SJ are delighted to announce that it will be adding padel to the SJ rackets portfolio! Considered a mix between tennis and squash, it’s an ideal game for all abilities as its easy to learn where points are won more by strategy than sheer power of strength. As one of the fastest growing sports in the world, the combination of action and social interaction makes it an ideal sport for SJ to bring players of different interests to participate together in teams of two against their opponents.
The first SJ padel sessions will be held on the evening of Sunday 2nd July at Padel United – Bushey, North London. For SJ members to be eligible to sign up, please email email@example.com with your mobile number to be added to the SJ Padel WhatsApp group and receive sign up links for all sessions.
So where did it all start?
Padel was invented in Mexico in 1969 by Enrique Corcuera when he modified his squash court to welcome elements of platform tennis. In the 1970s, a Spanish friend of Corcuera brought the padel sport to Spain where it is now considered one of the most popular sports in the country which has over 20,000 padel courts and over 4 million active players.
Since then, the sport has grown rapidly and is today considered one of the world’s fastest growing sports in Europe, South America and North America. Recently the LTA have also integrated padel into their framework with a commitment to growing the sport in the UK.
The Padel Court
Padel is played in doubles on an enclosed court about 30% smaller than a tennis court surrounded by walls of glass and metallic mesh so your shots can be played off them – like in squash – to find wicked angles and creative shots to beat your opponents. As a bonus, you can even bounce the ball off a wall on your own side of the court – if you can get it to land on the other side of the court!
While there are a small number of courts designed for singles padel games, the game is originally designed to be played as doubles due to the smaller court and the higher speed of the game makes it difficult to cover the court when playing on your own.
Are Padel balls the same as tennis balls?
Padel balls differ slightly to tennis balls in both having a lower pressure and smaller diameter than tennis balls, however the weight requirements of the ball is the same as tennis in competitions.
What about the Padel racket?
A padel racket unlike a tennis or squash racket, has no strings and is typically made of carbon fibre or fiberglass. Fiberglass is a lot cheaper to make, so you will find them in the lower end, beginner rackets. Carbon fibre is used in the more intermediate to advanced rackets.
So how do I play Padel?
In padel, scoring is the same as tennis – but that’s where a lot of the similarities end. Also, unlike tennis, when a ball is served it must bounce once on the floor then hit underarm. But don’t worry, you still have a first and a second serve.
You can also volley the ball during a rally, however, the ball is determined as “out” if it hits a wall (fence or glass) before touching the ground. In padel, a smash or overhead if struck well can result in the ball rebounding out-of-play – but beware that your opponents can run out of the side gates to return the ball! This is allowed on certain courts that have enough out-of-bounds space and is common at the professional level.
Like tennis, a set is won when a team wins six games and there is at least two games difference – failing that the set is decided by a tie-break. Matches are best of three sets.
If the ball hits the wall or fence before it hits the playing field, this counts as a fault and a player loses the point. Once the ball bounces, it may hit the wall once or more before it goes over the net to the other player.
A good clip to explain the basic rules this can be found here courtesy of The Padel School: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8Xt_itvQOc