This week I'm tackling a question that I've often asked myself: the padel is it a sport individual or collective? Maybe you already have the answer? Have you ever asked yourself this question?
I open the debate. How to talk about collective sport with only a team made up of two players?! How can we talk about individual sport when we are not alone on the track? This is the whole question and the ambiguity of this sport.
Why can we say that the padel is an individual sport? First of all, because when we progress padel and as you go up in level and skills, you specialize little by little in a diagonal. You become a player on the right or a player on the left.
NB: in my opinion, it is important to know how to play in both diagonals. This allows you, on the one hand, to be able to complete a game without problems (or to participate in a tournament), regardless of whether a player on the right or on the left is missing. On the other hand, it is in my opinion important to know the problems, the strategies, the rotations in the two diagonals. You will then better understand what your partner is going through, at your side, during a match.
Then, the padel is mainly played diagonally or in the center. This is why it is important to know how to play all the balls in -at least- one diagonal. So the padel is clearly an individual sport because it is sometimes interesting to play 1 against 1, diagonally. This allows you to work on repeating the right tactical patterns that you will find during a game.
We regularly see good players practice 1 on 1 diagonally. Often we even see them play a match in "cruzado" mode. This allows you to put yourself in real match conditions by being only two players on the track. (For more information on "cruzado", click here. Remember that it is important to agree on the rules to be respected during this match).
Training 1 on 1 also allows you to work your cardio harder. You are indeed solicited with each ball. From one diagonal to another the rotations, the tactical choices are different. It also allows you to repeat, work, improve your technique and your strategies (even if sometimes it is wrong to play diagonally)… as well as your regularity and therefore your confidence.
Finally, the padel is an individual sport when the question of the choice of partner comes into play. Indeed, we observe many and regular sudden "divorces" in this sport, when the pair formed does not obtain the expected results, or when a player is approached by a potential partner better than the current one... We therefore see players split up to try to find someone who will allow them to shine more or who will ensure that they get into the tables later. In these moments, the collective spirit has disappeared to make way for an individual spirit: who is the one who will allow me to express myself better and obtain better results?
...Or team sport?
Yet the padel is also a sport that is played as a team. On the one hand, the choice of partner is essential in this sport. Although, as explained above, there is often a certain form of selfishness in this sport, it is important to find a partner with whom you will get along. You have to manage to set up a tight-knit team with only two players. Two players who will have different roles on the pitch, each with their own qualities and faults... but who will share ambitions and results.
It is also important to be able to rely on your teammate in the event of a drop in speed, weaknesses, etc.
On the other hand, communication is one of the essential keys of this sport. It is therefore necessary to know how, when and with what words to communicate with your partner. You also need to have the same goals, roughly the same level of play and the same expectations for the pair to work on and off the field. Although for this last point, I have already known pairs where the players did not get along off the field... as a general rule, the pair does not last for years...
We see here all the importance that must be a meeting between two players to form a homogeneous and durable pair over time.
Finally, the strategy decided and implemented during a match must necessarily be validated by both players. It is indeed logical that the latter agree on where to play, how to play, on whom to play (in the case of refrigeration, for example), Etc.
Finally, we could see the ambiguity of this question during the reopening of sports clubs in 2020. At the beginning it was possible to resume individual outdoor sports and the vagueness concerning the padel was maintained for a long time because it was not known whether it was considered by the Ministry of Sports as a collective or individual sport.
In summary, we can say that the padel is the most individual team sport. Each player is responsible for his own half-court, while being obliged to build a collective strategy… both in terms of tactics, movements and communication.
And for you, the padel is it an individual or team sport?
Line Meites is one of the best French players in padel. It's the voice of your live on Padel Magazine. But not only, she also hosts the column “Investigations of the Swiss Army Knife”. Every month, she will come back to a controversy or a theme that is close to her heart.