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Padel Basics: A Beginner's Guide to the Exciting Sport

Introduction

Padel is a rapidly growing sport that combines tennis, squashi and badminton elements. It's an exciting game that's easy to learn, which makes it perfect for players of all ages and skill levels. 

In this guide intended for beginners, we will explore padel the basics, including the necessary equipment, game rules, and some helpful tips for getting started.

Equipment

Before starting to play Padel, you need basic equipment. The most important of them are padel rackets and balls. Padel rackets are strong, with a string and a perforated surface. They are usually made of light materials such as carbon fiber or fiberglass, and the maximum dimensions of the rackets are 45.5 cm long and 26 cm wide.

Padel balls are very similar to tennis balls (the untrained eye or hand cannot tell the difference), but are slightly smaller and with lighter pressure. This makes it easier to control them on a smaller padel court. In addition, you need comfortable sports shoes with a good grip and sports clothes that allow easy movement.

Court

Padel is played on a court smaller than a traditional tennis court, with a length of 20 meters and a width of 10 meters. The court is divided into two halves by a net, with a height in the center of 88 cm.

One of the unique features of Padel is the court walls, which are made of glass or a combination of glass and solid material. These walls are an integral part of the game, as players can use them similarly to squash to hit the ball.

Padel rules

Padel is usually played as a doubles game, with two players on each side of the net. The scoring system is the same as in traditional tennis, with points awarded for winning exchanges. The game is won by the team that first reaches six points, with a lead of at least two points. If the score is tied at 6:6, a “tie break” is played to determine the winner.

In padel, serving is done underhand and must be hit below the waist. The server must stand behind the baseline and hit the ball diagonally into the opposite service box. After the serve, players take turns hitting the ball back and forth over the net, using the walls to keep the ball in play. A point is awarded when a team fails to return the ball within the court boundaries or commits an error. You can find more information about the rules here.

Padel tips for beginners

  1. Focus on technique. As a beginner, it's crucial to concentrate on learning the correct techniques, like the "simple" things such as how to grip the racket and the body position during different strokes. Focusing on essential fundamentals early on will help you progress faster in the game and reduce the risk of injuries.
  2. Use walls: The walls are an important part of padel and learning to use them effectively will give you an advantage over your opponents. Practice hitting the ball off the walls at different angles to become more comfortable with this aspect of the game.
  3. Communication is key: since padel is played in doubles, communication with your partner is crucial. Be sure to discuss your strategy and positioning during the game, and always call out when you intend to hit the ball.
  4. Patience is a virtue: Padel is a game of strategy and patience. It's important to wait for the right opportunity to attack and not to make "forceful shots" that could injure you. Be patient and focus on keeping the ball in play until you see a good opportunity to capitalize for a point.
  5. Practice, practice, practice: As with any sport, practicing is essential in padel to improve your skills. Dedicate regular time to practice your shots, footwork, and strategy. The more time you spend on the court, the better you'll get at the game.
  6. Get training/coaching: If you are still very new to padel, consider taking lessons from a qualified coach. A coach will help you learn the basics and develop your skills faster, and coaches will always provide valuable feedback and guidance that you won't hear anywhere else.
  7. Watch and learn: Observing more experienced players is a great way to pick up tips and enhance your understanding of the game. Attend local matches or watch professional padel players online and learn from their strategies and techniques.
  8. Focus on overall physical fitness: Padel is a physically demanding sport that requires good endurance, strength, and agility. Incorporate regular cardio and strength training exercises into your routine to enhance your performance on the court.
  9. Don't neglect the mental game: Padel also requires mental toughness and focus. Develop your concentration and the ability to stay calm under pressure by practicing mindfulness techniques or seek advice from a sports psychologist if needed.
  10. Have fun: Lastly, remember that padel is a fun and enjoyable sport. Embrace the challenges and celebrate your successes, and you'll find that your passion for the game only grows stronger.

Summary

Padel is an exciting and affordable sport for everyone, offering a unique blend of skills and strategy. By understanding the game's basics, investing in the right equipment, and following these helpful tips, you're well on your way to fully enjoying this fantastic sport. Whether you're playing for fun or aiming to compete at a higher level, padel provides a wonderful opportunity for an active lifestyle, quality time with friends/family, and to challenge yourself both physically and mentally.

You can find a video on padel tactics HERE.

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