller than tennis and the walls can be used in play.
  • Racket: Padel rackets are not strung but instead have a rubber or foam core with holes in the face. Polesdon rackets are made from carbon fibre which is lightweight yet strong. 
  • Serving: Padel serves are under arm compared to overhead in tennis. The ball must be hit below the waist. 
  • Balls: Padel and tennis balls are made from the same materials yet the internal pressure is different. Padel balls have less pressure so they do not bounce as much, making it harder for your opponent to return! 

Why is Padel so popular?

The sport's growing popularity is attributed to the sociable nature of the game. As it is played in doubles, new friends are won quickly (and maybe lost if you are particularly competitive) and it’s perfect to catch up with your friends after work. In Europe it is even overtaking golf as the sport du jour to conduct business meetings. 

Padel is also an easy sport to start playing, making it accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. The smaller court and use of walls help beginners get involved quickly, leading to a more inclusive and enjoyable experience. Mastering it however is a different story! 

The padel community is welcoming, encouraging people to try the sport for the first time. There are new clubs opening every month in the UK, many with juice bars, actual bars and co-working spaces to help build environments where players can socialise before and after the game. 

How do you score in padel?

The scoring is same as tennis; 15/0, 30/0, 40/0. Games can reach deuce where two consecutive points need to be won. In tournament play, “no-advantage” scoring is used where the game goes to a golden point at deuce.

Matches are best of 3 sets. The first team to win 6 games, with a minimum advantage of 2, wins the set. If a set reaches 6/6 then play moves to a tie-break situation.

To score a point, one of the following situations must occur:

The ball bounces twice in your opponent’s court
The ball hits the court (walls, fence, floodlights, net) without bouncing first on the floor
The ball hits your opponent’s body directly
Your opponent touches the ball more than once with the racket

Where can I play padel in the UK?

Visit the LTA website to find courts that are open in your area.

What is a padel racket made of?

Padel rackets are typically made from carbon fibre or fibreglass. Carbon is lightweight yet strong, compared to fibreglass. For you, this means that you can be agile on the court due to the weight but still have power. Polesdon’s rackets are handcrafted from 3k carbon. This category of carbon is the least rigid which effectively minimises vibrations to maximise comfort.

Core foam or EVA foam make up the internal racket. Whilst core foam is more budget friendly, EVA foam is a soft, lightweight, and versatile material with excellent shock-absorbing properties. EVA foam comes in varying degrees of stiffness which can help your playing style. Hard EVA foam is made up from stiff materials which provide greater power however it is less forgiving than a softer foam. 

How do I choose a padel racket?

Visit our handy guide here to read about the different padel racket shapes and their characteristics.