Department of Sport Sciences, Malmö University
What must be considered a veritable padel fever is keeping large parts of Europe, especially Sweden, in a firm grip as the padel sport has become very popular in a short period of time. Sweden is probably, next to Spain, the nation that has the largest number of courts per capita.
In this essay, Johan Carlsson, a PhD student in sport sciences at Malmö University, discusses from different perspectives this growth of padel. How and why has Sweden embraced padel this last decade? To answer this question, padel needs to be understood as a historical and cultural phenomenon in relation to other sports and to society in general The overall aim is to shed light on existing knowledge and discourses and develop an extended understanding for this “fever”.
The essay has three different sections: 1) a historic development of padel around the world and in Sweden; 2) psychological and sociological perspectives that can explain the growth of the sport; 3) a discussion as to why Sweden leads the second wave of padel. For this last question, an interaction between a noticeable Swedish entrepreneurship and a special Swedish indoor training culture is discussed as an answer, together with the Covid-19 pandemic. In terms of method, different types of documents have been used as sources: newspaper and research articles, reports, books, and web pages. In addition, the purpose of this article is to inspire more research on padel by highlighting multiple scientific perspectives.
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