“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Stella Carter .

Over the holidays my family and I were invited to play Padel for a friend’s birthday. I had been wanting to give it a try for some time, but never actually got around to booking a court. My bestie has become the local Padel ambassador within our group, and has been encouraging me to give it a go, so when this invitation presented itself, I was beyond keen!

For those of you who don’t know…. Why don’t you know? Where have you been? Anyway, let me enlighten you….Padel, pronounced “Paddle” (however, for those of us who like to throw an accent on things….it’s Padel, like Nadal), is a Mexican racquet sport typically played in doubles on an enclosed court slightly smaller than a doubles tennis court. Scoring is the same as normal tennis, and the balls used are similar but with a little less pressure. The main differences are that the court has walls and the balls can be played off them in a similar way as squash, using a solid, stringless bat. The height of the ball being served must be at or below the waist level.

Basically, if tennis and squash had a baby, they would call it Padel!

So off we went, to the courts, not really knowing what we were in for, but dead keen to try out a new sport and have some fun with friends.

What we quickly discovered, and possibly the reason for Padel’s overwhelming success worldwide, is it’s an incredibly easy game/sport to pick up. You don’t have to know how to play either tennis or squash to be able to play Padel, and you don’t have to be at a particular fitness level to play, and be good. Literally, after a few warm-up rounds, we were all familiar with the game, the rules and ready to play. And what a blast it was! The game definitely felt faster than tennis, and a lot more fun. The serves are underhand, so anyone can deliver a successful serve. I personally preferred playing in doubles, it was fun, slightly competitive and hilarious to watch, and attempt, to play off the walls.

For anyone on the fence about giving Padel a go, I highly recommend it. The game can be as “easy”  or intense as you want it to be and, once you get the hang of it, there is a certain level of pleasure that comes out of smashing that ball over the net to your opponent. Not only is the game pretty simple to play, but so is booking a court. Most Padel courts worldwide use an app called Playtomic. You download the app, find a court in your country/area and book a slot – simple. Court rentals are between R300 – R600 p/h (depending on if you want a single or double court) and racquet rentals are around R60 each.

Do yourself a favour, get a group of friends together and go give Padel a go – you won’t regret it.