The rules of Padel are similar to that of Tennis. The key difference is that it’s played on a smaller court surrounded by walls.
If you’re new to the game, it can be helpful to familiarise yourself with the rules before hitting the court.
Here’s a quick overview of the basic rules of padel:
Padel is a doubles racket game, played in pairs.
The scoring system in padel is the same as tennis.
- All play in padel starts with an underarm serve from the right service court, diagonally into the opponent’s court, similar to tennis.
- The server must allow the ball to bounce once before hitting it, and the contact must be made at or below waist level.
- During the serve, the server must keep at least one foot on the ground.
- The server’s feet are not allowed to touch or cross the service line while serving.
- Contact with the ball across the centre service line is permitted.
- The serve must land within the opponent’s service box.
- If the served ball bounces in the service box and then strikes the side or back wall, it is a valid serve, and the opposing player must play it.
- If the served ball hits the net, bounces in the service box, and then strikes the side or back wall, it is a let, and the serve must be replayed.
- If the served ball lands in the service box and hits the wire fencing, it is considered a fault.
- If the served ball hits the net, lands in the service box, and then hits the wire fencing, it is also considered a fault.
- Just like in tennis, a second serve is allowed in padel.
What’s Counts as In?
- The lines on the court are only considered in play during the initial serve; otherwise, they do not impact the outcome of each point in the game.
- All players are allowed to play the ball off any of the walls on their own side of the court.
What’s Counts as Out?
The opposition wins a point if:
- The ball bounces twice on any area on your side of the court.
- The ball strikes you or your teammate while in play.
- The ball hits the wire fencing, posts, or any other fixture before going over the net or landing on the opponent’s court.
- The ball hits the wire fence or walls before bouncing on the opponent’s side of the court.
Players are allowed to take the ball out of the air, except during the initial serve and the return of serve.
Court size and layout
Padel is played on a smaller court that measures 20 meters by 10 meters.
The court is surrounded by walls on all sides, and the ball can be played off of any of the walls, including the back wall.
A point is scored when the ball is hit into the opponent’s court and cannot be returned, or when the opponent commits a fault.
Padel is typically played to the best of three or five games, and the team that wins the most points in each game wins the game.
The ball must be served underhand and can be played off the walls at any time during the point.
The ball must be served from the right-hand side of the court, and the serve must be made from behind the baseline.
Players must stand within the designated serving boxes when serving, and must alternate serves every two points.
Check out our full guide on the padel serve.
Players and teams
Padel is typically played by two players on each side of the court, but it can also be played as doubles with four players.
Substitutions are allowed in non-competitive games of padel, and players may also take timeouts during a match.
Other rules of Padel
The rules of padel also include rules for specific situations that may arise during a match, such as foot faults, lets, and out calls.
They work the same way as tennis. It’s important to familiarise yourself with these rules to ensure that you’re playing fairly and following the proper guidelines.
There are also some ‘hidden rules’ to do with padel etiquettes such as not blocking opponents’ vision and distraction.
One final thing to cover is whether you can play padel singles.
Typically padel is a doubles game but that’s only for competitive games.
You can definitely play it singles for fun.
Overall, padel is a fun and exciting racket sport that is enjoyed by players of all skill levels. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned pro, there’s always room to improve and have a great time on the court.
View the best Padel rackets for 2023