Recognized as the fastest-growing sport in the world, padel is hugely popular with people of all ages and sporting abilities. The fun, relatively simple nature of the game is perfect for those looking for a social sport — and not have to concern themselves with fierce competition or learning complex new skills.
Yet, as much as we all love a friendly game to have some fun, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of winning.
Although nothing beats good, old-fashioned practice, there are several padel tips, tricks, and techniques that can help you improve your game. In this post, we’ve put together some essential tips to boost your skills and have you winning games in no time.
Having a good padel racket can make plenty of difference to your game. Although beginners and casual players can usually make do with a lender, those who want to play at their best will need to get their own.
As you play and become familiar with your racket, you’ll learn what to expect with every swing, which in turn will make you a better player! Take a look at some things that can help you out when it comes to your racket.
Choosing a Racket
There are three main shapes that you can pick from, namely round, diamond and teardrop. If you are just starting out, a round-shaped racket is ideal.
You should also take your playing technique, position, weight, and level into account here.
Taking proper care of your racket is essential to avoid having to buy a new one frequently.
To make your racket last and continue to serve you well (pun intended), follow these tips:
- Be respectful of the racket and don’t throw it around carelessly.
- Use a bag and racket protector.
- Protect it from extreme weather conditions and store it well.
- Replace the grip frequently, rather than the entire racket.
Master the continental grip to ensure flexibility in your wrist movements and help you avoid developing tennis elbow. Also known as the hammer grip, it’s as simple as grabbing the racket as you would a hammer.
As you gain experience you can try slightly altering your grip for specific shots, as well as varying grip sizes, if you find that the standard one is uncomfortable.
Tips for Different Plays
Although each stage of the game can be incredibly complex at the highest level, the following tips can help any beginner step up their game.
Watching videos of professional matches or of certain techniques can help you understand the theory behind a certain play while also learning new ones. You can then apply them to your own game to keep improving.
Below, we’ve included videos on how to improve your serve, how to receive and return and how to position yourself on the court. If you want to see how the pros do it, consider watching the World Padel Tour or following the International Padel Federation.
Padel Serve Tips
A strong start can give you an edge and keep your opponents on the back foot. Use the following tips to improve your serve.
- Keep your feet behind the service line.
- Do not let the ball come above your waist.
- Move towards the net only after finishing your serve.
- Understand your positioning and form.
- Do not be afraid to try out new serving techniques as long as they fall within the rules of the game.
- Discuss and apply strategies with your teammate.
- Learn how to serve in a diagonal direction.
Receive and Return Tips
It is important to receive and return the ball accurately to prevent losing points. The following tips can help you out.
Learn How to Lob
Lobs are an incredibly useful technique that most casual players don’t take advantage of. By lobbing the ball high up in the air, you force your opponents to wait for it to come down before they can return.
This can help you slow the game down if your opponents are being too offensive, give you time to position yourself better, or just make it harder for your opponents to return — since overhead shots are some of the most difficult to master.
Know When to Turn
Beginner players and those who come from tennis are often hesitant about turning around when the ball is going to hit the wall. You’ll see them step away from the ball, allow it to bounce and then try to return.
Stepping away is a valid tactic and it has its uses, but so does turning. Turning around is a lot faster, it allows you to stay closer to your preferred position, and may allow you to hit the ball at a better angle. Master your turns and you’ll be unstoppable on the courts!
Don’t Fear the Walls
Although it can seem scary to let the ball go past you and hit the wall, especially if you come from a tennis background, walls are an incredibly useful tool in padel.
When the ball bounces off the wall it loses speed and starts heading towards your opponent. This makes it a whole lot easier to line up a shot. Remember, if you’re not using the walls, you’re only using half of the tools at your disposal to win the game!
Stance and Positioning
Learn how to position yourself and maintain a correct form, so that you can move around the court easily. Take a look at some tips below.
In the course of a game, you’ll find yourself in hundreds of different positions, but they can be generally divided into two categories, those at the back of the court, and those at the net.
