Have you ever tried or seen padel tennis? You might have spotted it on holiday while in Spain or Portugal or Italy or Sweden… and the list of other destinations with a burgeoning padel presence is starting to lengthen. For those of you who have started playing, have you caught the bug? It’s a funny thing trying to figure out why so many people fall in love padel tennis. I think the fact that it’s a novelty helps bring some people to it. But there’s something special to padel that makes it particularly easy to become a regular addict.

Here are the top five reasons that make people fall in love with this sport:

  1. Padel’s fun, and yet competitive. It’s surprisingly easy to have a long, sprawling rally where you’re all running about the court, chasing the ball and covering for one another.
  2. It’s quirky. You’ll frequently be called upon to make awkward, out-of-nowhere gets because of the ball’s spin, effects off the wall and those that come off the wicked mesh of the side netting. It’s not uncommon to have to try a behind-the-back or through the legs (el “willy”) shot. See here for more padel vocabulary.
  3. It’s social. Given its hispanic roots (Spain via Mexico & Argentina), it’s a sport that invites us to have a fun post-game beer. It’s social because it’s a game played as doubles (4 per court). It’s social because the court is small and it’s easy to talk to all parties. It’s social because you’re even supposed to talk to one another DURING the point (giving instructions and support!). If your local padel club is any good, it will be organizing “mixings” on a regular basis. Who knows, you may even find love at padel!
  4. It’s challenging to get good. As easy as the game may be at the outset, especially for those who come from lawn tennis, or squash or real tennis (the latter two both help with the walls), it’s difficult to get good. The strokes are specific and learning the tactics takes experience. You need to unlearn certain habits and rewire for the padel mentality!
  5. It’s a good workout. While not as intense as squash, it’s surprisingly easy to have a major workout. When I’m playing with experienced players (who know how to play padel with lobs, chiquitas and changes of pace…), it’s not uncommon for me to burn 800 calories in an hour and to get my near 60-year-old heart up to 170bpm.

What reasons have I missed out? Please add in the comments below!

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