Padel has exploded in popularity over the last few years, but there’s still plenty of people who aren’t quite sure what the sport is all about exactly.
If you’ve heard about padel through a friend or seen it on television and wanted to know more about it, we’ve got you covered. To quell your curiosity, we have compiled this guide to take you through what padel is and what it involves, as well as try to help you understand the different factors that make this sport so popular all around the world.
Let’s get started!
What Is Padel?
Padel is a sport that combines the best elements of tennis, squash, and badminton. It was invented and first played in Mexico in the year 1969, although it is skyrocketing in popularity across the globe.
The sport is most popular in Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and Mexico, and countries in South America, such as Argentina. However, it is also beginning to spread rapidly across Europe, the UAE, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Unlike other racket sports, padel is only played in doubles. The two teams compete with each other on a court that is slightly smaller than a tennis court and comes with surrounding walls. The ball can bounce on any of the walls, which adds an extra layer of strategy to the game.
A padel racket is a smaller bat-like structure without any strings that the players use to hit padel balls to and fro to win points according to the rules governed by the International Padel Federation. The scoring system in padel is almost the same as that of tennis as are many of the rules.
There are several tournaments and competitions that take place every year where professional players from different countries compete, including a professional league and World Tour. It can also be played at school and university levels or simply enjoyed as a fun pastime for family and friends.
Why Is It So Popular?
There’s no denying that padel is becoming more and more popular with each passing year, as evidenced by the fact that between 2002 and 2017, there was an exponential 5x increase in the number of padel rackets sold across the world.
So, why is padel so popular? There are several factors that make this sport the global phenomenon that it is. Let’s take a more detailed look at these below.
High Fun Factor
To put it quite simply, padel is fun! Head to a court during the weekends and you’ll see people of all ages having a blast with their friends and family. Its relatively low barrier to entry allows beginners to pick it up in a couple of minutes and have plenty of fun regardless of skill level.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to make padel a part of their weekly routines. Most players end up going to the courts around two to four times a week.
Padel is a sport that works well across all generations, not only young people. While it is highly popular among men in their thirties and forties, the sport is enjoyed by players of all ages because it is less demanding than other racket sports such as tennis.
Not only can people play it professionally, but they can also have a great time with it on a social basis.
Low Physical Exertion
This sport can be highly inclusive since it does not require you to physically exert yourself as much as other racket sports. The courts are smaller in size, which means the effort involved in running around is reduced considerably.
For this reason, all kinds of people and age groups can play this sport together, providing a unique bonding experience.
Since it is simple to learn and not too far off from tennis, most people can figure it out quickly and keep getting better at it no matter what skill level they start off with.
Progressive Learning Curve
There is a progressive learning curve when it comes to this sport because the rules of the game are fairly simple. Anyone can figure it out and begin their training process.
If you want to keep improving your skills and are considering a professional career in it, then things will be more challenging, but you can keep entering entry-level competitions in your local regions and gaining more and more experience.
Excellent Value for Money
Padel is an affordable sport to learn and play. It is cost-effective in the sense that the equipment involved is a lot cheaper compared to equipment in other racket sports. A decent padel racket will not cost you too much and can last for several years before you have to move on to a new one.
When it comes to renting out courts or joining a padel club, padel’s popularity plays in your favor. Courts are quite affordable already, but as more and more pop up worldwide, they are bound to become even cheaper. As of right now, there are over 5000 clubs worldwide, with more opening every day.
A Sense of Community
Padel can help you build a sense of community, especially since this game is always played in doubles at all levels. There are also several established platforms, such as the IPF that seek to promote this sense of community in the sport all over the world.
Furthermore, the competitive scene is also quite easy to enter. Since it is still growing, it tends to be a lot more accessible as compared to other sports, allowing you to develop your skills at your own pace and find like-minded athletes and friends.
The chances of growth in this sport are pretty high. This has to do with the previous point of the sport’s competitions being quite accessible.
In fact, nearly four out of five people who go on to become professional players have played the sport for less than four years. With padel being the fastest growing sport, the available opportunities are likely to increase even further.
Less Demanding Maintenance
Since padel courts can be built with concrete and are a lot smaller than tennis courts, maintenance costs are nearly non-existent. This means club fees and court rental costs are cheaper as well, which results in more people being able to play.
Great Retention Rate
Padel has a great retention rate as a large number of people keep playing the sport in the same club. It’s not uncommon for these people to invite their friends and family to try padel as well, making the sport exponentially more popular.
Ready to Try Padel?
So, now you know that padel is an insanely fun sport that can be played by people of all ages and with a low barrier to entry both in terms of skills and costs. I hope you’re ready to look up courts close to your home and invite your friends to play with you.
Give padel a go! Become a part of an ever-growing community of enthusiastic players offline and online — and be sure to follow Padel1969 on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook for all the latest updates and tips.