THE launch of Game4Padel’s Edinburgh Park venue on Monday, October 24th, is a watershed moment for our company and something of the realisation of a dream for co-founder Vincent Hivert.
A long-term resident of Scotland’s capital city, Vincent is a Frenchman with what you might call a ‘Cannes do’ mentality, originating as he does from the famous resort town on the French Riviera.
Vincent is our Growth & Participation Director – while wearing many hats within the company, from marketing and social media to customer relations and building club coaching programmes, his most important role is to raise awareness of padel and get people on the padel court.
Now with Edinburgh Park’s launch week looming large we thought it would be great to catch up with Vincent and find out just what we can expect at what will be our ninth UK venue. Uniquely, Edinburgh Park is our first stand-alone venue – not linked to an existing tennis or sports club, and located in the heart of one of Edinburgh’s newest and most vibrant developments.
Without further ado it’s time to let Vincent do the talking: “All our venues have been exciting to open but with Edinburgh Park being so close to home this launch definitely feels extra exciting.
“Edinburgh Park will be our third venue in Edinburgh (after Thistle Padel Club and Barnton Park LTC). It is imagined to be a place to Live. Work. Play. with homes, businesses and facilities set within a landscaped ‘park’ of social spaces and sculpture – a new community with excellent tram and train links to the city.
“Some 1,800 homes are planned in the next phase of development, but for now the courts are right in the middle of a business park which offers a new challenge in marketing to different people and not only to tennis players – but this also gives us the chance to prove that padel is for everyone.
“That means we have a chance to attract people who have played football or other sports and perhaps even some who have no sporting background. Geographically Edinburgh Park also offers better access to people from Fife and perhaps those in the central belt who are less than 40-minutes from the venue.
“Parabola has designed Edinburgh Park so that sport can be incorporated easily into daily life in terms of people coming from university, school, or work and this is why we are looking forward to this opening so much.”
“Parabola has already built a MUGA (multi-use games area) which Game4Padel will also operate, with options for tennis, 5 aside football, basketball 3x3 and netball.
Turning his attention to the big difference between Edinburgh Park and our other padel venues which complement existing sporting institutions, Vincent explained: “The big difference here is that Parabola didn’t approach us for investment, they came to us for the expertise to run a padel club.
“A lot of tennis clubs think it’s easy because padel is similar to tennis but it is actually quite different in terms of operations as the player pathway is so different to tennis.
“In 30-minutes you can play padel whereas in tennis you maybe need six months to become comfortable and this is one area where our expertise is key, as there is that essential difference.
“The courts at Edinburgh Park are operated remotely with electronic gate access and floodlight activation. When players book online, they get a code to access the court. No staff need to be on site, though the coach will often be there.
“But for me personally, as a Frenchman from Cannes, the real attraction of Edinburgh Park is that we have Patina Café & Artisan Bakery nearby! It is very appealing to enjoy a pastry and coffee after a game.”
With a jam-packed launch week which will feature big names from the sporting world such as former British No.1 tennis player Annabel Croft, who is also a Game4Padel investor, as well as stars from both sides of Edinburgh’s great footballing divide plus introductory coaching sessions for both schools and businesses, Vincent is preparing to slip through the gears into overdrive.
A qualified padel coach who is on the LTA Padel Tutor pathway and who helped deliver the new LTA Padel Instructor course in Scotland in September, Vincent will be very much at the forefront of on-court activity in launch week.
He revealed: “Monday 24th October is our Media Day – Annabel Croft and Colin Fleming (Former GB Davis Cup star) will officially open our courts in the morning and in the afternoon Ryan Porteous from Hibs FC and Craig Halkett from Hearts FC will be introduced to the game of padel and do some social media for us.
“Throughout launch week, for seven days, from October 24 to October 30 we will run free introductory sessions and school sessions.
“We have sent invitations to all the businesses at Edinburgh Park to book ‘Introduction to Padel’ sessions either with me or our coach Alejandro De La Caba who returns from paternity leave that week which is very brave of him!
“On top of this we will also be emailing sports clubs and tennis clubs nearby offering open classes on the MATCHi booking system starting at 7am in the morning as we want to catch people before they go to work and then at lunchtime, and we will also be running evening sessions. Some sessions will be private – booked by businesses and others will be open.
“At the weekend we will be running exhibitions and Americano tournaments where after each round you change your partner. These are great fun and are more for existing players. We have invited players from our other Edinburgh venues to come and try out the new courts. It is just a good opportunity to have fun. And we also plan to have racket demo sessions with our sales manager Ali Gordon.”
For any further information on the launch of Edinburgh Park please contact email@example.com.