“Padel workers” around the world: José Landeta
That the padel virus is spreading throughout the world is already a fact, and that it is thanks to professionals who are dedicated to teaching it as well. Therefore, we open this section where we want you to know a more and better the experiences of those who one day decided to leave everything in Spain to teach padel in other countries.
Today we are going to meet José Landeta, who after 6 years in London bringing the padel to people, packed his bags towards a new destination: Austria.
Hello José, tell us something about you. Where are you from, your age, where do you live now and what is your job in padel.
Hi! My full name is Jose Maria Landeta. I shortened it to Jose because outside Spain it’s too long. I’m 34 years old. I was born in Buenos Aires but raised in the south of Spain, in El Puerto de Santa Maria. I’ve been linked to padel all my life in one way or another. Although it wasn’t until my university years when I did it professionally. I never got to play the professional tour. I chose to study Law and to teach padel instead and the latter is what I still do. Inside the padel industry you have to do many things, but what I really enjoy is teaching.
When did you decide to go abroad to work in padel?
It was in January 2013. I was 28 years old and it was some kind of a miracle.
Why did you decide to leave from Spain to work in padel in London?
After university I specialised in Sport Law and padel was pushed to the background. I had a few work experiences, and in the middle of the economic crisis in Spain I got a call from a friend who was living in London. He told me they were looking for someone to run the padel activities in a big English leisure Company. The problem they had was finding someone with enough level of English and padel skills. At the time I didn’t have much competition for the position. I went to London, checked out the facilities, they told me the project, and had the interview all in one day. I didn’t even hesitate for a second. And a week later I was suddenly living and working in London.
Did you go to London with job or did you have to look for a job there?
Thank God I went abroad with a job. Honestly, if my friend wouldn’t have called me, I don’t think I would have been brave enough to do it. But it is also true that in 2012 I didn’t even know there were padel courts in London
How was your experience in U.K.?
My experience in the UK was very gratifying and a huge challenge at the same time. As the only person responsible for every padel activity in the club, where absolutely no one has ever Heard of the sport, your role becomes more of a sales position than anything else. During my 6 years in the club, every week I had to explain the very basics of the game. Also, very often I found people playing against the walls thinking it was kind of a squash court or a mini tennis court with walls so the balls wouldn’t go far. I had so many funny moments.
In the other hand, being a reference in your favourite sport in a city like London is such an honour. Also, the amount and variety of people that you get to know gives you a massive and different perspective of life that you couldn’t have if you have only lived in Spain. Quite an experience!
I have seen the growth of padel in the UK from the inside, which has been really slow, but thanks to the efforts and hard work of the people of British Padel, it is in its best moment so far. I only have good memories.
How do you see the padel in Austria and around the world?
I wouldn’t be discovering anything to you if I tell you that padel is growing at a really fast pace in the last few years. But it’s also true that some countries are doing things better than others. There is a big discussion now about the integration of the padel federations within the tennis ones, which helps the development of the sport in the short term. I’m not entirely sure that is the best solution for our sport in the long term for many reasons, but that is just my opinion. At the moment though, countries that did it are working out quite well, so let’s hope it keeps that way.
I’ve just landed in Austria and I start working in March in a new club in the outskirts of Vienna called Sprung Art. If I had to compare, I would say that padel in Austria is like padel in the UK a couple of years ago. The padel federation is not really doing what they have to do and its blocking a bit the development of the sport in the country. But slowly and with private investors, new courts keep popping up. With time, as in the rest of Europe, I am pretty sure that padel will have its particular “boom”. I have no doubt.
What are the complications you find of living in Austria and its lifestyle?
I left the UK for Austria only because my wife is Austrian and she couldn’t wait to come back. If not, I would definitely still be there.
Truly, the language is a problem. But not so big. German is the official language in Austria and, if you really want to adapt and integrate into the Austrian life, there’s no other option than learning it. And that is why I am studying it now. Intensive course in the morning and padel in the afternoons. Back to school!
But with English only you can survive. Everyone in the street, shops and restaurants can normally speak English with no problem at all.
Regarding the lifestyle, Vienna has a central European lifestyle. Meaning a very normal lifestyle for every non-Spanish European. In the end, I think we are the weird ones.
Jokes aside, Austria is a small, yet incredible country and Vienna is a spectacular city to live in. The most liveable city in the world according to some magazines, so I can’t complain.
The best and the worst of U.K. and Austria with padel
At the moment I can only speak about the UK because I don’t have enough experience working in Austria.
The best thing about my experience in the UK was the club I was working in. They have amazing indoor facilities where they trusted me and gave me absolute freedom to run the padel activities according to my methods. And obviously all the people I got to know because of padel. That is priceless!
The worst I’ve experienced in the UK was the lack of institutional support. Padel is not recognised as an official sport yet in the UK. Hence, entrepreneurs that want to start an adventure in the padel industry find so much troubles. But they’re still working so this doesn’t happen anymore.
You just launched a new project. Tell us about it!
Yes! Being still in London I organised a couple of trips to Menorca with some customers from my club to do some training, playing and exploring the island. The feedback was so good, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do it professionally and not only to Menorca but all around the world.
It is called Padel Escapes (www.padelescapes.com) and we organise padel holidays. I firmly believe in the mix between sports and tourism, and that is exactly what we offer to our customers. A unique experience with padel lessons, social mix-ins with local players, excursions, touristic activities, etc. All organised to give a personal and high-quality service so the customer doesn’t have to worry about anything. In every trip I go with the group, not only as the coach but also the trip coordinator.
It is something that foreigners have been doing for years with tennis and golf trips to Spain, but padel is yet to be done properly. But our idea is not only to provide this service to foreigners going to Spain, but also to the few millions of Spanish players that would like to experience their favourite sport abroad and challenge local players while discovering new destinations. The latter is something extraordinary, because not long ago it wasn’t so easy to find padel courts outside Spain. But now, even in the most remote destination you can probably find one. It’s amazing!
What would you tell someone who is thinking about leaving from Spain to work in padel abroad?
I would tell them to go for it, of course. The demand is growing and, with it, the opportunities. Also, nowadays, being Spanish is a plus. This might not last many years as there is people specialising in padel in other countries now, but it is the moment to make the most of it.
Said that, when padel is new in the country, you can’t expect to have the same demand on lessons and courts rental as in Spain. You have to work hard and be very patient. And obviously, at least English (or the official language of the country you go to) you must be fluent.
Will you come back to Spain?
To Spain? On holidays and when I retire. My professional career will be abroad for sure. First in England, now in Austria, and in the future wherever they need me. Getting to spread the word and develop my favourite sport around the world is the best thing ever. And that, unfortunately, I can’t do it in Spain.
From Work in Padel we wish you all the success wherever you go!