Today, the padel is taking on an exponential scale, there are more than 20 million practitioners around the globe. Having become a true national sport in Spain for more than a decade, padel Spanish has been considered for several years as a reference for its expansion in other countries.
Spain, why is it the European reference for padel ?
An unrivaled number of infrastructures!
Coming straight from the Spanish nobility, the history of padel in Spain dates from 1974. As a result, the infrastructures are much more numerous, there were more than 15.300 courts in the country in January 2023 according to the report produced by playtomic on the evolution of the padel in Europe, Italy coming behind with around 6 courts then comes Sweden with 000 courts, France lining up 4000th with almost 4 courts.
This is how, for example, while walking around Barcelona and its surroundings, you will not fail to see playing fields. padel on every street corner; just around the OSS training organizer in Castelldefels, 15km south of Barcelona, more than 150 courts have been listed, hard to believe for some envious foreigners!
More numerous practitioners than we think!
The Spanish federation will have around 2023 licensees in 100.000. A figure which is far from reflecting the number of practitioners. Indeed, the vast majority of players practice their passion in a leisure context, and during private tournaments which do not require any license! This observation makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to assess the real number of practitioners. But Spain believes that the padel has become the most practiced sport next to football.
What sport today claims to be able to bring together similar players at any time of the day and whatever the level of play?!
Should we mention that this sport is addictive? All enthusiasts will be able to confirm this, having barely left the field, and already a pressing desire to return there is felt! Ask the Spaniards who are lucky enough not to suffer from land availability problems; Many people play every day and even more, some playing two slots in a row, thus accumulating 3 hours of play/day, at well advanced ages.
A young generation dedicated to padel !
Le padel has been particularly recognized among young people for around ten years. The media impact of celebrities practicing padel (like many football players such as Lionel Messi who installed a pitch at his home in Castelldefels) gave birth to a generation that began padel from a very young age without having gone through other sports. This observation is not yet observed in foreign countries where players are often athletes who are fond of racket sports, and join the padel after having practiced other sports beforehand! This phenomenon is starting to be observed in other countries.
Le padel does it play out in the same way in Spain as in the rest of the world?
Many internationals, going for intensive training in Spain, become aware of certain differences in the practice of padel. Indeed, the Spanish game is mainly focused on defense with the objective of making as few mistakes as possible. In France, the game is much more aggressive. The primary concern is rather aesthetic, to the detriment of efficiency: the desire to hit hard, to play long-line passing, or to absolutely get the ball out, often takes over. In addition to inappropriate risk-taking, these strategic choices also prove to be inappropriate in relation to the configurations on the ground! Let's be honest: who has never experienced windows as enemy number one? Notice to those who come from tennis and who feel advantaged in this sport, how long did it take you to erase your old tennis habits in the quest for the winning point?
How do the game levels work in Spain?
The classification of playing levels is different in Spain since the levels are classified from 1 to 7 with some variations depending on the structures, while in other foreign countries including France, the system goes up to level 10.
OSS, pioneer in the organization of training courses padel in Spain, used his extensive local experience in Barcelona to refine the evaluation of foreign players remotely.
Isabelle Vannier, the head of OSS, talks about the difficulty of organizing matches with Spanish players over very short training periods without knowing with certainty the level of play of the foreign participants: “Our objective is to aim as closely as possible from the start. first match”. In these circumstances, it is necessary to have the most comprehensive assessment possible. For this, several criteria are taken into consideration: of course, the national ranking in padel (for this purpose, Oss has created an equivalence grid), tennis ranking et sporting experience in other sports. But the most convincing is the creation of a video repository which completes a list of references proposed by the Spanish system. You can find all the details of this data on their site: www.padelbarcelona.com.
Evaluate your level of play through the Spanish system
Below you will find 7 categories with tactical references and illustrative videos.
Level 1 – Beginner : I have just started, I have little experience in racquet sports
Level 2 – Copper : I go to the net but I don't know how to play with the walls
Level 3 – Bronze: I go up to the net and sometimes manage to play with the walls
Level 4 – Silver : I control the direction of the ball and know how to play with both walls
Level 5 – Gold: I control the speed, the smash after the window bounce, I vary my style and my tactics of play
Level 6 – Reg : I am ranked in the Top 100 in my country
Level 7 – Nat: I am ranked in the Top 20 in my country
Le Padel is becoming more popular all over the world but Spain remains the reference in the discipline, which is why notable differences still apply between foreigners and Spaniards.
The best is to judge for yourself! If you have the opportunity, go to Barcelona, you will benefit from a tailor-made course to assess your level by confronting Spanish players while having the opportunity to be coached by experienced coaches who have lived and still live the professional circuit; They will provide you with relevant strategic advice for your future. padelistic !