Questions I am often asked these days are:

  • What is paddle tennis?
  • How do you play it?
  • Why do you love it so much?

If you follow our Instagram feed you will see why these questions arise … 

In this article, I am going to answer these questions and welcome you to the wonderful world of padel.

WARNING: This sport can seriously change your life,

help you get in shape and make you lots of new friends.


What is paddle tennis (padel)?

Padel is a racket sport that combines the elements of tennis, squash and badminton. It is only played in doubles and is practiced outdoors as much as indoors.

The game was invented by Enrique Corcuera of Mexico, who created the first padel club in Marbella in 1974. The sport became very popular in Spain, which has been the professional circuit host of the World Padel Tour where it has been played since 2005. Over the course of the past 10 years, padel has begun to spread rapidly to the rest of Europe and the United States.

Padel is played by over 10 million players and has become the fastest growing sport in the world. #padel

How do you play paddle tennis (padel)?

What is paddle tennis

About the padel court… (La pista de padel)

  • Dimensions: 200m² (10x20m)
  • A net divides the court into two sides
  • Glass walls and netted steel fence surround the court
  • The back of the court and the beginning of the sides are made of window glass surmounted by a steel fence (height: 4m)
  • Access to the court is on each side of the net
  • There are no doors

About the padel rules … (Las reglas)

The game starts with a serve which must be hit diagonally to the opponent on the other side of the net. The ball must bounce within the opponents serving “square”.

The serve is underhanded, with 2 attempts allowed

If the ball hits the net and bounces in the box, it is a let (as in tennis).

During the game:

The ball must bounce on the ground before touching any external walls. If the ball hits an external wall before first bouncing on the floor it is out.

A ball can be returned once it has hit the floor and/or any glass walls. However, it cannot bounce twice.

Volleys are also permitted.


Scoring is the same as tennis, except matches are usually made up of the best of 3 sets (male and female). Six games are needed to win a set and the pair who wins two sets wins the match.

Players will play a 7 points tie-breaker if the score reaches 6/6

What is paddle tennisAbout the padel racquet: (La pala)

A padel racquet is solid with no strings and is perforated. It is smaller and more compact than a tennis racquet which makes it very easy to handle.

It weighs between 340g and 370g, slightly heavier than a tennis racquet.

The racquet cannot be more than 45,5cm long, 26cm wide and 38mm thick.

The padel racquet is usually covered by plastic or carbon depending on the quality level. The inside of the racquet is made of ethylene-vinyl acetate which looks like a foam.

Padel balls are similar to tennis balls but have less pressure in order to adapt to the small size of the court but also to the game with the fence.

Why do we love paddle tennis (padel)? This is our story …

In April 2016, I (Lisa) was looking for a sport to enjoy with Joshua, our eldest child.

Joshua has played football in Spain for many years A new school year had begun, a move to secondary education,  resulting in a change of school for him and consequent team changes and the inevitable departure of many of his friends. Joshua decided that football was no longer for him.

I must admit that I wasn’t disappointed. We have spent many a wonderful weekend supporting our local CD Mijas team on the pitch. However, as the children grow up and testosterone levels rise, so do conflict and often aggression on the pitch. And let’s not even start about the parents! Not the fun it used to be.

So, it was time for a change.

What is paddle tennis

Reasons why we love paddle tennis (padel):

More time spent in the open air

Great for fitness and flexibility

A quick sport to learn

Age, fitness, strength are not essential requirements to enjoy the game

More time spent together playing sport

Great for integration and making friends

Padel courts are all over Spain

By complete chance, we came across a local padel club and signed up for lessons.

And that my friends was that.

The start of our love affair with this sport…

What is paddle tennis

Eighteen months later and our lives have changed for the better. We have many new friends, mainly Spanish but also other nationalities. We play at least 3 or 4 times a week. That is a total of at least ten hours a week. Not bad hey!

As a work from home mum, (this is my business website) I could never have believed that I would ever find an activity that took up 10 to 15 hours per week of my time that was not work nor child related. It is totally “me” time. I love it.

I also love the fact that my teenage son wants to share a court with me. There are no barriers in this sport …. unless you create them yourself.

Francesca is also taking padel classes but this year she is focusing on her rhythmic gymnastics, as she starts competitions this year. That doesn’t stop us packing four padel racquets whenever we travel though!

So, what are you waiting for?

Do you have any questions about this sport? Have you tried it? Feel free to ask us anything! We’d love to hear from you …



Reference links:

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Lisa Sadleir

Founder at Family in Spain SL
We love Family Life In Spain. Join us as we share experiences and essential updates, advice & assistance related to living in and moving to Spain. ¡ Olé !



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