Which Side Should You Play in Padel?

One question that is being asked a lot is which side should we play.

Sandy Farquharson, a padel trainer who runs the Padel School on YouTube helps us answer the question.

General Rules

  • If both players are right-handed, play the more aggressive player on the left-side
  • Left-handed players should play on the right-side
  • If you’re learning the game you should play on both sides
  • The left-hand side is also called backhand side
  • The right-hand side is also called forehand side

When to Play on Both Sides

You have to develop as a player before you pick your side.

If you’re learning the game and you’re relatively new you should play on both sides. You need to experience both sides to see the differences to see which you’re more comfortable on before you can decide as to which side you should be. 

There’s no point watching the World Padel Tour and seeing those guys and saying yeah I’m a left-hand player. Play on both sides until you get to a level where you can kick the ball, where you can be aggressive, where you can move forward and you understand the tactics in the game before you choose your side. 

Characteristics Left-hand Side

There are different characteristics for players on the left-hand side and different for players on the right-hand side. 

The left-side is traditionally the more aggressive player. 

So if both players are right-handed a lot of the balls high in the middle will be the smash of the left-side player. 

The player on the left-side is usually faster and more dynamic. Because often they’re doing a lot more movement on. Usually, they cover about 60% of the court and they’re moving quickly up to the net position after a smash. They’re being aggressive into the corner, and they’re also covering the position down the middle. 

The left-side player doesn’t necessarily need to have an aggressive topspin smash although that is more useful from this side because from this side the angle is much better to kick the ball over the fence. They could have an aggressive bandeja that plays very well into the corner as long as they can attack the ball and finish points. 

Characteristics Right-hand Side

From this side, the player’s job is to set the point up for the left-hand side. You’ll find that these players are a lot more solid and that they’ve got good control of the ball. 

They don’t make many mistakes and they want to get in position to force their opponents to put a weak ball into the middle or to the left-hand side so that the left-hand player can be the aggressive one. 

Left-handed Players

If you’re left-handed you should play on the right-hand side. This way your smash is in the center like your partner if he’s right-handed and you can cover a lot more of that court being aggressive.

On this side of the court, you can be aggressive exactly like the right-hander on the other side.

Exceptions

These are general principles and there are obvious exceptions even if you look at the top players at the World Padel Tour. For example Sanyo and Maxi. Sanyo from the right-hand side is super aggressive and he finishes a lot of points.

Another example is Lebron and Paquito. Both players are aggressive and could play on the left-side. They can switch sides and finish from both sides on the court so it’s more about how you play with your partner and understanding both sides of the court rather than saying you’re fixed on one side or the other. 

Video

Watch Sandy Farquharson from the Padel School explain which side to play on.

Conclusion

Play on both sides before you decide so you can develop and understand the game. Generally, the more aggressive player plays on the left-hand side if both players are right-handed. Left-hand players should play on the right-side.