Padel is an enjoyable, tactical racket sport that is growing in popularity across the UK. It’s hard to come off court without a smile on your face and a keen desire to play again! Tennis and squash players quickly pick up the game and find many of their skills are transferable, allowing them to reach a good level of play in a relatively short period of time, while beginners can learn the basics of the game and improve rapidly. From children who are experiencing racket sports for the first time through to the more mature player, padel provides a great outlet for exercise, competition and fun. At the top level, it’s an incredibly tactical, and physical game. You only need to check out the top padel rallies from the World Padel Tour on YouTube to appreciate the game at its best.
Rules of Play
In padel scoring is the same as tennis – but there are many differences between the sports. A padel court has walls, so shots can be played off them, like in squash.
Also, unlike tennis, when a ball is served it must bounce once on the floor then hit from below, or at, waist height. When serving, players have two attempts to hit into an opponent’s box.
Players can also volley the ball during a rally however the ball is determined as “out” should it hit a wall directly. In padel, players can bounce the ball off a wall on their own side of the court – similar to squash.
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.
Padel courts are designed for four players and are roughly 25% smaller than the size of a tennis court. The speed of the game, combined with the smaller size of a padel court, makes singles play difficult, and most padel matches feature two pairs of players.
Some padel courts are designed especially for singles, but around 90% of all padel courts in the world are doubles specific. At a professional level only doubles is played on the World Padel Tour, the leading competition for elite players.
Padel in Hertfordshire
Facilities in Hertfordshire are currently fairly limited but there is a strong determination and drive in the county to boost the number of courts and participation in the area. A number of exciting projects aimed at introducing padel to many more players, are currently in the pipeline, including one at Broxbourne Tennis Club, where planning permission has already been granted for 2 outdoor courts, with a projected opening time of late Spring 2022.
To date there are 7 courts located across Hertfordshire. They are listed below:
3 Outdoor courts – Bushey Grove Leisure Centre
Tel: 01923 470140
These courts are open to the public and are bookable through the centre.
3 Indoor courts – David Lloyd, Bushey
Tel: 01923 213760
1 Outdoor court – Down Hall Hotel
Bookable on a pay and play basis – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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*Photo courtesy of the LTA