Why having played tennis is not enough to be good padel player

Why is padel different from tennis? Let's analyze the strokes and playing situations that make these sports different

Why having played tennis is not enough to be good padel player

It is not uncommon to go around the Padel Clubs in our cities and meet more and more players with a tennis background. You can recognize them immediately by the wide opening motion, the top spin they impart to the ball, and often also by their unfamiliarity with the use of the glass.

While both are racquet sports and while they have some aspects in common, it is essential to understand what the technical differences in strokes are between these two sports, and in order to make fewer gross mistakes on the padel court, we decided to examine them.

Let's start with the serve, the shot from which the exchange begins during a padel match. Unlike tennis, in fact, it is to be hit from below and by bouncing the ball on the ground. What is not always clear to ex-tennis players is that the serve in padel, unlike tennis, is not a winning shot but is simply a shot used to put the ball in play and start the exchange to gain the net with as little effort as possible. The mistake that is often made, in fact, is to play too quick a serve that does not give us time to position ourselves at the net, thus leaving a good portion of the court uncovered.


Let us now turn to the forehand and the backhand from the back of the court, two shots that in tennis involve a very wide opening preparation and a great top spin to impart to the ball in such a way as to move the opponent away from the baseline. In Padel, on the other hand, the openings are much shorter and the use of top spin is discouraged because with this spin it encourages a high bounce of the ball off the wall of my opponents, who will then find themselves with a comfortable ball that they can attack easily. This is why flat or back-spin shots are used in padel so as to keep the bounce as low as possible and complicating recovery for opponents

Now we come to talk about volley shots: in modern tennis the volley is a shot that is used more and more occasionally as a back-court game is preferred. Padel, in contrast is played mostly at the net, and volley shots acquire vital importance. Forehand and backhand volleys do not differ that much from tennis on a technical level, but in padel there are two unseen flight shots that we do not see in tennis namely the Bandeja and the vibora. 

The former is an interlocutory, mostly defensive shot that is used to maintain the net when we are about to be overrun by an opponent's lob. The preparation is similar to that of a smash but the impact occurs more laterally and lower, giving the ball a backspin effect. The vibora, on the other hand, involves a movement similar to the bandeja but is a more aggressive shot. It is executed by giving the ball a side-spin effect that creates a lot of problems for the opponent when recovering. 

We conclude by talking about the Smash, which, in tennis, is a closing, definitive shot that one tends to throw as hard as possible in order to finish the point. In Padel, on the other hand, the smash is a shot that needs to be played more carefully: pulling a smash against the glass without paying attention to the direction may in fact favor the opponent, who, after a high bounce against his wall, will find himself with a comfortable ball in a position favorable to him on the court. In padel, on the other hand, as mentioned, the direction in which the smash is played is important. Three options can be used to finish a point: the x3, the x4 or the straight smash. The first is a smash that either directly or after bouncing against the opponent's wall comes out of the 10-foot side wall of the court. The second comes out directly behind the back wall by 4 meters after bouncing off the opponent's court, and the third is a smash that is so powerful that it returns to its own court after impacting the opponent's wall with no chance of being intercepted.


As we have seen, the differences between these two sports are varied, so as much as being familiar with a racquet sport is a good place to start, one should not forget that there are completely different dynamics in padel than in tennis, and so it is right to keep them in mind and not take them for granted.