Tennis clubs that build only one padel court often find it is not enough
A regular discussion we have with clubs is about whether to build padel courts at their venue and many times the tennis clubs have 10+ courts of which usually at least 2 or 3 are surplus to requirements… So we asked one of our UK based coaches to share their thoughts on building one padel court. West Hants Club is a prominent tennis club which boasts excellent facilities as well as 4 different surfaces of tennis court. The club has 16 tennis courts (indoor and outdoor) and 1 padel court. Here is what the padel coach, Nick Macey, had to say:
“We have had 1 court since April 2018 – even when changing the session time from 90 mins to 60 mins, so 40 members could play a day than 32, there isn’t enough court time and a majority of the sessions during peak times have a waiting list.
We introduced rules like: can’t play twice in a row, can’t play more than 2 sessions a week. This put off a lot of players that wanted to try padel, considering we have 16 tennis court, so they never have to phone up at 7am to book a court in 7 days time.
Padel has grown from 100 players to 250 players out of over 600 active rackets members, this has raised the question why we only built 1 padel court. In order to improve the numbers, plus the standard, and to invite new members to join the club, padel needs a min of 2 if not 4 courts. Ideally at least 2 padel courts with a roof due to the climate in the UK, in order for it to stand a chance of succeeding and growing here!
Limits the type of padel sessions possible
We are only able to run 6 coach-led sessions over a week due to the demand, which is good, however not everyone has a partner or knows 3 others that could join in. Running organised club sessions means individuals get to meet others of there own standard and learn from the coach playing with them.
The other downside with 1 court – there isn’t enough space of a full time coach to run 1-1 session, match-play session – coach pairs, as this would take too many hours away from the club members. As such I can only coach 3 hrs a week privately – if a club wanted to invest in a padel court and employ a coach they would need to bare this in mind. Can they make a living or will they need to have another job? We are fortunate that myself and the other coach both have full time jobs, so we can accommodate some of the members who require coaching. Other downside, and for padel to grow, you need juniors involved, but currently its adults only unless the court is booked for a family of 4 (then the kids can play with their parents). This is a huge shame as we have hundreds of juniors whose parents don’t play any sport, but want their kids to play padel and we don’t have the space to accommodate them with 1 padel court. More padel courts means more programmes for all levels including juniors, beginners, match-play session, training sessions, drill session (multi ball feed) etc.
The padel courts costs are low and anything club coach related the membership doesn’t cover this, so the members pay on top, by now I would assume this has already paid for itself! If you are going to build padel courts – don’t build just 1 to try it – players would lose interest very quickly if they can’t get a court, as I can see a lot of the early players have given up and gone back to squash or tennis, as they cant be bothered with the limits plus calling up at the crack of dawn to get a court for 7 days time, when if they do the court is soaking or frozen…”