Racquet sports have been experiencing real popularity for several years. While the padel continues to gain popularity, pickleball, a sport originating in the United States, is being organized in France. What are the differences between these two sports? Can pickleball really compete with padel in France?
As you know, the padel is played on a rectangular court surrounded by walls and fences, measuring 10 meters wide and 20 meters long. The game is played in doubles competition, although there are singles courts for practice. THE snowshoes padel are solid, without strings, and perforated, while the ball is similar to a tennis ball, but with slightly less pressure. The serve is done below the waist, and the score follows the traditional tennis format: 15, 30, 40 and game. A particularity of padel is that balls can bounce off walls, adding a unique strategic dimension to the game.
Pickleball is played on a smaller court, similar to a badminton court, measuring 6,1 meters wide and 13,4 meters long. The rackets used are larger than those of ping-pong but smaller than those of table tennis. padel, and the ball is plastic, perforated and lightweight. The serve is also done below the waist, and the game can be played in singles or doubles. Scoring is different: games are generally played to 11 points, and only serving players can score. Pickleball also includes an area near the net, known as the “kitchen,” where volleys are prohibited.
Although pickleball and tennis rackets padel look a bit similar, the two sports have little in common. While pickleball shares similarities with badminton and ping pong, padel is more of a mix of tennis and squash.
That said, there are some similarities. The courts for both sports are separated by a low net, and both are renowned for their long, exciting rallies.
Usually the padel is more intense than pickleball. The nature of the terrain padel significantly increases the intensity of the game. The enclosed court with walls means that the ball is in play more often and can be returned against the walls. This characteristic allows for longer exchanges and requires quick reflexes and strategic thinking. You not only play against your opponents, but also against the environment. This constant interaction maintains a high intensity throughout the match.
Pickleball is played on a smaller court, similar to a badminton court, which requires covering less ground. This generally makes pickleball less intense. Another factor contributing to the difference in intensity is the ball used in each sport. Pickleball uses a perforated plastic ball that moves more slowly and requires more strategic placement, slightly reducing the overall physical intensity of the game.
The integration of pickleball into the French Tennis Federation (FFT) is an event that could have several repercussions. First of all, this gives pickleball increased legitimacy and visibility in France. This recognition could lead to increased investment in infrastructure and training programs, thereby contributing to the growth and development of the sport across the country.
For the FTT, the adoption of pickleball represents an opportunity to expand its membership base and diversify its sporting offerings. By integrating a sport that is growing globally, FTT can attract new practitioners. This could, as padel, help revitalize certain existing tennis clubs, by offering them the possibility of attracting new members thanks to an expanded sporting offer. Note also that a pickleball court costs less to build than a track. padel.
However, this integration also poses challenges, particularly in terms of resource management and the balance between the promotion of traditional tennis, padel and that of pickleball. The FTT will have to navigate carefully to ensure the harmonious development of these sports, while meeting the expectations and needs of their respective communities.
Le padel in France is experiencing impressive growth. We know that on March 1, 2023, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) recorded 113 tennis players. padel among all of its licensees for the year 2023. The number of players has almost doubled in seven years, and two thirds of the players are regular players.
In France, pickleball is only in its infancy, and is very, very far from padel. In fact, it has around 600 licensees for an estimated 1 players. In the United States, on the other hand, this sport is a “must”: there were nearly 000 million players last year!
This comparison reveals some interesting trends. Pickleball in the United States boasts rapid growth and a massive player base. This is a bit what happens with the padel in France, which, although more recent, is also experiencing significant growth. The increase in the number of tracks and players padel in France indicates a growing interest in the sport, while the established popularity of pickleball in the United States shows its deep roots in American sports culture. In France, pickleball is starting to develop, but still remains far behind padel in terms of number of players and infrastructure.
Should you play pickleball or padel ?
Deciding to play padel or pickleball depends on your preferences and expectations. If you are looking for a fun and very complete activity, you might prefer to turn to the padel. The scoring system is similar to tennis, and it's a great choice for those who enjoy the dynamics of tennis but are looking for something new and more accessible.
On the other hand, if you prefer a game that places a little more emphasis on strategic placement and reflexes, pickleball should appeal to you. Pickleball also appeals to players with less physical abilities, such as the elderly or those who have experienced significant injuries.
The best advice we could give you is certainly to try both, which are two quite complementary sports in our opinion!
Source of figures: Pickleball France
New follower of padel, I am fascinated by this dynamic sport which combines strategy and agility. I find in the padel a new passion to explore and share with you on Padel Magazine.