Should you try Padel in the new year?

Should you try Padel in the new year?

8 January 2024

Not familiar? Here’s what the fuss is about. Padel (pronounced “paddle”) has become the new “IT” sport and the craze has taken South Africa by storm. In fact, the exact number of people playing padel nation wide is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands. However, the booming popularity of this Spanish import is not unique to South Africa, in fact, padel has gathered over 25 million players across 90 countries worldwide.

Trendy? That’s an understatement. This exciting hybrid of tennis and squash is quite the celebrity catnip. David Beckham, Christiano Ronaldo, Elle Macpherson, and the Prince and Princess of Wales (amongst many others), have all been spotted playing padel regularly. And, not surprisingly, fashion houses including Prada and Versace, have now started cranking out super-pricey padel rackets.

The beauty of padel is that you don’t need to ever have picked up a tennis racket to play, which makes it perfect for beginners. This incredibly social sport is less about power and more about strategy, so it’s a more even playing field for men and women to play matches together. Also, there’s no chance of being knocked unconscious by a 130 kmph ball from a Djokovic wannabee!

It’s essentially a doubles game (meaning you need 4 players to set a match) that’s played on a specifically built padel court – which looks like a small tennis court with glass walls. You’ll need:

1. A padel racket (these could be provided by your local club, or you could invest in your own).

2. Depressurized balls which are slightly smaller than tennis balls and are usually free when booking the court

3. General activewear.

4. Standard trainers to begin with.

The best way to book a court near you is through the global app Playtomic, which most padel companies, including Africa Padel, uses as their booking system. The app includes your player ranking and the ability to view other players’ ranking too. A court is generally in the region of R400.00 per hour, but you can split the cost between the 4 players. Rackets can be rented for R50.00 per match. Balls are usually provided free of charge when booking on Playtomic.

Why should you consider giving it a go? Padel is a great way to socialize and to meet new people. It’s ideal for beginners and a great sport for all abilities. The game adapts to the rhythm of the players so you can determine the level and intensity of the game.

It’s a solid cardio workout, but it doesn’t feel like one. We’re talking muscle toning, especially in the legs and glutes. You’ll also notice benefits for the arms, back, and core. And of course, because the court is smaller than tennis and the ball is in play a lot more, you could burn 700 to 1000 calories!

Padel is a game that requires concentration and focus, so it is golden for your mental health. You genuinely don’t have time to think about anything else. Plus, most importantly, it’s fun!

So, if you’re interested in trying something new this year (or just curious why every man and his dog is talking about it), c’mon, give it a whack.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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