Padel Tips: Become a Better Padel Player
PadelCrunch shares simple tips that will immediately make you a better padel player.
5 General Padel Tips
- You have more time than you think. Players tend to be stressed, especially when the ball bounces in the glass. Take your time.
- Always stay close to your teammate. Play like you have a rubber band between the two of you.
- Move your feet and always aim for a good position. While in an offensive position – stay close to the net. While in a defensive position – stay behind the service line.
- Lob your opponent on their backhand to avoid smashes.
- Quickly take the net after you hit the serve. Three or four steps will get you there. Don’t allow your opponent to hit a return that hits the ground in front of you.
How to Serve
The serve is the easiest shot to practice. Gather balls and practice accuracy and frequency in your serve. Release the ball from shoulder height in front of your left foot. Hit the ball in waist height and strikethrough.
Hit your serve close to the “T” in the middle of the court or wide close to the side glass so that you give your opponents a difficult shot. Hit the serve when the ball is at the highest point possible.
It can be a good idea to serve on your opponent’s backhand if it’s a weak spot.
Practice hitting two consistent serves. A common mistake by beginners is that they try hard to win the point by hitting a hard first serve, which often leads to several lousy second serves that make it easy for your opponents.
Serve Padel Tips
- Hit the serve with a bit of slice to keep it low.
- Quickly run to the net after the serve to get in a good, offensive position.
How to Volley
Hit the ball aggressive with backspin so that you get a low bounce, which makes it harder for your opponents.
The volley is divided into two parts: preparation and the strike.
Prepare yourself by putting your padel racket up visible straight to your opponents. Take a step forward and bring your bodyweight towards your forward leg and the ball. Hit the ball in front of your front leg.
Always assess the ball from your opponent. A fast ball gives you less time to hit your volley, in that case try a volley with less power. When your opponents ball is slow, hit a aggressive shot.
Volley Padel Tips
- Hit the ball in front of your front leg.
- Hit the ball with a lot of backspin for a low bounce.
How to Lob
The lob is in of the most crucial shots in padel. With a good lob, you will pressure your opponents back in the court so that you can take a good position by the net. Move forward on the court after hitting a good lob.
When hitting a lob, you start in your normal position and prepare just like for a forehand or backhand. Footwork is vital so that you put yourself in a good position. Drag your racket backward and stand in a stable position with your shoulders to the side of the court. The only difference by hitting a lob is that you bend lower down and hit the ball from the bottom and that you finish high so that your lob runs deep.
Lob Padel Tips
- Use the lob to change the tempo in a match. If the match is fast and you need to change things up – start hitting more lobs.
- Hit the ball right under it so that you can hit a high lob with high precision.
How to Smash
The smash is many players’ favorite shot, and also a shot that many players want to improve. Only hit a smash when you’re in a good position with balance. A rule of thumb is that you should only hit a smash or a volley if you can regain your position by the net after you hit the ball.
If you are close to the net when you hit a smash, use your full power, try to get the ball to bounce high off the back wall, and back into your side of the court. If you don’t think you can bring the ball back, or out of the park, then a smash might not be a good idea.
If you see your opponent winding up for a smash, you should start moving up to the net quickly, anticipating a high bounce from the back wall.
The power in a smash comes from your legs, torso, and the rotation of your hip, shoulder, elbow, and wrist. It’s a tricky move that requires practice. Gather power from your torso and start your movement with your back heavily bend.
Smash Padel Tips
- Stretch your arm all the way to hit the ball at its highest point.
- Hit the ball to the left of your body (if you’re right-handed) which give you the possibility to put a spin on the ball while you’re rotating your body.
If you are closer to the serving line when hitting the smash, it’s more effective to hit a slower under-spin shot called tray-smash or bandeja. Its purpose is to keep the pressure on your opponents and maintain your position at the net. This type of smash keeps the ball low after it bounces off the back wall. If instead, you go for power, the ball may come back high off the back wall to the area of the net and could be an easy put away for your opponents.
The Vibora is a powerful but riskier variation of the Bandeja. The name Vibora or “the snake” derives from the difficult to predict the snake-like trajectory the ball makes after it bounces off two walls.
The stroke preparation is behind the head, and the ball is contacted in front of you, between head and shoulder height, with an outward motion, inflicting heavy side-spin. The finish of the stroke is low, around the knee. Some players finish higher. The Bandeja motion is like throwing a ball, and the snake motion is like throwing a skipping stone on the water.
Try to get your opponents out of their natural positions. Consider a shot down the middle that takes the opponent away from his natural position near the corner. As he moves to the center, now he is out of position, be prepared to hit back into his corner. Now the player is out of balance, and you can close in at the net with the chance of winning the point by hitting a volley.
Play simple, and don’t try to end points when you are in a defensive position. While your opponents are at the net and you’re defending your goal is to stay in the point. Wait for your chance to hit a good deep lob so that you can move forward and take the position by the net.
