Padel and tennis share quite a few similarities, which is logical as padel is derived from tennis. For example, the scoring system is the same, both sports have two halves separated by a net, and you play with rackets and balls. However, there are also crucial differences between the two sports that make them completely different games. But what are these differences between padel and tennis exactly? In this blog, we hope to give you a clear insight into the most important differences.
Playing Padel and Tennis
In terms of gameplay, there are several significant differences between the two sports. It starts with the serve, which is different in padel compared to tennis. In tennis, you serve by tossing the ball in the air and hitting it overhand into the service box. In padel, you must let the ball bounce first, and you can only hit it at waist level or lower. Unlike tennis, the padel serve must be executed underhand.
The most significant gameplay difference between tennis and padel is, of course, the glass walls and fencing. These are not present in tennis, so if the ball lands on your side of the court and you can't reach it, you lose the point. In padel, you still have the option to let the ball bounce off the glass walls and then hit it back over the net before it touches the ground.
Which Type of Racket to Use in Padel and Tennis?
The difference between padel rackets and tennis rackets is quite significant, both in appearance and gameplay. Tennis rackets are generally larger and have a strung surface, while padel rackets have a larger and rounder racket head. This design is influenced by the faster pace of padel due to the smaller court size. Moreover, padel rackets feature a solid surface with holes instead of strings found in tennis rackets. These differences in size, shape, and stringing make padel rackets more suitable for better control and maneuverability on the smaller padel court, while tennis rackets are built for power and performance on the larger tennis court.
Which Type of Ball to Use in Tennis and Padel?
With the naked eye, it's barely noticeable or no difference at all between tennis balls and padel balls. Many people think they are the same and that you can use tennis balls for both sports. Let's immediately debunk this assumption. There is indeed a difference between tennis and padel balls, and you will notice this while playing.
To begin with, a padel ball is smaller in size. A padel ball has a diameter between 6.35 and 6.77 centimeters. A tennis ball is slightly larger, with a diameter between 6.54 and 6.86 centimeters.
The most significant difference lies in how the balls are pressurized. Tennis balls have higher pressure, making them bounce higher and travel faster. A padel ball has lower pressure, resulting in a slightly slower ball. Padel balls are also always gas-filled, which makes them feel softer. Because padel balls are softer, you have more control as the contact between the ball and the racket lasts longer. This makes ball placement a bit easier. Gas-filled balls lose their hardness faster, so we recommend buying new balls when you notice they no longer bounce well. In summary, we can say that there is a definite difference between the two balls, and using the correct ball for each sport is essential for an optimal playing experience.
Which Type of Shoes to Wear in Padel and Tennis?
Just like with the balls, the visual differences between padel shoes and tennis shoes are hardly or barely noticeable to the naked eye. In terms of characteristics, the shoes also share many similarities, and in general, you can use tennis shoes for padel. However, if you're a passionate padel player and spend many hours on the court, it's advisable to get specialized padel shoes.
The importance of good grip and support is even more significant in padel than in tennis. The padel court is smaller, and the game is faster, requiring more rapid changes in direction over short distances. Therefore, padel shoes are generally more flexible than tennis shoes. This allows for better short accelerations and prevents ankle twists.
In addition, your feet have to absorb a lot of impact during padel, so good cushioning is crucial. The cushioning absorbs a significant part of the shocks that would otherwise affect your joints, reducing the risk of pain and injuries.
The grip of a padel shoe is also essential. The padel court can be a bit slippery due to the sand spread over it. To prevent slipping, the grooves in the sole of a padel shoe are usually deeper than those in a tennis shoe.
Which Is Harder: Padel or Tennis?
Despite padel seeming more complicated with the glass walls and fencing, it's not the case in practice. Padel is generally more accessible and easier for players of all levels. This is partly due to the smaller court size, requiring less ground to cover. As a result, you need to cover fewer meters, and good endurance and acceleration are slightly less critical. Additionally, the lower-pressure padel ball allows for more reaction time to hit the ball well. Another reason why padel is less challenging than tennis is the difference in size and weight of the rackets. Padel rackets are lighter and have a smaller overall size compared to tennis rackets. Therefore, a padel racket is more manageable, making you more agile and providing more control.
These are all factors that make many people perceive padel as a more accessible sport than tennis, but this is, of course, different for each person. To truly judge, you must play and experience it for yourself.
Try a Game of Padel?
Are you familiar with tennis but not with padel? Perhaps this blog has piqued your curiosity to try a game of padel. At The Padellers, you can participate in an introductory padel clinic for just 5 euros, where you'll learn the basics of padel. Maybe you'd like to explore this sport with your friends first. In that case, you can easily book a court. If you've become completely convinced of this fantastic game and want to learn the technique, tactics, and all the other fine details, you can do it all at The Padellers. Sign up here for trial lessons, group lessons, and individual or duo lessons.