In the world of racket sports, two contenders have been making a lot of noise – Padel Tennis and Pickleball. While both sports are relatively new to the UK, they are growing at a rapid rate, attracting enthusiasts from all over. If you’re looking to explore the distinctions between these two sports, this is the article for you.
A Glimpse into Pickleball
The name “Pickleball” might make you laugh but it’s a sport taken seriously, especially in the USA and Canada, with a growing following worldwide. Originating in the 1960s, Pickleball has evolved into a regulated sport championed by the USA Pickleball Association. This sport boasts the following key characteristics:
Court Dimensions: Pickleball is played on a badminton size court, making it versatile for indoor or outdoor play.
Net: It employs a mid-height net – 36 inches tall at the posts, and 34 inches at the middle.
Equipment: Players use a solid Pickleball paddle and a perforated ball.
Gameplay: Matches can be singles or doubles and are typically played to 11 points.
A Closer Look at Padel Tennis
Padel Tennis, on the other hand, has a simpler name, although its correct spelling can be confusing. Padel, shortened from Padel Tennis, owes its name to its Mexican origins and boasts a massive fan base across the world. This sport, particularly popular in Europe, has been making inroads into the UK. Here are its distinct features:
Court: Padel is played in specially designed enclosed by 4 glass walls.
Versatility: Like Pickleball, Padel can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors.
Net: It employs a mid height net, the exact same as pickleball.
Gameplay: Padel is almost exclusively played as doubles, and it shares a match scoring with tennis (15, 30, 40).
Which Sport is Thriving Most in The Racket Sport World?
When comparing the popularity of these two sports, Padel Tennis emerges as a clear winner. The sport’s widespread appeal is intensified by its huge following in Europe, where it is second only to football in popularity.
The rapid growth of Padel Tennis can be attributed to several factors:
In the UK, there are 250 Padel courts in 2023, but this number pales in comparison to countries like Spain, France, Italy, Sweden, and Holland, where Padel has already established a stronghold with thousands of courts, and therefore, the growth potential in the UK is enormous.
Padel Tennis is not confined to Europe, it has spread its roots across 80+ countries worldwide. This global accessibility is a testament to its rapid expansion and universal appeal.
In 2022, Padel Tennis racket sales outperformed tennis rackets by more than double in Europe alone, with over 900,000 Padel rackets sold compared to just 400,000 tennis rackets. This staggering sales figure underscores Padel Tennis’s popularity.
Pickleball: The Challenger
While Pickleball is undoubtedly growing in popularity, it faces stiff competition from Padel Tennis, particularly across Europe. In the battle of growth rates, it seems that Padel Tennis is sprinting ahead.
In summary, both Padel Tennis and Pickleball are experiencing significant growth in the UK and worldwide. However, Padel Tennis seems to have a more substantial market share, with a larger number of courts, a broader global reach, and higher sales figures for its equipment. While Pickleball is undoubtedly making strides, the data suggests that Padel Tennis has firmly established itself and is experiencing more rapid growth. In the end, whether you choose to embrace Padel Tennis or Pickleball, one thing is clear – racket sports are evolving, and both these sports are at the forefront of the industry.