What is the best way to move into padel positions?
What Is The Best Way To Move Together Into Correct Padel Positions?
The movements you make as a pair are very important in padel. If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already seen the video Padel Tactics: Basic Court Position. This article goes a little deeper into the movements you can make in relation to your partner’s movements and some of the tactical reasons for these movements. We’ll focus on basic rules for moving as a pair and not on the many advanced variations you will see in the professional game by watching the World Padel Tour players. The video that goes with this article expands on these ideas and gives examples from actual play to illustrate the points.
Forwards/ Backwards padel movements
One of the major objectives in a padel game is to get to the net and stay there. At the net, you are in control of the point and have a better chance of winning the point or setting yourself up with an attacking shot to finish the point. At the back of the court, you’re more likely to be in a defensive position, looking for a way to get back to the net without too much risk.
Let’s start with the returning scenario. Here you will start from the back of the court and your major objective will be to force your opponents back so you can take the net. Conversely, your opponents will want to hit a serve allowing them to take the net and hit a good follow up volley to stay at the net. The returners start in the classic return position – about a step behind the line and two steps from the side glass on each side. Both players should be attentive to the return, whoever is receiving, and should look to move together to the net after the return is hit, for instance a lob, or a chiquita down to the feet of your opponents. If you don’t move together and say one of you stays back, there is a huge gap on the diagonal in the middle of the court allowing your opponents a chance to hit into that space leaving you at a positional disadvantage. If you move together, you close that space and only leave minimal gaps usually in the centre that you should be able to cover off if you stay focussed and alert.
Now if you’ve returned well and you are both at the net, you want to try and stay there together and manage the point. Imagine that you are at the net and your opponents hit a lob that doesn’t force you all the way to the back of the court. Then it’s likely that one of you can step back, hit a bandeja and sprint back to the net to maintain your attacking position together. If they hit a great lob and you are forced to go to the back of the court to defend it, your partner should go with you to be in the optimal defensive position, otherwise you are split and leaving big spaces for your opponents to attack.
An important side note in padel is that generally, you stay on the side you are playing on and it’s your responsibility to cover your own side of the court both defending and attacking. Shots hit down the middle are tricky and this is where you and your partner need to communicate and decide which one of you will play those ( usually but not always the forehand player). Another key scenario where communication is key is when you are defending the great lob we mentioned above. If you are about to hit a shot off the back glass, you need some information from your partner about where your opponents are. If you don’t get this, you have no way of knowing, apart from guessing based on your knowledge of the game and your opponents. Give yourselves the best chance to hit a good shot by communicating effectively, allowing you to select your shot based on their position and thereby gaining an advantage.
Lateral or Sideways Padel Movements
Let’s look at the scenario where you’re at the back of the court and defending a ball hit into the corner near the side glass. Your partner should be at the back of the court with you in the defensive position and should look to move to the centre of the court to cover off the simple volley down the centre from your opponents. When you are stuck on the side, it has to be your partner making that adjustment otherwise the court is wide open.
This kind of movement to cover the centre is even more important when you are at the net and the ball is hit to the side, forcing you over to the glass. At the net, you have less time to react to any ball hit back at you and any space you leave for your opponents is easier to take advantage of. Imagine a scenario where you hit a volley at the net down the line to your opponent who is at the back of the court. You are covering that line position and your partner can either stay on his side and leave a huge hole in the middle or can come across and cover the centre, leaving your opponents a really difficult shot across to the other side of the court where the space is small or a lob. In the video, there is an example of a slightly different but similar scenario where the benefits of properly covering the angles are clearly evident.
Summarising Padel Positons
Covering the angles and making the shots harder for your opponents is something you would always do and moving together as a team will help you achieve this and win more points! The scenarios covered in this article are designed to provide advice for general play scenarios. Clearly there will be exceptions and variations for advanced and professional players but of course the 4 players on court in these games are tactically and positionally astute and have experienced every matchplay situation imaginable multiple times. They have to make tactical positional adjustments often several times a point to press home an advantage simply because their opponents are so good at defending, closing any gaps and taking advantage of any mistakes. Understanding the key basic concepts and rules can help you set the right foundations!