One of the best shots while playing on defense is the low shot down the middle. It’s difficult to volley and also may create confusion as to which of the players will hit it. Playing the ball along the sides of your opponents is risky, and chances are your shot will end up in the side glass or fence.
When defending from the back of the court and your opponents are holding the net, try to hit on your opponent’s backhand. The backhand volley is more challenging to hit. When you have the chance, hit a lob, which may allow your team to transition between defense to offense.
How to Return a Serve
Hitting good returns is crucial. Try to hit the return low diagonally. Another option is to lob, which can also be useful.
Return a Serve Padel Tips
- Bring back your padel rack early so that you have more time for your stroke.
- Decide early on if you want to hit the ball before or after it hits the glass.
How to Hit a Great Backhand
The backhand is one of the basic shots in padel.
Backhand Padel Tips
- Move forward on the court while you’re hitting your backhand.
- Put your feet in a good position. Stand with your side to the net with your shoulders straight to the glass.
How to Make a Passing Shot
The passing shot is one of the riskiest shots in padel. Only try the passing shot when you are in a really good position.
Passing Shot Padel Tips
- If your opponent leaves a big gap between them it’s a good idea to hit the passing shot.
- The other reasonable opportunity to hit a passing shot is when the ball bounced up high in the back of your glass, and you can attack the ball with a lot of speed.
How to Defend Against a Smash
Players love to hit a great smash. The big question is: how do you defend against them?
Defending a Smash Padel Tips
- Avoid your instinct to block the smash directly. Instead, let it bounce in the back of your glass.
- Move forward on the court directly when you see that your opponent is going to hit a smash. It gives you the chance to hit the ball after it bounces in the back of your glass.
How to Warm-up
Warming-up is fun said no one ever! But hey! Even if padel seams like a chill sport, it’s important to warm-up before a game.
When warming up, make sure you have the chance to warm up all the basic shots. Start with forehands and then add some backhands. Hit some balls that bounce off the back wall.
Later move up to the net and hit at least five forehand and five backhand volleys. Move back closer to the service line and ask your opponent to throw you some lobs so you can practice bandejas. Finish your warm-up by hitting some smashes.
How to Position Yourself
When defending your position you should be around one meter behind the service line. It’s a common mistake to stand to close or passed the serving line. When on offense, stay close to the net. Use small steps and bend your knees so that you can get down quickly.
Position Padel Tips
- Avoid playing forehand near the side glass when you’re playing on the backhand-side. It does not give you enough space, and you also leave a big space open.
- If you have to leave your basic position for a stroke, quickly take it back after you hit the ball.
In padel, you usually cover your side of the court. But sometimes you need to switch sides. One example is when you are getting lobbed, and your teammate comes for rescue behind you. Your opponent should then say “switch” so that you cover his side instead.
Once you switched sides, you stay on that side until the point is over.
Left-handed players should play on the forehand side. It’s a strength to keep your forehands in the middle.
How to Communicate
Padel is a team sport, and you have to be a good communicator to advance your game.
The level of communication rises the better level you reach.
As a beginner, communication on a simple level is enough. On a professional level, your teammate should be able to describe the exact positions of your opponents. It gives you the possibility to play with the best information possible.
One of the keys to communication is to understand your partner. When your partner is describing your opponent’s position, it’s vital that you quickly understand precisely what your partner is saying.
Several words can be used to describe same scenarios.
If your opponents, for example, are approaching the net, your teammate can say words like net, close or up. All the words that describe your opponent’s position is ok to use as long as you understand each other. Playing with a new partner, it is vital to keep the communication simple so that you understand each other.
The longer time you play together, the better the communication will be, which enables better padel from your team.
Always talk to your partner and try to stay positive. Use a positive body language and encourage your teammate when he makes a good shot, and also when he fails. Don’t dwell over his bad strokes. That will only make things worse for you.
It’s also important to let your partner now that you take the shot. If you’re close to each other, say your name or “I” to make it clear that you’re going to hit the ball.
Communication Padel Tips
- When your teammate gets lobbed, explain if the opponents are close to the net or if they have a defensive position so that he can make a good decision.
- While your teammate gets the ball at him – keep your eyes on your opponent so that you can describe their position. Don’t look at your teammate while he’s hitting the ball.
How to Win a Point
Be patient. The average point in padel is longer than in many other sports. Don’t get desperate while attacking. Wait for good opportunities. You may need to hit a lot of good shots to win a point. Focus on getting in a good position.
Patience is also crucial while defending. Don’t try to end the points with amazing strokes from the back. Keep the ball in play, lob a lot.
- Your first goal should be to take a good position by the net.
- Keep your position at the net so that you can finish the point when the opportunity arises.
Hope you’ve enjoyed our padel tips. Have fun!