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Padel rules



New to the game and want to learn more about the rules of padel? Don't worry, we've got you covered.

Padel is played only as doubles on a specific padel court.

The court is divided into two service boxes either side of the net – like in tennis – but it’s surrounded by glass walls, a metal cage, and doors on either side.

Here is a breakdown of some fundamental padel rules that govern how the game unfolds:

Points are started by an underarm serve before the rally is live. Each shot must clear the net and bounce in the court before hitting the wall or cage, to be considered in. If it hits the wall or cage without bouncing, the shot is out, and your opponents win the point. Serves can bounce and hit the wall but if it hits the cage instead - the serve is out.

You're only allowed one bounce before you have to hit the ball. If it bounces twice on your side of the court, your opponents win the point.

According to the rules of padel, sometimes the shots (e.g. smashes) can bounce and then go out-of-bounds. You can use the doors to run outside and try and return the ball to keep the rally going.

How to score in padel

Scoring in padel is the same as tennis and is most commonly played as sets and games. To win one set, you have to win six games and be leading by two clear games.

Similarly, to clinch a game, you must win four points with a two-point advantage. Games are scored as:

  • 15 – one point
  • 30 – two points
  • 40 – three points

If the game goes to 40-40, this is called ‘deuce’. You will still need to win by two clear points – whoever wins the next point will have ‘advantage’ and will then need to claim the following point to seal the game. If you lose the advantage point, it’s back to deuce.


Padel service rules

To serve, stand behind the service line and hit the ball cross court into the opposite service box. The ball must bounce before you hit it and you must serve underarm.

If you land the ball in the service box and then it bounces and hits the cage first, this is out. If it hits the back wall, the point is live.

Players take it in turns to serve for a whole game.

Padel rules for the walls

You can use the walls to your advantage in two ways. You can either let the ball bounce and hit the wall before hitting it back, or you can hit the ball against the wall to try and land it on your opponents’ side of the court.

In a rally you can also aim your shots to bounce and hit the cage to create awkward rebounds for your opponents. However, serves can’t hit the cage and you can’t hit the ball against the cage on your side of the court.

Padel courts in Britain

Wondering where to find your nearest padel court? Use our interactive map to see what's nearby.

How to get started playing padel

From the basic rules to the equipment you’ll need, here’s the lowdown on all things padel.

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