Padel tips for beginners
Just started playing padel and looking for some expert tips and advice to help you improve your skills? We’ve got you covered.
With everything from shot tutorials to how you can practice at home, this is our handy guide for all the padel essentials.
What you need to do before your start playing padel
Before you even start playing, getting in a good warm-up is key.
When thinking about getting your body ready to play, you’ll want to start with some movement to raise your body temperature and heart rate. After that, get your head in the game with some padel-specific movements to begin to activate the right muscle groups that you’ll need to play, such as:
Tips on playing key padel shots
In padel, you’ll usually always be in one of two positions – up at the net with your partner or both towards the back of the court defending.
Being up at the net is a more attacking position where you can use volleys and smashes to put pressure on your opponents and try to win the point. Padel has a specific type of high volley that you can try called the Bandeja - which is where you hit a smash with some underspin to reduce the bounce of the ball. Check out our Padel Made Easy videos for more tips on playing the Bandeja and more padel shots.
When you’re defending, you’ll play more forehands and backhands from the back of the court – both with and without using the back glass.
Top tip: hitting a lob over your opponent’s heads can be an effective shot in trying to counter your opponents at the net so you can attack instead.
When it comes to padel technique, you want to make sure you’re hitting the ball with a short backswing on both sides. This means you can react quicker to your opponent’s shots as well as giving you more control and accuracy in your shots.
Padel is more about accuracy and ball placement than it is about power.
How to play off the glass in padel
One of the hardest parts of the game to master when you’re just starting out is playing the ball off the glass. The padel court is surrounded by a glass wall that you can use to your advantage.
When playing a point, once the ball has bounced you can let the ball hit the glass before you return it to your opponent. It can be helpful if you want to give yourself more time on the shot or if it bounces close to the glass where it’s harder to return.
- Give yourself space – make sure your ready position is in the correct place on the court to allow you to change direction if needed
- Preparation – make sure your racket is prepared early before moving to the ball
- Read the incoming ball – see how fast the ball is travelling from your opponents – if it is slower you will need to move much closer to the glass
- Control over power – these shots are naturally more difficult to hit, so give yourself more chance of getting it in by taking off some pace and controlling it back over the net
You can also return the ball by hitting it against the back glass. If you find yourself in a defensive situation where it’s difficult to return the ball, try hitting it against the back glass and landing it on your opponent’s side of the net before bouncing.
How to practice padel shots
If you’re a beginner just starting out with padel, the best way to improve is just by hitting lots of balls and becoming used to the different shots.
As they say – practice makes perfect – and with padel, the more you play certain shots and practice your positioning, the more natural it will become.
The best way to practice is to rally on a half court with someone on the opposite side of the net, one at the net with the other at the baseline. Keep the rally going, practicing a variety of different shots and count how long you can keep the rallies going for.
If you want to increase the challenge, make yourself use the back glass on every incoming ball that bounces on or past the service line.
If you want to improve your skills further, find a local LTA Accredited Coach near you and they can help you get to the next level.
Padel footwork and movement
Padel is all about sharp and explosive movements around the court, reacting to your opponents.
You’re constantly moving during a point, so it’s important to take lots of short side steps. Always stay on your toes so you can easily push off to either side to reach the ball.
The best padel teams are the ones who move around the court together to better cover the space and leave fewer options for their opponents to hit a winner.
How to train for padel at home
Even if you can’t get on a court, there’s plenty of ways that you can practice at home.
To improve your control, something as simple as tapping a ball up in the air can be hugely beneficial. If you find it too easy, then try alternating the side of the racket you tap it with each time and see how many you can get to.
If you have an outside wall you can use, you can also practice volleying against it to help you become more consistent with your shots.