Padel – Urban Sport of the Week
Each week we send a member of the USC team to try a different sport in our offering. This week we investigated Padel, the world’s fastest growing sport that’s becoming more popular by the day…
What is Padel?
Padel is a racket sport that combines elements of tennis, squash and badminton. The sport was founded in Mexico in 1969 and became very popular in Spain in 2000. Since then the rest of the world is discovering word has spread that Padel is super fun, social and accessible. And now it, too.
What can you expect?
Padel Berlin is located in Friedrichshain not far from Boxhagener Platz. Most of the courts are outside in the sunshine but there’s an indoor court where our first Padel lesson was held.
You’ll see immediately that Padel is a unique sport. The court is surrounded by a mixture of clear plastic and metal fencing – which I later found out – contributes to a lot of the rules in the game.
The court is wider and shorter than a tennis court and the rackets are smaller and thicker. You play with a band attached to your wrist which our trainer Matias explained is because it gets so sweaty it would fly out your hand mid-hit otherwise.
How was the workout?
Matias taught us how to hit the ball by holding the racket flat and smacking the ball while stepping forward to have our body weight behind it. The thwack the ball makes on the racket is extremely satisfying.
To begin Matias hit balls to us and we smacked them back. I wildly underestimated the momentum of the racket and hit the ball out of the court numerous times. However it didn’t take long to understand the amount of pressure that’s needed and after a short while we were hitting our shots on target.
Matias then taught us how to make a backhand stroke which I found inexplicably difficult and at one point hit the ball into my own face. Matias had to check if I was alright. My nose was intact but my dignity wasn’t.
Matias then taught us how to serve then talked us through the rules in detail so we could play a match. The court walls are part metal and part glass. If you hit the metal fencing then the ball is out, however if you hit the glass it is in. Your opponent can let the ball bounce off the glass and hit it back over the net.
This makes the game exciting and dynamic – you never know where the next ball will be coming from and there are loads of ways you can score a point. There’s a specific move called the ‘drop shot’ where the opponent hits the ball so softly that it bounces twice and you lose the point. When the opponent makes this shot you need to dive to get to the ball in time.
A combination of these elements makes a very intense workout. Unsurprisingly Matias won the match but we put up a good fight and I was surprised that we could play a decent game after such a short time.
How did I feel after?
The introductory lesson was very informative and gave us an excellent grasp of the sport. Padel provides a real workout – running, jumping and sometimes diving to reach the ball in time definitely gets your heart rate up.
I really enjoyed the team work and social aspect of the game and can see why it’s a great sport to play with friends.
Benefits of Padel
There’s not a dull moment in a game of Padel. The sport is fast-paced and everyone is constantly moving and contributing.
Padel is very accessible and easy to pick up – we were able to play a match after a short amount of training and we improved quickly.
It’s a social sport – you work together as a team and can book a court for two hours at a time. While you play you can reconnect with old friends and enjoy a beer after the game!
It’s a great workout. A game of Padel will have you running around, trying to hit the ball off the wall and diving for those pesky drop shots.
Don’t forget to bring…
Workout gear, water and 3 of your best mates.
Follow Padel Berlin on Facebook for updates on their latest news and events.
Want to get involved with the new sport on the block? Padel is growing and we have several Padel partners across Germany and in France. Check out the USC website to see if there’s a Padel Club near you.