It’s hard to miss the pickleball craze that has swept the country in the last few years. Nearly everywhere you look, courts have popped up in parks, schoolyards, driveways, and other open spaces. CityPickle took over Wollman Rink in New York City’s Central Park this summer with 14 courts.
But a few weeks ago I was strolling along the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and I saw four packed padel courts in Domino Park at a place called Padel Haus. While pickleball may be the fastest growing sport in America with over 36 million participants (Association of Pickleball Professionals), padel is actually the fastest growing sport in the world with over 25 million players (International Federation of Padel).
Padel is like a hybrid of tennis and squash. The sport originated in 1969 in Acapulco, Mexico. Like pickleball, it is played with a paddle, but one that is thicker, perforated, and with a slightly different shape. Unlike pickleball, the ball is not plastic, but a tennis ball. The court is bigger, roughly half the size of a tennis court, and enclosed with glass walls. What makes the sport really fun is you can play the ball off the back wall, adding a new and challenging element to the game. Like pickleball, padel is quick and easy to learn, making it as fun and addictive of a sport to play. Read More