Those of you that follow the news about Padel in Spanish will no doubt be aware of Padel Pro-Tour – the new professional circuit for Padel players that caused a stir when it was launched a couple of months ago because of its confrontation with the official Federation of Padel in Spain.
For those of you that don’t follow the Spanish stuff, basically what the PPT is trying to do is increase the professionalism of Padel across the board through greater investment and more business-like management.
They will be organising a series of tournaments throughout the Padel season (20 are planned for 2006 – including at least 14 Mens and 8 womens) and the idea is to attract the worlds best players by obtaining more sponsorship for the events, more prize money for the players, more publicity and TV coverage of competitions.
So far, so good – more investment in the sport and increased publicity should help to develop the game. The biggest problem however is that the creation of the PPT divided the sport of Padel right down the middle – in particular because it seems that players that opt to participate in the tournaments of the Padel Pro-Tour will not be eligible to play in those organised by the Spanish Padel Federation…. Continue reading
With the two best tennis players in the world, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, about to contest the Wimbledon Mens Final in London, there has been a lot of discussion about the way different surfaces suit different players. Federer for example, is arguably the best tennis player in the world on grass and therefore goes into the final today as favourite, whereas it is well-known that the young Spaniard Nadal prefers a harder surface like clay, and is having to change his game to adapt to grass – concentrating more on his serve and closing in at the net more than he usually would.
In tennis the distinction tends to be between a ‘fast’ court and a ‘slow’ court – on a fast court (like the grass of Wimbledon for example) the ball tends not to bounce up as high, favouring big servers and serve-and-volley players, whilst on a slower court (like the clay of Roland Garros in Paris) the ball will bounce higher thus favouring baseliners, especially those with long strokes. Continue reading
Aside from the court and some balls the only other bit of kit you’ll need to start playing padel is a racquet. (In Spanish padel racquets are known as palas). But as there are dozens of different padel racquet manufacturers out there, each producing a wide range of racquets, it can be hard to know where to begin when selecting one for the first time.
Just like selecting a racquet for tennis its important to think about the different characteristics of the racquets on offer, and to identify one that matches the style and level of experience of the individual player. A couple of the most critical characteristics to take into consideration when selecting a padel racquet are power and control:
POWER This one may seem obvious but the combination of materials used, the weight of the racquet, and the shape of the racquet-head, can have quite an effect on the power that can be generated when a ball is hit. However, if you are a beginner to the sport of padel most coaches would recommend that you concentrate less on the power with which you hit the ball and more on the precision with which you hit it. Accuracy will win you more points than brute force!!
This is why the level of CONTROL that a racquet gives you becomes so important….. Continue reading
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet."
Shakespeare may have been right when it comes to falling in love but unfortunately when were talking about the naming of a relatively new sport things are not quite so simple….There is certainly confusion surrounding the appropriate name for the sport of padel/paddle and this can be quite an obstacle when trying to explain to those who've not heard of it before just what it is exactly.
Internationally the sport we are referring to here is known simply as "Padel", a reflection of the fact that for the past 30 years or so the sport has primarily been based in Spanish speaking countries. If we start to use the name "Paddle" or "Paddle Tennis" in the English-speaking world when we are in fact referring to Padel we enter into a confusing situation because "Paddle Tennis" is actually a distinct sport in its own right…..
Congratulations to the Paddle Association of Canada which has recently been announced as the host for the 2008 World Padel Championship!!
The event will be held in the city Calgary in August of 2008 and it is expected that delegates from at least 16 countries will be participating including Argentina; Austria; Belgium; Brazil; Chile; France; Germany; Italy; Mexico; Paraguay; Portugal; Spain; Uruguay; USA and Canada.
This announcement represents a great achievement for a country in which there are currently only 3 padel courts, and seems to reflect a continued willingness on behalf of the FIP, the sport's international governing body, to help spread the seeds of padel further afield than its traditional base of Spain and Latin America. Prior to this announcement the only other Padel World Championship outside the Spain/Mexico/Argentina triangle was the 2000 tournament which was hosted by the city of Toulouse in France.
The championship in Calgary is of course only two years away and it would be great to see some British players participating alongside the world's best, and who knows, if padel continues develop across the UK maybe we could see somewhere like Birmingham, Cardiff or Glasgow hosting the subsequent event in 2010!!
Padel is typically a game that is played in doubles, with four players of more or less the same standard. However, if players fail to turn up or get injured, sometimes you may be forced to play a game of padel singles and soon you realise that playing one-on-one changes the game quite a bit, requiring different skills and naturally more physical effort.
However, although it can technically be done, playing singles on a standard padel court is not ideal because the speed of the game combined with a court that's quite a bit smaller than a tennis court means its quite difficult to cover enough ground to be able to return balls.
To overcome this problem some clubs in Spain (e.g. ATP in Madrid) have introduced modified padel courts for singles which are effectively 'squeezed courts', a little narrower than a standard 20m x 10m padel court. The line markings on the singles courts are the same but because you will still be covering more court yourself this is inevitably going to be a more physically demanding game of padel.
This seems to be quite a new phenomenon and maybe it will spread further afield – it certainly offers padel players greater flexibility and may serve as an ideal training tool for players who are looking to develop skills, strength and fitness all in one go.
We heard recently that there are probably about 7 million padel players around the world at present. Its hard to verify the accuracy of this number but what we know for sure is that with more and more people discovering how easy the game is to pick up, and how much fun it can be, the number of padel players is growing every day.
So far however, the top tier of the sport seems to be dominated, not surprisingly, by players from just a handful of countries where the sport has been established for the longest amount of time.
The official rankings from the International Federation of Padel give a good indication of those countries in which the sport has the strongest base, and as you can see below, in the recent rankings of the top 10 men and women Argentina and Spain are clearly way out in front of all the rest at the moment:
Going further down the rankings tables, the other countries that feature, but with only a very small number of players each, are Brazil; Portugal; Chile; Uruguay; and Paraguay.
Surely the time has arrived to introduce a bit more diversity into these lists!! The UK Federation of Padel is seeking to recruit new talent to the game in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and to select players that can represent the UK in the World Padel Championships in Murcia later this year. So, if you are interested in finding out more check out the UKFP website and maybe sometime soon we'll see a few Smiths and Joneses in these lists!!