As with any other sport, choosing suitable clothing is the prerogative to play paddle. Find out in the following article all you need to start playing padel tennis.
– Joshua Leone
Speaking of a discipline that forces the athlete to move a lot, the most important garment for playing paddle is undoubtedly the footwear.
The shoes dedicated exclusively to this sport, thanks to a particular type of sole, allow greater grip and allow faster changes of direction. Moreover, thanks to their particular conformation, the ankle, extremely stressed during the game, is blocked and well protected, minimizing the possibility of distortions and injuries.
Why is it important to use shoes suitable for paddle tennis?
The choice of a shoe suitable for paddle is at least as important as that of the racket, for two reasons: first they prevent injuries, protecting the most sensitive parts of the foot and secondly they allow better movements, making it much easier and comfortable to chase the ball.
What qualities should a good pair of padel shoes have?
First of all the shoe must be comfortable and must allow the player to carry out all the movements required by this sport. Therefore, the soles must adhere well to the carpet, slip when necessary and help the sudden changes in direction. Finally, it is important that the shoes are able to prevent injuries, are durable and are also beautiful to look at.
What peculiarities distinguish paddle shoes?
Paddle shoes usually have a gel sole to ensure high cushioning and less strain on the knees; the midsole and inner sole are also made of materials with cushioning and maximum comfort.
Each sole, then in the underlying part has various reasons, which allow players to change direction more quickly and comfortably. The high-end shoes are also equipped with a forefoot protection.
Padel shoes and motifs on the sole.
The motif on the sole must be deep enough to ensure players don’t slip when they start playing on an artificial turf field. There are 3 types of sole: Omni, plug or mixed.
Omni motif, plug or mixed? The choice of the right paddle shoes will affect both performance and physical level, reducing any joint pain.
The tennis shoes are hardly adaptable for the padel. Using them could have repercussions on the integrity of the lower joints and tendons, not to mention that using a pair of shoes designed specifically for the padel has a profound effect on the yield in the field.
Differences between tennis shoes and padel shoes
Compared to tennis, in the padel not only the surfaces change but also the movements that the players perform within the field.
The tennis shoes have in common with padel shoes some technical features regarding the upper and the inner part. The main difference instead is in the soles, designed in consideration of the different playing fields. The displacements on the padel field with respect to the beaten earth, the cement or the resin of a tennis court are very different: in the padel we move vertically and obliquely, very few times horizontally as in tennis.
There are three types of soles:
Omni sole: its design facilitates adherence to the playing field, facilitating rapid and short movements. However, it does not allow slipping.
Plug sole: it has a high resistance to abrasion and ensures excellent adhesion on the synthetic carpet; it has a good durability and allows impeccable sliding on the field.
Mixed sole: the design combines the Omni sole, as regards the internal front part which guarantees a good grip on the playing field and the plug which ensures excellent sliding on the field.
The ideal shoe must be rather soft and must be equipped with reinforcements, both laterally and anteriorly, so as to provide the foot with adequate protection.
It must also be verified that the posterior area of the shoe adequately protects the calcaneal tendon because the Achilles tendinopathy is one of the most frequent problems in this sport.
But how long do padel shoes last?
Generally after 130-160 hours of play it is advisable to replace them.
Shorts and leg warmers
Beyond the shoes, the rest of the technical material used affects the comfort rather than the performances provided.
Always try to use shorts with pockets so you don’t have to waste time looking for the ball before a beat. In addition, for beginners and those who are not well trained, it is advisable to wear leg warmers: despite the decrease in comfort, in fact, this particularly close-fitting garment allows the quadriceps and the triceps to enter temperature as quickly as possible, preventing joint pain .
As for the t-shirt, it is always advisable to use short sleeves compared to long ones.
In fact, the arm must be able to move freely.
Remember though that during Federation tournaments sleeveless garments are not allowed and in pairs it is mandatory to wear clothes of the same color, under penalty of exclusion from the competition.
In addition to the shorts, there are also elasticated jerseys on the market that speed up muscle warming and also support the back, limiting back pain.
Accessories are the last essential element to be better prepared for a game. A hat with visor certainly helps on particularly sunny days.
Anti-sweat cuffs and bands are also of great help, so as to avoid distractions due to sweating.
How to choose a Padel racket?
It is important to know the substantial differences that distinguish padel rackets on the market.
You must know that each of them has a specific weight, a well-defined shape and a material that makes them different.
The shape of padel rackets
A first useful factor to distinguish the three types of padel rackets is the shape.
Paddle racket type
This type is the most recommended for beginners, because having a balance close to the handle, it allows a better grip and greater control in the shots.
A defect of this type is the reduction of the available lever and consequently the reduction of the ball stroke speed. It is a type of racket that is mainly recommended for beginners because it is easier to maneuver. However, this does not mean that high level players do not choose the rackets of this module and that players who compete at high levels do not use it in the game.
Bilanciamento = Balancing
The drop shape or better defined Tear Drop, allows to have an excellent relationship between power and control. This racket is ideal for intermediate players, the balancing is higher than the round shape, but lower than the diamond shape.
Bilanciamento = Balancing
The diamond shape is a padel racket ideal for those with a great experience or for those who are good enough to know how to control it. The peculiarity of this racket is the strong power in ball shots that it can guarantee, thanks to the balance shifted upwards. On the other hand, the control is really arduous and the handling is slightly reduced especially near the net; for this reason it would be better if it was used by professionals.
