Stoke Park – the wonderful luxury 5-star hotel in Buckinghamshire, UK – has recently introduced two padel courts to extend their leisure facilities.
For the uninitiated like myself, padel is similar to a combination of tennis and squash played outdoors on astroturf. Although first introduced to the UK in 1992, padel has been played for over 100 years, becoming a sporting phenomenon throughout many Hispanic nations including Spain, Mexico and Argentina.
It has recently been adopted by the LTA – Lawn Tennis Association and Tom Murray from British Padel recently said “to have such a prestigious venue (Stoke Park) joining the association gives a huge boost to our key objective of this year, which is for padel to achieve official sporting classification in the UK. We currently have 55 padel courts in the UK, and now with these two additional courts at Stoke Park, it really is helping the popularity of the sport.’
The court is mainly surrounded by glass walls which are an integral and essential part of the game and the service is underhand not overhead. The bats are similar to tennis racquets but have shorter handles and solid heads with a few holes to allow for aero-dynamics. The balls are the same as tennis but have slightly less pressure.
The popularity of the game is undoubtedly due to the fact that it is very sociable. There are no singles matches, only doubles so more people therefore play at any one time than in tennis. It is also apparently quicker and easier to learn the rudiments and then put them into practice. The bats are similar to tennis racquets but have shorter handles and solid heads with a few holes to allow for aero-dynamics. The balls are the same as tennis but have slightly less pressure.
The coaches at Stoke Park recommend the following tips when playing:
Keep the ball low
Try to serve and volley
Use the lob to keep opponents away from the net
Move up and back as a team
Use placements and angles rather than brute force!
Padel is now an addition to Stoke Park’s health and racquet facilities. These include 13 tennis courts – 6 Wimbledon spec grass courts, 3 indoor, 4 floodlit clay and 2 more to follow next year.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Stoke Park.