The paddle / racquet sport thread

Anyone here play pickleball or another racket/paddle sport?

I was blackmailed into playing pickleball with my mom about 18 months ago, and now am completely addicted. I joined a club and play a minimum of 3 days a week, usually more. I could wax on ad nauseum about its pleasure and benefits, but that would probably bore most of you.

I grew up playing tennis (mom and dad played into their 70s), racquetball, and handball, then began playing squash in Germany, which I continued when I moved back to the States. Squash is undoubtedly my favorite, but I don’t have the agility to cover the court like I did in my 30s. Although they look and are played completely differently, pickleball and squash are interesting in that they both are characterized as life-size chess. Much of the game is about moving your opponent to a disadvantageous postilion. In the case of pickleball, smashing the ball into your enemy, depriving them of a counter, is actually considered smart play. Sorry / not sorry is real.

How about you guys? Anyone surreptitiously relish smashing a plastic ball into your opponent’s thighs or enjoy another paddle or racket (racquet) sport regularly?


I used to love playing Squash. I have never been what you would describe as being athletic, but as you said, it’s a game of strategy, and the better you get at it, the less you have to run about (unlike your opponent :wink: ).


Lol, that reminds me of playing racquetball with my Dad in my teens so HE could get some exercise. What it ended up being was him standing flat footed in the middle of the court and me running all over the court to return the ball because everything I hit seemed to go back directly to him and he would just place his return on the other side of the court.


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Ha, my dad was a fighter pilot and showed his sons absolutely no mercy at anything we did, whether it was skeet shooting or a snowball fight. I remember getting pelted with snowballs and us all running. He hated to lose!

So the tennis club where I play pickleball 95% of the time is hosting a woman’s WTA tournament, The Credit One Charleston Open, over the next couple of weeks. This year, as part of build up for the tournament, the club constructed an outdoor padel (tennis) court, where some exhibition matches will be played.

Looks similar to this. The dimensions are 10 x 20 meters surrounded by a 4 meter high glass wall and fence.


After pickleball last Sunday, a couple of us went over to watch some padel being played. According to Wikipedia, padel originated in Acapulco, and is primarily popular in Spain, Sweden, and Portugal. In fact in those countries it is reportedly more popular than tennis. The game is described as a cross between tennis and squash and I would have to agree with that, other than the racquet is very much different in length and weight. Funny, the Wikipedia article on padel says that it is played with stringless bats. I’m down with some bat warfare :smile:

In comparison, our club’s padel court is supposedly the only one in South Carolina. Outside of tennis, pickleball rules in the US and Canada. I’ve read where over 30 million people have tried pickleball and there are something like 5.9 million active players. Padel boasts ~ 25 million, which surprised me. I hadn’t even heard of the game until it was played by some of the drivers in the runup to last year’s Miami Grand Prix.

What’s funny is to hear my fellow American club members refer to padel and pah-del, accenting the second syllable, like it’s some sort of exotic French activity. They are incredulous and feel compelled to correct me when I refer to the game as padel, sounding like paddle. Hey, I watch Spanish YouTube padel channels and feel like I know what it sounds like. Pass me a Stella Artois @Victork2, my UK homie.

Back to Sunday…after we watched a couple of sets to get a feel for the game, one pair of players had to leave. Thinking that it was game over, we stood to leave, but instead were invited to be their replacements. They split us newbs between the experienced pair and off we went.

One thing that I liked immediately was that the game was played on turf (artificial grass) with sand lightly sprinkled. It felt much easier on the knees that the concrete pickleball courts we frequent. It took some time to get comfortable with the racquet, which incidentally looks to me like something that should be called a paddle, and my partner and I managed to win the first set in a 6-6 tie breaker. Luckily, the scoring is similar to tennis. One less thing to wrap your head around while under tutelage.

I didn’t find the serve, ground strokes, or overheads particularly difficult at the level we were playing, but getting the ball off the wall, especially in the corners was a challenge. That surprised me having played a fair amount of squash as a young man, but the timing of the heavier, shorter, racquet had me looking like a cat chasing its tail a few times.

Most importantly, we found that it was huge fun and that we wanted more. I ordered a “bat” when I got home. Wife is going to kill me of course.


Not a fan of pickleball, I don’t like not having walls. Same reason I don’t like tennis. I really enjoy needing to be able to on the fly figure out the geometry of the balls path off the walls versus just cutting it off. I play a mean game of ping-pong though.

Squash, racquetball, handball, paddle ball, love them all. Only played proper squash once and had a blast, not common to find a court down here unfortunately. Instead we used to play an Americanized variant, which was racquetball with no kills basically. We put up a tape line to simulate the “metal” in squash. It was actually a really good way to teach ceiling play, corners, positioning, etc as you couldn’t just kill it. I haven’t found anyone to play paddle ball with in ages, but I enjoy as a change from racquet ball.

I’ll play 1 wall or 3 wall big blue handball, but real handball gotta be four wall and ceiling court. Big blue is slow enough I’ll handle no sides or back wall. With a real handball I need all the help I can get on keeping it in play. Nothing like taking that handball off the back wall at full speed and slinging it for a rollout kill. With just the gloves between you and ball, it’s a very visceral feeling of power and speed. Also a very visceral feeling when you misshit and your fingers feel near broken :rofl:

My dad was an extremely good racquetball player, and played at the major command level in the USAF back when racquetball was THE sport until you got to the general officer ranks (which then becomes golf). I could at least get him to move, but I had to play an entirely defensive game for that to happen (which when he could kill off any wall, anywhere on the court, forehand or backhand was pretty much a neccisity anyway).

Padel looks much more interesting than what I had seen of paddle tennis. Also the official “what is Padel” video by USPTA does pronounce it similar to “pa-del” versus paddle. I’d be willing to give that a shot, even with my general dislike of tennis style games.


I used to really enjoy Squash when I was in the RAF. All I have found over here in the States is Racquetball, which I haven’t played but I understand it is pretty similar.

The biggest is that you can return the ball to the entire front wall, there is no out line or tin. That makes some very unusual ceiling return shots available with no outline. Being able to strike the front wall as low as you want let’s you “kill” the ball. It strikes so low that the initial bounce on the floor is so low as to be unreturnable. A “roll out” kill is the best, where the ball hits the juncture of the wall and floor and has zero bounce, rolling on the court floor. Hard hit kill shots have a very specific sound to them as well which is neat to hear.

Can’t find a good audio clip off a hard hit, but here’s a quick clip with some good examples. First two are nice rollouts, thirds a kill as it has a little bounce.

Nice post jenrick. I got to play handball a couple of years when I was in the Army. I think that we played three wall and a distant memory of playing on a one wall court. Do I remember that correctly? For sure you had to be in extremely good condition just to get to the ball. And that your fingers swelled.

Good points on the rollout in racquetball. I had forgotten about those. Some other differences Paul are that a squash ball is smaller and has less bounce than a racquetball, and squash racquets are a bit longer. It hurts to take a well hit ball to the back of bare leg in either. Maybe a bit more in squash since the ball is smaller and focuses it’s kinetic energy on a smaller spot. A Canadian friend of mine walked around his backhand as I moved to get out of the way. He hit a forehand into the back of my leg that felt like I’d made the reqular crew in Yellowstone. I.E. branded :laughing:

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