If you think padel’s a man’s game, it’s time to think again!

Richard Hall of GoPadel UK chats to some of his female padel members who have been bitten by the padel bug…

Here at GoPadel UK in Maldon Essex, we’ve worked really hard to encourage more women into the game, and we’re proud to say that it’s paid off – our club now comprises 40% female members, who play regularly at our training sessions, matches, club and national competitions, and social events.

Here, Ali, Pennie and Gail reveal what they love about the sport:

Ali’s story – “Padel has changed my life!”

Other than playing a bit of tennis in my teens, I haven’t done much in the way of sport since I was at school. I’ve tried running and cycling, and even went to the gym for a while, but now that I’ve discovered padel, I’m playing sport three or four times a week. It has totally changed my life, and our family life, too as my husband and son also play, and my daughter is learning.

In short, padel is addictive. It’s pretty easy to pick up the basics, and then you discover that there is so much to learn, with shots and strategy. I find it mentally and physically stimulating, and I’m certainly never bored!

Another plus is that I am fitter now than I was 20 years ago!

Padel is fun and competitive. I really enjoy the competitive element at GoPadel. It’s great to be part of a local club, and it’s full of lovely, friendly members, so while we all play to win, the atmosphere is great. The mix of members is huge, too – young and old, male and female, beginner and advanced; it’s totally inclusive and there is always someone free for a match. The club also organises regular mixed double tournaments which are always well attended and extremely popular with both male and female players. I just wish that I’d discovered padel years ago!

Gail’s Story – “I loved padel the first time I played it”

My main sport of choice had always been squash, until one day I saw a programme about a new sport called padel, which seemed to combine the things I love about squash but with more of a social interaction. I was intrigued, but when I looked into it, there was nothing available locally.

Then, to my delight, a couple of months later, I discovered that GoPadel had opened near to where I live.

I went along to have a look, and at the age of 61, I played padel for the first time. I loved it straight away!

I think that a huge part of the reason why it is so enjoyable is down to the coaches, Rich and Dan. From the start their enthusiasm, professionalism, fun and passion for padel inspired me to challenge myself and to improve. They make it fun, and are so positive and supportive.

I have always been very competitive and I love that this sport develops the element of competition. GoPadel is an extremely inclusive and sociable club, and so I play with people across all ages from the teens to 70s. I love the competitions; the Mexican event is a particular favourite of mine. The training sessions are brilliant, as well – they are hard, but Rich and Dan make them fun.

Padel is addictive because you can play and have a day where you have a few bad shots, but it is the good ones that hook you in and make you love the game. When you hear people playing padel there is always laughter on the court somewhere! it is extremely sociable whilst giving you a great workout and bringing the competitive element into the game too. I enjoy the fact that padel is played in doubles, so you are working with a partner. It’s a very tactical sport, so it keeps both my brain and body active.

Padel has had a truly positive impact on my life. I sadly lost my mum last year. She lived with me for four years and was very ill at the end; padel was my saviour! I needed to have that time where I was able to be myself, forget about being a carer and socialise with my fellow padel players, who were so kind. My lovely mum used to say that I was a different person after playing padel. It helped me to deal with losing her.

I recommend padel to everyone – even the newest players can get a good rally going! It’s fair to say that it gets you in a way that not other sport does. I do think, however, that a big part of the reason that I love the sport so much, is because I am a member of GoPadel. Rich is an exceptional coach. I’m 64 now, and I have found a sport that I truly love playing with like-minded people. It’s a really sociable game, and I know that it is the reason that I am so fit. What more could you ask
for?

Pennie’s story – “I’ve become a padel addict”

I like hitting things!

Jogging or the gym is not for me, but I have played a lot of sport both social and competitive since the age of 10, in particular tennis and badminton. I’m now over 60, which is perhaps an unusual time to take up a new sport, but when I saw that some padel courts had opened fairly close to where I live, I decided to see what it was about.

Initially, I was worried that I would need to find three other people to play with… and that even if I could find them, none of us would know the rules or have the skills required to make a good game. My worries turned out to be unfounded – I soon discovered that GoPadel was a club run by knowledgeable and enthusiastic coaches who offered introductory sessions for beginners, private lessons and what has become my favourite: group training sessions.

The group training is brilliant. In these sessions we not only learn how to handle the mystery of hitting off the wall, but also padel-specific shots such as the bandeja, chiquita and boast. We also laugh a great deal and burn off hundreds of calories without even being aware of it.

Padel is so easy to pick up whether or not you have previously played other racquet sports.

From my perspective as an older player, the size of the court, the fact that it is only played as doubles and you can let it go past onto the wall and hit it on the way back, means there is less running to do and just as much hitting… which I love!

Socially we have a great time at GoPadel. Apart from the group coaching there are mix-in sessions, leagues, tournaments of many kinds for all levels of players and you can, of course, organise your own fours when you want to. It’s quite a unisex sport because at mix-ins and even in competitions you often find two women playing against two men, or a game of mixed doubles.

It’s true that I’ve become a padel addict. I love the fact that I’m improving and enjoy the long, brilliant and sometimes hilarious rallies. I’ve made lots of new friends of all ages who are as addicted as I am. My only regret is that I didn’t discover this wonderful sport decades ago.

PADEL IS FOR EVERYONE – LET’S GO PADEL!

Article by:

Richard Hall

Founder GoPadel UK

Website: www.gopadeluk.com