How to Master the Mental Side of Competitive Padel [Preparation Secrets]
Develop Your Perfect Pre-Game Routine with These Five Tips
Whether you’re a seasoned padel expert who’s played in countless competitions or just booked your first competitive match, these secrets are for you.
Between myself, our trainers, and the people we’ve coached in our growing community, we have a multitude of competition experience.
One of the most common questions we get is “how do I get ready for my match?” The answer is much easier than you might think.
Go to your match free of all distractions. Prepare the week before to ensure you have all you need in order to win.
In this post, we’ll look at five quick tips for getting yourself organised for competition. Some of these might appear obvious at first look, but professional players have mastered each step.
1) Have Your Bag Packed and Ready to Go
Make sure everything you need to play at your best is readily available to you. All the following are important pieces of gear to remember to pack: A main racket and a backup both completely ready for competition, A wristband, headband, hat, sunglasses, towel, two or three spare overgrips, balls, chalk or magnesium powder if needed to keep your hands dry, extra socks, clean shirt, etc.
Check that everything is in order and ready to go. Test your shoes for any deformities prior to the day of the match. It does you no good to come to the tournament lacking an important item. If you do this step first, you’ll know what you might be missing and can plan accordingly to get what you need throughout the week.
2) Sleep Well and Get Your Diet Right
Do you think Bela downs a huge portion of fish and chips before he plays? Would you catch Lebrón snacking on Doritos between points? No, of course not.
To make sure you’re in the best condition possible, eat a balanced diet throughout the week and eat light before the match. Make sure you regularly get at least eight hours of sleep per night.
Players at the top level make sure their body is in top physical condition so they can strategize their playstyle, read their opponents, and make adjustments as needed throughout the game.
3) Train the Right Way During the Week
The most important focal points for your training during the week are working on technical shots and getting good match practice. This could mean lessons with your coach or high-level competitions with a local club or friends.
Exercise outside of the padel court two to three times during the week but don’t overdo it. Make sure your mind and body are ready to launch into competition mode once you step out on the court. Play these warm-up matches before the competition with an intensity that might scare your opponents.
4) Don’t Get Overexcited about Your Match
Do you find it hard to think about anything else other than your upcoming match? You’re in good company! This is common in padel. We love competition, but it’s important not to get so into it we place too much time and attention in one place.
It’s very easy to get so anxious and stressed about the game that when it finally comes around you’re a nervous wreck and play terribly. Preparation is fantastic, but it’s certainly possible to go overboard as well. You can’t play well if you’re overzealous. It takes a calm approach to access the consistency necessary to win points.
It’s okay to be excited and to look forward to your game, but try not to get too agitated or too into it. Yes, padel is fun, but the outcome is not everything. Stay loose and know that no matter what, padel is fun. Give it your all on the court, but don’t stress.
5) Plan Your Week Ahead
Planning out your week is by far the most obvious tactic, but the most commonly underused. Schedule your weekly agenda around your match. Try not to stay out late with friends the night before and don’t schedule a work meeting the morning of your match.
Create a margin of time around the competition so you don’t feel rushed or pressured. Plan to show up early and work out all the details beforehand so you can focus on doing what you do best.
Looking for more strategies for boosting your padel mental game? Click here for access to our featured course on Mental Match Preparation.
Best of luck to you!
-The Padel School