If you live in The Netherlands, you have heard about Padel Netherlands (at least once!). I didn’t know much about Padel Netherlands when I first moved here. If you also wonder what it is, what kind of skills you need, and why everyone seems to love it, read this post. I will share with you some tips about Padel Netherlands and answer all your questions about it!
What is Padel? (Wat is Padel?)
Padel is a racquet-based ball game played in an enclosed court (padel baan, in Dutch). It became popular in Spain before spreading across the globe. In Padel, four players in teams of two (although it can also be played individually) play the ball with a racquet across the net, placed in the middle of the court. Imagine a double tennis match on a much smaller court (around 25% smaller!). So not only is it fun because you play in teams, but you also don’t have to run around too much (which I hate, haha).
Another difference with tennis is that the walls/fences of the enclosed court are part of the game (same as with squash). To make it simple, imagine tennis and squash had a baby: that’s Padel!
History of Padel and Padel Netherlands (Waar komt padel vandaan?)
The name padel comes from the English word “paddle,” which means “shovel” or “racket.” Padel was born in 1969 when Mexican businessman Enrique Corcuera, a great tennis fan, traveled to the United States and tried “paddle tennis,” a game inspired by tennis but played on a smaller court, with a lower net and replacing the racket with a paddle. Once back in Mexico, Corcuera took a piece of land he owned in Las Brisas, Acapulco, and set up a court 20 meters long by 10 meters wide, with walls on the sides (to prevent vegetation from invading the court and the balls from sneaking into the neighbor’s property).
Accidentally, not only did Corcuera create the very first padel court, but they also started a new sport, which spread across the entire world!
But how did Padel make it through the Atlantic Ocean and establish itself in Spain?
The same Corcuera invited some aristocratic friends to stay at his estate in Las Brisas for the summer. In the same group was Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a real estate developer and founder of the Marbella Club in Spain.
He loved paddle tennis and decided to build two courts in his hotel club in Costa del Sol. It was 1974. These two courts were the first built in Spain, and unlike the one in the Corcuera house, they had a wire fence instead of side walls.
Through 1980 and 1990, the Marbella Club hosted the “Pro-Am” tournaments, sponsored by Julio Alegría Artiach, the first president of the International Federation of Pádel (1991), who established a padel regulation internationally.
During the 90s, Pádel became very popular among prominent figures in Spain, including Manolo Santana, the famous Spanish tennis player. From that moment, several clubs started building their own courts and organizing their own tournaments.
But how did Padel make it to The Netherlands? Well, we all know the Dutch love to spend their summer holidays soaking up the sun from some beach town on the Mediterranean coast in Spain (I mean, who doesn’t?!). During the ’90s and early 2000s, they had plenty of occasions to get familiar with and fall in love with Padel during their summer holidays. Padel is the perfect activity for a summer holiday: you can play with a group of friends, and it helps burn out some of those extra calories gained after a few nights of tapas and cervezas.
In 2006, the first padel Netherlands court was built in Eindhoven, and in 2011, the Dutch Padel Federation (NPB) was established in The Netherlands and recognized by the International Padel Federation (FIP). More than 1400 Padel courts have been built since then, making Padel one of the fastest-growing sports in The Netherlands.
Rules of Padel Netherlands (Spelregels Padel)
Padel is played in pairs as doubles (although, as we said before, you can play one against one).
When it comes to rules and scoring, Padel is very similar to tennis, except that when playing Padel, you must serve by bouncing the ball on the ground and below the hip. Padel matches are usually played in the best-of-three (or five if you have the stamina!) sets format.
But how do you score points? Mainly according to these five cases:
- The opponent hits the ball into the net
- The opponent hits the ball outside the play area (outside the cage or against one of your courtside walls)
- The opponent hits the ball into their own grid
- The ball bounces off the ground twice on the opponent’s side
- Or the ball hits one of the opponents (ouch!)
But can I give you some advice? Do not bother to count points the first time you play. Just have fun and use these times to practice. Start keeping the score only when you feel comfortable with the basics (or don’t – playing just for fun is fine too!).
Padel Netherlands Court
A padel court is defined as an area 20m long x 10m wide enclosed above ground with a combination of glass and weld mesh rebound wall and fence panels supported by steel posts fixed to a concrete foundation with a synthetic turf play surface.
Padel Netherlands Equipment
It’s very simple! All you need is 2 rackets and a ball (and a friend to play it with!).
The racket is, of course, the most essential tool. There are different kinds of rackets depending on your level and preference. I suggest trying different types the first time you play a game to check which one you are more comfortable with. I’m sure the club’s staff will be able to help you!
Keep in mind that the sandy court surfaces of a Padel Netherlands court can be slippery if you don’t have the right shoe. Your shoes should have a good grip; we recommend a deep zig-zag “herringbone” pattern on the bottom of their outsoles.
Ok, but do I need to be good at tennis to play Padel?
The short answer? No, you don’t!
Padel is much more accessible and straightforward than tennis:
- The court is smaller.
- You play in teams.
- A good technique is not a hard requirement for beginners.
Of course, after a while, you might want to learn some tactics, use the walls, and master a killer volley. But that will come with time! I never played tennis and still had a blast playing Padel at the beginning! With some practice and a couple of lessons, I was able to improve my skills very rapidly. I find Padel to be a great sport to approach as a beginner; it doesn’t require any specific skill set or fit level.
What’s next? Where do I start?
For your first game, all you need is a friend, your gear, and to reserve a court. And if you don’t know anyone yet who got into Padel Netherlands but are curious to check it out, these are my favorite clubs in Amsterdam:
- Best club with multiple locations: Peakz Padel
- Best club for social events: Padel Next
- Best club in Noord: NDSM Padel
- Best sport center club: USC Sport
- Best club in Nieuw-West: Plaza Padel
They often organize some events for the community, and it’s a great occasion to meet new people and expats looking for padel buddies to play with.