Padel rackets differ a bit from tennis and squash rackets. The striking surface is full and drilled with holes made of foam of different densities. Each racket has a strap that you must wear while playing.
Padel shoes are similar to tennis shoes. The pattern on the soles of the shoes gives you a good grip and support for your ankles.
Padel balls are similar to tennis balls, but a tad bit softer and smaller. There are rules for how hard the pressure in the ball should be. If you are playing on amateur level, a tennis ball works just as well as a paddle ball.
BUT WHO’S COUNTING ANYWAY?
Padel is a sport that is played in doubles. The servant must be behind the service line and throw the ball diagonally onto the opposite field. However, the serve must be carried out on the side without crossing the pelvic line, not over the head like in tennis. The rest of the players can position themselves anywhere on the field.
The points of a game are counted like in tennis:
- No point: zero
- First point: 15
- Second point: 30
- Third point: 40
- Fourth point: game
The set is won by the first team to reach 6 games while leading 2 games in advance and the match is won by the team to win 2 sets.
THE GLASS WALLS
The court is one-third the size of a tennis court and is enclosed with wire mesh and glass walls which you can play off when you need to. Padel is played entirely within four walls which players use to their strategic advantage.
The glass walls allow you to play the ball off the glass, like you would do in a game of squash played off the walls. Yet it’s not the same as playing squash. It’s a totally different ball game altogether.
Unlike tennis, where the serve is done overhand (i.e. throw the ball up high and then smashing it down into the service block), in padel, the serve is done underhand, meaning you must bounce the ball once and then hit it below waist level.
Which makes it is easier to play the service, return the ball and start a rally. Both the first and second service is played underhand.
Each game begins with an underhand serve from the right-hand service court into the opponent’s court diagonally across, similar to tennis. The serve must land in the opponent’s service box.
Unlike tennis, you won’t aim for an ace. Instead, you‘ll try to find tight corners and technical spins. If the ball bounces in the service box and strikes the side or back wall, it is a valid service and must be played by the opposing player, if he or she is able to. If the ball lands in the service box and hits the wire fencing, it is considered a service fault.