Standing at the back of the court is the starting position for returns, and one of the best positions to be in if your opponents are close to the net — since it’ll give you more time to hit the ball back. The ideal position is one step back of the service line and two steps back of the side of the field.
The net position is one of the most advantageous for attacking, since you can quickly return the ball without letting your opponents catch their breath. However, it’s easy to stand too close and be outplayed by a lob. We suggest standing at around the same level as the second pole of the fence and stepping forwards or backwards as needed.
Footwork is one of the most important components of padel. The basic footwork technique for beginners is called split step. It consists of standing on the balls of your feet at all times and jumping up slightly when your opponent hits the ball.
This creates tension on your calves and allows you to move explosively to wherever you need to go.
Ideally, players maintain a slight squat throughout the game. Keeping bent knees while standing or on the move makes you more agile and ready to change direction at short notice.
You often see new players standing up almost completely straight, and bending their backs when they need to reach a low shot. Bending at the knee is much faster and more comfortable. It allows you to return the ball more effectively and safely, since you reduce the risk of over-extending with your arms or back.
Coordination is fundamental for padel. As the ball comes towards you, you need to adjust your body to be able to hit it effectively. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to teach coordination, it’s something you’ll develop as you play.
As you accumulate experience playing, you’ll start to get a sense of timing for when to hit the ball, which will allow you to put more power and precision into each swing.
This can also apply to your movement coordination with your teammate. If you’re having trouble lining up shots or getting in your teammate’s way, consider joining a padel club and playing regularly to polish your skills.
General Tips and Tricks
Although not strictly related to your playing ability, the following steps can help you avoid injury, improve your performance and make the whole experience more pleasant.
Don’t Discount Basic Shots
It might be easy to think that you can get ahead in the game by relying only on new techniques. While these are important, you should never underestimate the importance of perfecting basic shots as these will help you learn more about the game while also allowing you to have the confidence to keep improving.
You should only use padel shoes for playing. Make sure that they have a good grip and can allow you to make quick movements while also jumping and turning around in an instant. These will also last you for a long time as compared to using regular shoes while playing.
Believe it or not, the wrong kind of footwear can make a huge difference in your performance, so a good pair of padel shoes are well worth the investment. Make sure you get some padel clothes too!
Always stretch and warm up both before and after a game to prepare and relax your limbs so that you can reduce the risk of injury.
The last thing you want is getting injured and not being able to play for months. As simple as it sounds, warming up can certainly help you improve and play to your fullest potential.
Since you will always have to play in doubles, you should work towards building trust and a rapport with your teammate so that you can communicate well on and off the court. Be honest about the game and observe each other so that you can work well together.
Advice and feedback from a trusted friend can help you propel your game to the next level!
You should find good players to play and practice with so that you can learn new skills and improve your game. Even if you lose, you will learn something new each time.
This will also help you establish contacts in the sport and create a sense of community. Before you know it you’ll be hanging out at the club every weekend.
Practice and Compete
Keep practicing regularly and taking part in competitions so that you can keep advancing, even if that involves losing. Have plenty of practice matches with other and better teams and you’ll quickly improve.
Padel is becoming increasingly popular, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a local tournament you can sign up for.
Rest and Hydration
It’s important you don’t forget to rest well and take some time off to rejuvenate yourself and your muscles. Drink enough water and eat healthy food to fuel your body so that it can keep up with your goals as well as the game.
Keep Rallying On
Through this guide, we have taken you through all the tips and tricks you need to know to improve your game when it comes to padel.
Keep an open mind when it comes to learning, polish the basics and keep yourself healthy to advance in this sport. If you’re serious about improving your padel skills, nothing beats professional coaching. A good coach can give you live feedback you can apply immediately to improve your performance.
If you want to keep learning about this amazing sport and stay up to date on the latest padel news, tips and tricks, sign up for the Padel69 club using the form on our homepage. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok and become a member of the most exclusive padel club on the internet!