Tennis to Padel Series Part 2: Challenges for Tennis Players Transitioning to Padel

While padel remains an enticing option for players looking to make the switch from tennis, several issues stand in the way of players trying to make that transition. On the surface it may seem like an easy transition for tennis players, after all, the court is smaller, the game is easier to pick up, and is extremely enjoyable.

However, between learning new techniques, rules, and even changing mental habits, tennis players often overlook some of the changes required to successfully swap racquet sports. Here are 5 of the most common challenges facing tennis players looking to make the change to padel

Lack of knowledge and proper coaching

One of the great things about making the transition from tennis to padel is that some of the fundamentals carry over, making the initial transition fairly smooth. However, what often happens with players is they then get complacent with their starting skill level and choose to ignore proper padel coaching.

With solid fundamentals in place such as those that apply to volleys, overheads, and even just basic hand-eye coordination, it’s easy for tennis players making the change to fall into the trap of complacency. While tennis players will initially start out at an above-average level compared to inexperienced racquet sports players, they still need the proper coaching to ensure their existing ability is maximized.

One aspect of padel that can be easily ignored is the tactical side of the game and how different strategy is compared to tennis. Tennis players are trained from a young age to utilize power and speed to overmatch their opponents, but that simply won’t work in padel. Padel’s strategy is rooted in patience and understanding of your opponent, and while some of these lessons can be learned on your own, to reach the top level, tennis players also need high-level strategy coaching from experienced padel players.

While tennis players may be encouraged by their initial success in padel, they are no different from any other player in that they need proper instruction, which can at times be hard to come by.

Changing mentality

As was previously mentioned, one of the biggest differences between the two sports is the mentality difference. To reach the highest level of tennis, you have to be fast, powerful, and also be able to match the physical intensity of your opponent. With padel, those same characteristics for top players simply don’t apply as much. While an aggressive mindset and playstyle may have been the best strategy to get to the top level of tennis, that same strategy won’t get you nearly as far when it comes to padel.

Due to the smaller court size, walls, and properties of the balls and racquets, padel presents a unique challenge to tennis players trying to make the switch. While the placement of shots and tactics are a part of tennis, they don’t play as nearly big a role as they do in padel. Understanding when to go for a powerful shot versus a lob in padel can actually be a harder decision in the moment than simply going all out on every shot of every point as you do in tennis.

Taking these differences into consideration, changing the mentality of transitioning tennis players can be a real difficulty. Especially if someone has been playing a high level of tennis for a long time, it’s only their instinct to go all out on every point, so trying to make that switch to a more patient and calculated approach will take time.

While old habits may see former tennis players resort to using speed and power as their tactical weapons, it’s important their mentality is changed to a different approach, and making that change comes from the challenge previously mentioned, proper coaching and instruction.

Developing bad habits

One of the consequences of the first challenge discussed, lack of proper coaching, is that when tennis players making the switch to padel are left on their own to develop their game, they can easily start bad habits. Since for many tennis players, their training has been on overpowering their opponent and using their athleticism to their advantage, they may look to those traits to better their padel game, but it isn’t that simple. You can’t just play tennis on a padel court.

Using pre-existing tennis fundamentals and skills will get you to a certain level, but if tendencies common in tennis start to leak into your padel game, you may be hindering your development in the long run. What may start to happen is players can hit a development plateau, meaning after quickly adapting to the new sport, they fail to take their game to the next level as bad habits they have created from past tennis experiences are holding them back.

It’s important to be aware of the habits you are creating on the padel court, which is another reason why having proper coaching and instruction is so crucial in making the change between sports.

Injury from over-playing

A very common challenge that tennis players face when switching to padel is getting injured because of over-usage. Ironically, many tennis players who make the switch to padel do so because padel is far less physically taxing than tennis is. But with that being said, the games are different and require your body to move in different ways. If you start introducing new movements like you would in padel and aren’t properly warmed up or conditioned, you run the risk of getting injured.

This issue also stems from the fact that padel is very addictive in its nature. Once you pick up a racquet, you can easily find yourself playing 3-4 times a week right off the bat. While the excitement and interest in padel is a positive, your body isn’t always caught up to your mind, and you may be better off taking it slower to start out as your body adjusts to the new kinds of movements you are making on the padel court.

In padel, there are far more lunging and twisting movements than in tennis which your body may not be used to. Further, the explosive movements you make on the padel court in a more condensed area can easily tax your body. It’s crucial that any tennis player making the switch to padel learns a proper warmup routine and preventative exercises that can make injury from overuse less likely.

Access to courts

One of the more logistical challenges facing tennis players making the switch to padel is the lack of access to courts. Tennis players are accustomed to a plethora of courts available at any given time during the year, whether outdoors in the spring or summer, or indoors in the winter or fall. A tennis player could be forgiven for not even thinking about court availability, as it is usually just a given. With padel in its infancy in many countries though, the same can’t be said.

Tennis players making the switch to padel may be in for a rude awakening in their search for padel courts, depending on where they are located. If you are from America, for example, there are thousands upon thousands of tennis courts to choose from, compared to less than 200 padel courts. The same can be said for regions like the United Kingdom which have a multitude of tennis facilities, but not nearly as many padel courts.

Like so many, tennis players may get quickly addicted to padel and want to play routinely. However, once this happens, because of the lack of courts, they may not always be physically able to play simply because of a lack of access.


While padel is a great option for those looking to move on from tennis, it’s important tennis players are aware of the challenges that making the switch entails. Whether it be tactics, training, or preventing injury, making the switch isn’t as easy as it seems.


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