The French Tennis Federation incorporated padel in its statutes in 2014. Isabelle Vannier, the founder of the padel and tennis stays, OSS Barcelona, we book some observations made from Spain concerning the evolution of padel in France.
To my surprise again this year, not a single word or so little about the padel during Roland Garros. If there were a few briefs on this sport, they went too unnoticed despite my attendance in front of the screens. While there are many who appreciate padel among professional tennis players, their coaches, FFT consultants and speakers, sponsors ...
We have one of the biggest sporting events and the padel has been put in the “fridge” to use a term from our sport.
The misunderstanding in the face of this boom
Not a single word about padel during RG: it is incomprehensible, especially since it is a booming sport in recent years, and above all: it cost the FFT nothing to talk about it, to communicate about this sport during these 15 days. Hence my question:
“Does the FFT play its role as a sports federation in the development of padel?”
The FFT is a great structure, unique in our modest world of padel. And yet, at times, we wonder what happens so as not to do what seems obvious: COMMUNICATE and POPULARIZE padel. It has a duty to promote the sport of padel as stipulated in the texts:
“A federation plays a role in the organization of sports practice, its promotion and its development. With this in mind, it must therefore put in place actions that promote the discovery of sport and its promotion… ”
Yet here, even more during this crisis where time is (unfortunately) with us, the FFT could have done much better during Roland-Garros. It's a shame because these internationals from France offered him a unique opportunity at a lower cost.
Obviously, we live through complicated times and padel is not a priority during Roland Garros. Like everyone else, the FFT is undergoing this unprecedented crisis. But what is a shame is not having seized the opportunity to at least talk about it during these 15 days on the various antennas. At no time did we have the padel subject on the table, too bad.
The FFT had done it so well in 2015… It was another time, another time.
Yet the FFT is making costly efforts
We cannot put aside the efforts of the FFT to promote its elite “FFT PADEL TOUR” circuit; to want to spend tens / hundreds of thousands of euros to televise the padel events like the World Padel Tour, to subsidize municipal clubs to put padel everywhere (a subject at times questionable); to organize this sport, even if sometimes it can be criticized for its slowness.
The FFT is the only giant in the world padel ecosystem. No padel federation has the weight and power of the FFT. Its investments are certainly unique and superior to all the cumulative investments of all the padel federations in the world. That is to say, the strike force of the FFT.
Do the actions of the FFT really promote the discovery of this sport? Have we not toasted steps?
The padel: incredible hours
Padel is going through hours never known before: this sport is booming in Europe.
All continents are affected by this sport. By relying in particular on 2,5 million practitioners in Spain, it is possible to affirm that padel has its place on the international scene.
Padel can provide support in sports practice within tennis clubs. By diversifying the tennis activity, the federation would give the clubs the opportunity to open their doors to a more varied public and to amplify the dynamism of the proposed actions.
The FFT does it in a certain way, but without any real strategy. Consequence: we see many tennis clubs putting 1 or 2 padel courts. Sometimes these tennis clubs are located in the same geographical area… and in the same area as private centers. This necessarily creates instability
When will the recognition of a state diploma specific to padel? allowing coaches from tennis or not to teach the specificities of this discipline?
Almost every week I get calls about the training of coaches in Spain. There are many who wish to be able to embark on the adventure of teaching padel and hope that I tell them that our training is recognized in France.
Unless you are a tennis coach, according to French law, it is therefore not possible to teach padel on your territory.
But be patient, normally at the start of next year, the FFT should offer us a specific padel graduate. Hopefully, it can offer specialized structures the opportunity to deliver this training as well.
Can we hope to see development advisers (CEDs) able to guide clubs in a relevant way? in the construction of padel courts and the choice of suitable material?
Here too, the FFT does it here and there. But I think she could be even more involved.
We owe a lot to the private market
Fortunately for several years the private market has become aware of the future of padel in France, both in the construction of structures and in the organization of competition circuits ...
When we take stock of the actions carried out by the FFT concerning padel, the question is: are we really investing where we need to invest?
The FFT must assert itself much better.
I sometimes hear people criticize the FFT very harshly and others preach the good word of the FFT. Intervening daily in padel and tennis, even if I am abroad, my hope is to see the FFT take its place fully in our sport and become a true specialist.
And for the padel lover that I am, it is inevitably a little frustrating to see so much energy, so much financial investment from the FFT for… that. In my opinion, we can do much better with much less given the shoulders of the FFT.
And it starts by taking advantage of media windows to COMMUNICATE. And at Roland Garros, she did not or too little. Fingers crossed for 2021.
Isabelle VANNIER BE 2 tennis teacher and padel having lived in the USA, and expatriated in Spain for more than 10 years, organizes sports and language courses in Barcelona, through its OuiSportSpirit structure - www.ossbarcelone.com and more particularly in the world of padel and tennis through the OSSTP department - www.padelbarcelone.com. We look forward to welcoming you soon!