Padel is not just for the pros, in fact, one of the best things about the sport is that anyone of any level and age can have a great time and even take part in competitions.
There are competitions being held all over the major cities in Spain, and now also internationally. In this article, I’ll mention the best ones I know of in Barcelona, and also some of the international ones.
Players of different levels look for different kinds of tournaments, so the first thing you should do is consider your level and experience in competitive padel. Click here to find out your padel skill level.
If you’ve just started playing and don’t know many people who play padel, I would suggest you don’t play any tournaments and start looking for Americanas. These are events where you have 20-40 people and you get to change partners every match, so you can go alone and get to meet many people. Some of them give prizes for winners but mostly they are just for getting to know people, having fun and gaining experience. If you’re single, this might also be a great place to meet a guy or girl who shares your padel passion 😉 Participation in Americanas is quite close to 50/50 in terms of male and female most of the time.
Once you’ve got several Americanas under your belt, have found one or two partners that gel well with you and are ready to take things to the next level, you should start looking at tournaments.
Not all tournaments are of the same quality, but there are a few leading ones that we can mention. Here are some of the things I look out for when selecting amateur padel tournaments:
- Clubs where they’re played
- Type of prizes
- Duration of matches
- Whether they have a ranking system
You want to find tournaments that are played in the top clubs that have great facilities. Not all padel courts are the same, and some, unfortunately, are really bad in terms of bounce uniformity, amount of sand and its distribution, as well as the quality of the glass walls and fence. Maintenance can be an issue as well, and I’ve seen nets that are not of regulatory height due to not being maintained at the right tension, just to mention one example.
Next, you want to look at prizes, especially if you think you have a good chance of winning. Many tournaments only give the prizes that their sponsors give them for free, and this typically means padel rackets and bags. Now, any player who has been playing for a while will already have bought a good racket and bag, so these prizes tend to be useless, and you’ll end up reselling them at a much lower value on sites like Wallapop the day after. So I very much prefer monetary prizes, although this is still quite rare in Spain at an amateur level. I have noted that it is much more common in other countries like Germany or Sweden, so hopefully, we’ll see more tournaments offer such prizes.
As for the duration of matches, many tournaments let you play 30-minute matches or matches up to 9 games, which for me isn’t enough to really get a feel for the match, analyze the opponent, and really impose your tactics and game. It becomes much more random, and when I’m paying money to enter a tournament, I want to have a fair chance of winning.
Finally, I prefer amateur tournaments that are formatted in a circuit fashion just like World Padel Tour. That means that in January they will announce all the dates for that year’s tournaments and the locations, so you can plan your attendance in as many of those tournaments as possible. In every tournament, depending on your performance, you will get a number of points, and those points will be used to generate the season’s rankings. You can then measure yourself over a whole season just like in the World Padel Tour.
Padel Tournaments in Barcelona
Most of my tournament experience thus far has been in Barcelona, so here are a few notes on the tournaments that I’ve participated in.
Catalunya – Barcelona Padel Tour
The most well-organized tournament in Barcelona is probably Barcelona Padel Tour. Founded by Eddie Jackson Tingström, they organize the Vueling Cup in which each tournament runs over the course of an entire week, and the Nacex Express Tour which are played over weekends.
You are guaranteed 2 matches once you register for a Vueling Cup tournament, and you play 3 sets in each match. If you lose the first match, the second match will be in the consolación category and that is played with a super tie-break format. After the first two sets, if there isn’t a winner, super tie-break will take place. This means that the first team that reaches 10 points, with a difference of 2 points, will be adjudicated the third set.
For the first match, new Bullpadel balls are used. This is important as balls degrade very rapidly in padel and tennis, so you want to have the best balls that have a good bounce.
You can win good prizes like padel bags, padel racquets and of course Spanish jamón.
They also have an online shop where you can buy lots of padel goods, except for racquets. As from 2017 they also have a brick-and-mortar shop in Barcelona that’s located within the Red Indoor club in Viladecans.
For the latest news check out the Barcelona Padel Tour Facebook page.
Catalunya – Publidep
Publidep organize the Circuito de padel Amateur Adeslas SegurCaixa, which includes 10 tournaments in Catalunya per year. There are more than 2,500 participants and it is widely considered as the best amateur padel circuit in the region. It’s the one that ex-Barcelona FC star and now padel player Carles Puyol chooses to participate in, and it’s definitely one of my own favorites.
Catalunya – Circuito Padel Adeslas
Publidep and Adeslas used to be one tour, but as from this year they are separate. I expect both to maintain their high standards, making them the two top tours in Barcelona and probably all over Catalunya.
I also expect Carles Puyol to continue his padel metamorphosis in this tour.
Catalunya – Open Padel Series
The OPS is a well organised tournament that is usually held at various clubs outside of the Barcelona city center, typically along the southern coast of Barcelona.
I like the fact that everything is managed through a modern app, and they have year long rankings that you can always refer to within the app.
International – International Padel by Madison
International Padel organize amateur padel tournaments all over the world, and are a great example of sports tourism within the padel niche. I’ve participated in several of their tournaments. They’re great to combine with a trip outside of your country, but the level tends to vary widely depending on the location of the tournament. Expect much higher levels in Spanish cities compared to other cities in countries where padel is still a very minor sport.
VisaVis Padel Tour – circuit that is played outside of Barcelona, a good option if you’re not from the city.
Padel Master Barcelona – organized in the Maresme area.
Of course, local padel clubs in Barcelona and surrounding areas also organize their own tournaments. Some of them are weekend tournaments while others are year-long tournaments or just one-week tournaments.
You could also join leagues spread over a few months such as Liga de Padel Barcelona (badly organised though) or Padelcat. Another growing league is the Series Nacionales de Padel which is played all over Spain.
Finally, ligasdepadelbarcelona.com is another good site for finding out about leagues in Barcelona and past results.
Have I missed out on any important amateur padel tournaments? Let me know and I’ll add them to this post.