Bilanciamento = Balancing
Rotonda: Round Shape – Goccia: Drop Shape – Diamante: Diamond Shape – Bilanciamento: Balancing
The balance of the paddle racket measures the point where its center of gravity is located. It is measured by the distance between the bottom of the handle and the balance point:
If the equilibrium point is lower it is said that the racket has a low balance. The balanced racquets in this mode are characterized by excellent control in the ball strokes.
If the equilibrium point is in the middle of the racket, it is said to be balanced “on par”. The rackets balanced in this way are characterized by an excellent balance between power and control.
If the equilibrium point is higher, it is said that the racket has a high balance. These rackets give off enormous power in shooting, but they are very difficult to control, especially for amateurs.
How to choose a padel racket based on weight?
The frame usually ranges from a minimum of 350 grams to 390 grams.
Remember that the advantages and disadvantages due to the various racket balancing described above do not change based on the weight of the racket, so a 370g heavy racket with low balance will still allow you to have more control than a 360g racket with high balance.
The choice of the racket based on the most suitable weight varies according to your physical constitution, on the basis of which you can determine which racket to use. However, remember that choosing a racket that is too light or with a material that is not capable of absorbing vibrations well could cause epicondylitis. Choosing a racket that is too heavy could cause injury to the elbow, wrist or shoulder.
What is the ideal weight of a padel racket?
For a man the ideal weight of the racket is between 370 g and 385 g;
For a woman the ideal weight of the racket instead varies between 355 g and 370 g.
The weights indicated above are only indicative, the weight of the paddle racket should be adapted to the player himself based on his physical and playing characteristics.
In principle, the greater the level of play and the physical constitution of the player, the greater the weight of the racket. Theoretically however, for an amateur, it would be ideal to start with a lighter weight, in this way the racket will be more manageable and suitable. Once you have begun to have full control over the various shots and have increased your playing level, you can instead gradually increase the weight of the paddle racket, up to the ideal weight.
Use a racket that is too light
- It will have a shorter duration, and it will be much easier to break it.
- The ball will reach a lower speed after the impact with the racket.
- The weight of the ball will be supported more by the arm and this could therefore lead to an overload in the tendons and joints.
Use a racket that is too heavy
- Shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries are easier.
- Less speed in handling it and less speed and reflections near the net.
- The ball will reach a higher speed after impact with the racket.
As we have seen, there are many pros and cons indicated depending on the weight of the racket and therefore it is very important to be able to choose the one that best suits us.
Grip and Overgrip on the handle
The grip is the area where the player holds the racket. Being therefore the part of the racket more in direct contact with the player, it is very important to guarantee him the due attention.
First of all it is advisable to change the grip or overgrip regularly to get the maximum grip on the handle during the execution of the shots. It is normally done by adding or removing the overgrips on the handle. However, this involves changing the balance of the whole paddle racket, thus also influencing its handling. Adding grip to the handle, the balance of the racket will decrease and add weight to the lower part of the racket, while removing grip from the handle will increase the weight at the top.
Face or plate
One last factor to consider, but not to ignore, is the profile of the padel racket. It is defined as a face or plate, it is composed of two symmetrical surfaces that are found on the two sides of the racket. The face varies depending on the type and shape of the racket, and is important as it provides a different management in the execution of the strokes.
Usually the profile can be smooth or rough, provided two different effects to the ball, while the material used is distinguished in fiberglass or carbon.
Materials that make up a padel racket
The materials that make up a paddle racket define its hardness and strength. The combination between the center of the racket and the different layers of material that surround it, also vary according to the type of composition.
The fiberglass allows a greater acceleration of the outgoing ball than the carbon, because the material is less rigid and the good flexibility allows to change its shape with the impact of the ball.
The glass frame being less rigid, allows the racket to be more malleable and cushion the blow differently.
Carbon allows the racquet to be more durable and last longer. Furthermore, carbon is a very light material.
The composition of a racket
Unlike tennis in which we talk about ropes, the core of a padel racket is rubber. It is the main material that guarantees greater control or more power to the racket.
This rubber can be composed of different materials, but the most used in the manufacture of rackets are FOAM and EVA rubber. These two types of rubber can be distinguished according to their appearance: the EVA rubber is completely smooth while the FOAM has small bubbles:
- FOAM (expanded polyurethane): very soft material, thanks to the greater air present inside its compound, makes the racket more flexible. It is characterized by an excellent feeling with the shot, a greater output of the ball at low speed and a longer contact time with the ball, helping its control. With the FOAM we need less force to make the ball go fast, the guaranteed duration is less and the detail has more difficulty.
- EVA: material that is characterized by a longer life and resistance and a good anti-vibration capacity. It can be divided into soft rubber and hard rubber. The soft EVA rubber rackets make the shot feel better, also thanks to the longer contact time between the ball and the surface of the racket. Hitting the ball at low power makes its output speed will be high, while hitting it at high power makes a slower ball coming out. Heavy EVA rubber racquets behave very well at high ball speeds, therefore in power and speed strokes. It is mostly used in summer at higher temperatures and with faster balls. The ball stays less time in contact with the racket thus generating more bounce, thus managing to give more power to the shot. For a beginner a lighter tire is recommended and consequently have more control over the ball.
The paddle ball is a rubber ball, in white or yellow.
The diameter must measure between 6.35 and 6.77 cm, while the weight between 56 and 59.4 grams. The rebound capacity must be between 135 and 145 cm on a hard surface.
The ball must also have an internal pressure between 4.6 kg and 5.2 kg for each 2.54 cm square.
When playing at more than 500 meters above sea level you can use balls with a bounce power between 121.92 cm and 135 cm.
Compared to tennis balls, the paddle balls have 0.06 less atmospheric pressure. This allows for a slower game with more chances to control the ball.
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