Why the tennis smash doesn't work in padel
Padel smash vs. tennis smash
The vast majority of players that take up padel, outside Spain and Argentina, come from a tennis background. Whether it is recreational or professional tennis, players start playing a sport where it is suddenly easier to come to net, the ball moves slower and the lob is a much more common shot…for these reasons it is understandable why it is so tempting to give any lob a good smack.
In tennis, wherever you hit your overhead, the main aim is to finish the point on that shot 100% of the time and all you have to do is hit passed your opponent.
Tennis players come to the padel court and use the same approach, any ball in the air, they setup to hit the ball as hard as they can to finish the point.
But padel is completely different, the padel bats do not generate the same power, the walls keep the ball in play and attack can turn to defence with 1 poorly executed shot. It is for this reason that good players are extremely selective over which ball they can really go for and only hit an aggressive smash to finish the point when they are in an excellent position. It is also the reason that there is such variety of technique when it comes to smashing in padel, there are several different options for the smash. To find out more about the techniques and tactics for the overheads, checkout the Overheads Course!
When tennis players start padel they are often playing against their friends (who are also usually from tennis backgrounds), so they do not understand the game or how to use the walls. This means the players get away with smashing hard from the wrong positions, but as soon as they play against more experienced padel players they realise the error of their ways. The experienced players run forward during the smash, wait for it to come off the wall and it pops up high for them in turn to finish the point.
The best piece of advice I received when coming from tennis was to only smash hard when close to the net and I was sure to finish the point, the rest of the time to hit controlled into the corners of the court.
There is a right time to hit the aggressive smash!
“Patience is a virtue” as the saying goes!