Currently the fastest growing sport in the world, Padel courts have recently been built at Heywood Sports club in Diss. Sitting on the boarder of Norfolk and Suffolk, Heywood’s courts are the first in both counties and also boast the very first Adidas Padel court to be built in the UK.
The courts were finished at the end of May and are now open to the public, prior to the club hosting a Grand Opening in August; following the complete refurbishment of their Tennis courts, 3G Five-a-Side football pitch and car parks.
Tom Bobbins, the owner of the club said, “We’re delighted to finally offer Padel at Heywood, after months of planning and hard work on the ground. What’s particularly exciting for us is the accessibility of the game; it’s so much easier to play than most other racket sports, particularly for children and more senior sports enthusiasts. With little or no experience, you’ll be able to enjoy a game with your friends or family. My five-year-old son took to it in a matter of minutes.”
Padel is a close relative of tennis. It is predominantly a doubles game (played by four people) on an enclosed court, a third the size of a tennis court. Scoring is the same as Tennis and the balls used are very similar but have a little less ‘bounce’. The main differences are that balls can be played off the court walls (similar to Squash) and that the rackets are solid, consisting of a traditional frame filled with a dense foam – usually perforated with large holes.
The combination of a harder ball and solid racket results in increased control and a slower ball speed than Tennis. The enclosed courts encourage rallies to last much longer than those of a Tennis game: Padel bookings at Heywood are 90 minutes, to accommodate the time needed to comfortably conclude a match.
Invented in Acapulco (Mexico) by Enrique Corcuera in the 1960s, Padel was exported to the Costa Del Sol (Spain) in the early 1970s, where the first purpose-built courts were erected at the Marbella Club. It quickly blossomed and became popular in Hispanic countries, particularly Spain and Argentina, also flourishing on the Algarve in Portugal.
Padel is now played by over 10 million people worldwide, in 36 countries. There are now over 60 courts in the UK, double the number in 2018.
The sport was formerly adopted by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) only a few weeks ago, integrating British Padel into the organisation’s day-to-day operations. This is a significant development for Padel, not only recognising it as a legitimate sport in the UK, but also providing a huge platform for accelerated growth across the country.
There is now a very real possibility that Padel will be admitted into the Olympics for the Los Angeles Games in 2028.
Andy Murray, the British tennis ace, recently made a significant investment in a Padel court company and is a major exponent of the game.
Premiership football celebrities have also recently added their voices to promote the game. Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool manager, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and former Chelsea and England captain John Terry are big fans of Padel. Most premiership football teams have Padel courts within their training facilities, including Liverpool, Everton, West Ham, Tottenham and Manchester City, to name but a few.
To try your hand at Padel, contact Heywood by calling 01379 643 088 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The club can supply all the equipment you’ll need and Tom regularly arranges informal coaching ‘mixers’ for people to join a groups of players new to the game.