Before you begin playing Padel or any game for that matter, the one thing you should know about is the rules of the game. Thankfully, the rules of Padel are quite simple and easy to memorize. Here's a quick glance and all the rules and guidelines you should keep in mind while playing Padel.
About Padel Sport
Padel is one of the world’s fastest growing sports. It’s easy to learn and fun to play. It is, for example, Spain’s second largest sport after football. The rules were set in the early 70’s and in 1991 the International Padel Federation was formed. Since 1992, world championships have been held. Padel is played on a 10 × 20 meter large court with a net in the middle, just like in tennis but smaller. Unlike tennis, you use the walls like squash.
Smaller Than Tennis
Beginner To Pro
The padel tennis court is smaller (44 feet long and 20 feet wide with a playing area of 60 feet by 30 feet) than a typical tennis court surrounded by a tightly strung wired fence (12 feet high) which comes into play after the ball bounces off the court.
Padel Tennis Ball
A tennis ball must have a diameter of between 6.54cm and 6.86cm. The diameter of a padel ball needs to be between 6.35cm and 6.77cm.
Padel rackets generally weigh between 330 and 385 g. A lighter racket is easier to use and gives you more control of your strokes.
How to Play Padel
To a large extent, the rules of padel are the same as in tennis, except that in padel, you serve by bouncing the ball on the ground and below hip height. In addition, special rules apply with regards to the walls. A padel match is most often the best of three or five sets, with a set being the first side to win six games. In padel, you score points if
The ball bounces on the ground twice on the opponent’s side
The opponent hits the ball into the net
The opponent hits the ball outside the play area, i.e. outside of the cage or against one of your walls.
The scoring structure of padel is similar to that of tennis. A padel match is often concluded based on the best of three or five sets, with each set having six games. Following are the ways players can score in the game of padel:
The ball bounces twice on the opponent’s side of the court
Your opponent hits the ball on the net
The opponent strikes the ball outside the play area
Your opponent hits the ball into their own grid
If an opponent is striked by a ball
Padel rules are structured into 17 broad terms. Of these terms, the 6 basic rules which all players must know include the following:
Positioning of players
Choice of ends and serve
Change of sides
Padel wall rules
Below is a detailed breakdown of the six primary components of padel tennis rules.
Scoring – How to score in the game of padel?
Padel is based on “games” and “sets”. A set consists of 6 games; the first team to win 6 games, unless both teams get to 5-5 (which will lead to a tie-break) then they have to win with a lead of 2 games i.e., 7-5, 9-7 etc. Each game point is the first to win 4 balls, unless it becomes a deuce and you play best of 3 or 5 sets. The number of sets are to be decided and agreed upon beforehand. In a single set of padel, the scores are allotted in the following manner:
If a pair wins the first point, it is called out as “15”
On attaining a second point, the score is called out as “30”
When the third consecutive point is scored it is called out as “40”
The fourth game point is called out as “game”
The above scoring scenario is based on a single pair consecutively scoring points in a set. If each pair has three points to their name, the round will be called out as “deuce”. Following this, whichever pair scores a point it will be called out as an “advantage”. If the same pair scores again, then that pair wins the first set. Therefore, if one pair wins two consecutive games after deuce, that pair wins the set.
A pair/team that wins the first 6 games, with an advantage of 2 will win the set. In case of a draw at 5, the players must play two more games to bring the score to a 7-5 situation. In which case, the team that scored 7 wins. On the other hand, if the game comes to a tie at 6, the game will progress to what’s known as the “tie-break” or “sudden death.”
What is “tie-break” or sudden death?
A tie-break round comes in as the name suggests during a tie at 6 rounds. The points scored during tie-break are called out as “zero”, “1”, “2”, “3” etc. As per the padel rules, a tie-break round is won when one team has a two-point advantage and a total of 7 points. (this is similar to the 15, 30, and 40 call outs during a set).
The game of padel is decided based on the best of three or five sets. In case of three sets, two out of three sets need to be won by a pair in order to secure the win. When it comes to a situation where each pair has secured one set each, the rule states that the third set will be played without a tie-break round. Therefore, if a tie occurs at game 6, then the pair who gained a difference of two games wins the set.
Padel rules stipulate that the match should be continuous, i.e., from the moment the play begins (first serve) till it finishes. A padel session is never to be delayed or suspended to let players recuperate or receive instructions from their coaches. Here are a few other time slots allowed for players during the match:
A 5 minute obligatory warm-up is allowed between players.
Players are allowed a total of 20 seconds between points
A maximum of 90 seconds will be granted for changing sides. After the first game of each set and during a tie-break round, players are required to change ends without a rest period.
At the end of each set, a total resting period of 120 seconds is allowed
Any changes in the timings during the match will be announced by the umpires.
Position of the players
Players of each pair are positioned on either side of the net. The serving player serves the ball diagonally to the receiver on the other side of the court. Players of the receiving team can be positioned on any part of their side of the court, as can the server’s partner on the serving side of the court.
Choice of ends and serve
The rules of padel stipulate that the choice of who serves first and receives is to be determined by a coin flip. The toss-winning pair has a choice to choose between the following aspects:
Which pair will serve and receive first. In which case, the opponent team gets to choose the side
Which side of the court they would like to play. In this case, the opponent teams get to decide whether they would like to serve or receive.
The toss-winning pair can also request the opponent to choose first
Once the pairs have decided who will serve first and the sides of the court, they must inform the game umpire about the same.
Changes of sides
Padel players are required to change sides after every subsequent odd game in the set, i.e. after 1st, 3rd, and 5th, and so on. In the tie-break round, players will have to change sides after every 6 points.
In case of errors caused by players with regards to change of sides, the teams must switch sides as soon as such a mistake is discovered. Points that were scored before the error was known are still counted and are valid.
These are the five basic rules to play padel. To know more in detail about all the rules of padel, please refer to padel rule book.
Padel wall rules
In the sport of padel, walls are a part of the playing area. Before hitting the wall, the ball must first bounce on the court (playing field). If the ball hits the wall before bouncing on the playing field. After the first bounce on the court, the ball may hit the wall once or more before it is hit across the net.
When a player serves, the ball must bounce on the serve box of the opponent player and can hit the wall but not the fence. If the ball hits the fence, the serve is considered in-valid and the server is allowed another chance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who begins serving in a “tie-break”?
The player who begins the serve at the start of the set will be allowed to serve in a tie-break. However, there is an exception to this rule which is stipulated in the padel rulebook Rule 6 Section J - ‘In case of an error, if a player serves out of turn, the player who was supposed to serve must do so as soon as the error is discovered.’
Can you hit the back wall in padel?
If during a serve the ball bounces in the serve box and hits the back or side wall, the serve is valid and must be played by the opponent player.
In the game of padel, how much time is allowed between the first and second serve?
The rules of the game state that the game is supposed to continue from the beginning of the first serve till it ends; hence no resting time is allowed between the first and second serve.
What is the maximum height to maintain while serving in padel?
In the game of padel, the server must ensure that the ball is played below the waist. Heights above it will be considered as invalid serve.
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