Mastering the Padel Court: Transitioning from Tennis to Padel

Tennis players often find themselves drawn to the game due to its similarities in terms of rules and techniques. While their tennis skills give them an edge in certain aspects, there are specific challenges they face when transitioning to padel. In this article, we will explore the unique considerations and techniques tennis players should keep in mind to excel at padel.

  1. Embracing the Back Glass: One of the key differences between tennis and padel is the presence of the glass in padel courts. Tennis players accustomed to not letting the ball travel past them might struggle initially with balls rebounding off the back glass. To master this aspect, focus on where the ball is bouncing and trying to judge if it is a ball worth leaving for the back glass. And also, positioning. When the ball comes deep in tennis, we move back. In padel there is a thick slab of glass in the way, so we can’t move backward! By observing the ball's trajectory off the glass, you can anticipate its bounce and adjust your positioning accordingly.


  1. Adapting to Ball Rebound: In tennis, the ball typically bounces once and continues its trajectory, but in padel, the ball can rebound off the back and side glass, resulting in unexpected angles and speeds. This unique feature requires players to quickly adapt and react to the changing ball trajectory. Practice drills that involve hitting against both the back and side glass to improve your reflexes and anticipation and make using the galss second nature. As you’ll hear most padel coaches around the world say – MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE GLASS! 


  1. Letting the Ball Go Past: In tennis, letting the ball go past you often means losing the point. However, in padel, strategically allowing the ball to go past you can work to your advantage. By allowing the ball to rebound off the back glass in the right circumstance, you create time for yourself to execute a better shot, and thus opportunities to regain control of the point. Often players from tennis want to half volley when their opponents are at the net, but this is a disaster waiting to happen as the contact point is low, the speed of the shot is too high and more often than not will result in losing the point. Remember, the padel court is smaller than a tennis court and the ball slows down with every touch of a surface, be it the ground or the glass.


  1. Utilizing Volleys and Smashes: Tennis players have an inherent advantage in padel when it comes to volleys and powerful smashes. These skills translate well from tennis to padel and can become your key weapons on the court. Practice and refine your volleying technique to take advantage of the shorter distance between players and the net. Additionally, your powerful tennis smash can be a potent offensive tool in padel, enabling you to gain an advantage during the game. 


  1. Developing Padel-Specific Skills: To truly excel in padel, it is essential to develop skills specific to the sport. Focus on improving your lobs, padel volleys (more spin) and bandejas to enhance your arsenal of shots. Additionally, work on your footwork and court positioning, as these factors play a critical role in padel due to its tactical nature.

Transitioning from tennis to padel offers a unique set of challenges and opportunities. While tennis players bring valuable skills such as powerful volleys and smashes, adapting to the nuances of the game is crucial. By embracing the back glass, adapting to ball rebound, strategically allowing the ball to go past, and developing padel-specific skills, tennis players can effectively make the transition and thrive in the world of padel. With practice, dedication, and a willingness to learn, you'll discover the joy and excitement of this captivating sport.

Stay tuned for next week’s article, where we explore the journey of squash players transitioning to padel!

Keep adding tools to your padel toolbox!

Coach Jared

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