Padel may be a descendant of other racket sports like tennis, but it is its own game with its set of rules, play styles, and strategies for winning.
While a passionate beginner may want to play in the World Padel Tour one day, they will need to sharpen their Padel skills, learning to hold the racket correctly and hit the ball in the sweet spot.
Let’s look at how to ensure victory when playing Padel as a beginner. We’ll look at the basic shots, some common mistakes, and what you need to know to go from the amateur to professional level.
Learn the basics of positioning
As with other sports, Padel is won or lost by how well a player understands their body and how each movement affects their ability to gain points.
These include maintaining a consistent continental grip, swinging from the back and following through, and having an active, agile, ready stance to prepare you for anything.
To avoid injury, a good player also practices making sharp turns, hitting the ball accurately, and giving enough space between the back wall and net to serve their balls.
Move with your partner
Padel is a partner sport. You will need to work with your partner to secure the point. In the early stages, this means communicating, planning, looking at each other, and giving non-verbal signals.
Learn your sectors. This will help you avoid confusion (and collisions) that can give the point to the other team. Set up shots for your partner and see how you improve.
Get a good position to attack at the net
You can’t succeed at Padel until you can get the ball over the net and secure the point. This means learning to fight for the contested net area and win. You need to be able to secure the netted area during your back and forth passes.
The difference between playing left and right side
The left side and right side players have different roles and responsibilities during the game. It’s the job of the right player to set up and the left player to see the ball through to the other side.
You will need to be familiar with both sides of your court, especially if you’re a backhand player. You need to understand your surroundings and how it affects the shots you need to make.
Focus both on offense and defense
Padel is a point game that relies on you to play well and your opponents not to see your ball coming until it’s too late. This entails making every offensive shot count and every defense hold.
Master the basics shots before you go advanced
While there are many different shots in Padel, you must master the fundamentals, keeping your eye on the ball and sending it back to your opponents before you try upping your game.
Here are some surefire ways to improve quickly as a player and build a foundation that will serve you at higher levels:
Forget about power in Padel as a beginner
Padel is a ball game that doesn’t need intense smashes and high jumps to win. It might even work against you because of the walls.
Consistency and proper technique are the essentials in Padel.
You do not need to go at an extreme intensity to play Padel. It’s said that playing at 50% strength can allow you to win the match. Focus on making the shots that count with the right form.
It all starts with the serve
An excellent serve can get the ball rolling, and an ace from your service can give you an instant point that can set you up for success.
Serves are important weapons because they can help you dictate the pace of the set. You can set up for a score or force the enemy into a position they’re uncomfortable with.
You can use a drop shot or add a spin on your second serve to make it extra difficult for your opponent to intercept.
Create confusion in the center (Husband & Wife shot)
Most Padel strokes are aimed at the opposite side of the player, giving your competition the ability to react to the oncoming ball.
By controlling the center and aiming the ball down the centerline, you force your opponents to cross sectors, creating confusion over whose responsibility it is to send the ball back.
This helps you secure more points and makes it difficult for the other pair to find the right footing.
Use the lob
The lob movement is a tactical move in Padel that allows you to respond rapidly to an approaching ball and send it back in a way your opponent can’t counter.
This simple upward “J” stroke allows you to save a bouncing ball by sending it over the net just enough to peeve your opponents.
It’s devastating and so simple that your opponents won’t be expecting it.
Cut your errors to win more points on the padel court
It’s important to understand padel rules for beginners as this will prevent them from making unforced errors and other faults that can cost them points or even the game.
At the beginner level, working within the rules is important, as they provide the basic framework for success.
If you want to succeed early on, you will need to understand the fundamentals of the sport.
Using patience as a weapon to win more matches
A game of Padel can last an hour at the amateur level because of the scoring system and amount of sets present. You will be exhausted by the end, but so will your opponents.
You want to be alert enough to exploit weaknesses, wait for openings to arrive, and then pounce.
Master the walls
Those who play Padel quickly realize what makes the sport unique from other racket sports: you learn that the glass, back, and side mesh can be your allies during difficult shots.
An excellent Padel player knows how to use the walls to their advantage, making the balls bounce all around, giving their opponents a hard time trying to spin around to catch them.
You should learn to harness the walls, embracing the ball bouncing off it and into your racket. By utilizing the walls, you can get more creative, racking in the points while your opponent is none the wiser.
Common beginner’s mistakes in Padel
Here are some common mistakes those who play Padel for the first time struggle with.
However, with enough practice, exposure and guidance, they’ll grow from these habits and learn from their mistakes.
Lack of coordination
Padel is a dynamic sport requiring an implicit understanding of physics, your body, and how the two relate.
Most beginners struggle with being too near or too far from the ball when it bounces toward them.
It’s important to practice hand-eye coordination and to catch the ball to give you muscle memory on the court.
Padel players must rely on the continental grip (also known as the hammer or shaking hands grip), allowing users to maintain control of their racket.
It gives them flexibility and power in equal measure.
Wrong position on the Padel court
Many players struggle with being too far from the net, hiding near the service line to give themselves enough time to respond to the ball.
By that point, however, they lose a good position to respond.
It would help you manage your position and know when to stay near the net or the wall.
Additional tips for improving at Padel
As with any other skill, the key to improving at your Padel game is to receive good tips and guidance from people with more experience in the sport who’s seen and done it all.
Work with coaches
The game of Padel offers more movement opportunities and harder-to-detect patterns than other racket sports because the walls are part of the court.
Working with a coach allows you to anticipate and understand the potential next moves of your opponents. They give you more tips and teach you how to play to earn the point.
Play with experienced players
You will not improve at Padel tennis until you’ve found yourself playing at a higher level. The best way to level up is to go against players better than you until you improve.
The good thing is they will share tips and feedback in real-time. They want you to improve as your match goes on.
Have the right equipment when playing Padel
Like other racket sports, you can get by for a few weeks by borrowing equipment on the Padel courts.
However, you will need to find the right padel shoes and invest in high-quality Padel rackets and Padel balls.
Let’s look at how finding the right racket and shoes improves your Padel ability and how to find the tennis shoes and Padel racket for your needs.
Choose the right padel racket that matches your skill level
A Padel racket may start as an unfamiliar tool for those new to Padel, but both Tennis and Padel tennis train you to consider the racket as an extension of yourself.
It should not be too heavy, only around 330g – 385g. This gives you better control and manoeuvrability when you serve and hit the ball.
Good Padel rackets should allow flexibility with your strokes and hits. It should allow you to make backhand ground shots and help you respond to every move your opponent makes during matches.
Wear the right padel shoes
As Padel tennis increases in popularity, so does the number of Padel shoes available on the market.
While tennis shoes may work well enough for Padel play, actual Padel shoes give you an advantage.
Investing in actual Padel shoes is important as they allow you to maintain better control on the court. You can achieve a higher intensity during matches and get into position for the shots that count.
Most players can improve when playing Padel by simply adopting the right position, mastering the basic shots, finding the right Padel racket and Padel shoes, and enjoying the process.
It may take some time and effort, but a dedicated padel player who’s given great tips will be able to grow in skill, one-day giving a professional player a run for their money.
Frequently asked questions – How to win more points in Padel as a beginner
Here are some of the most common Padel tennis tips Padel beginners ask for. It’s important to answer them to give new players a good frame of mind when they step into a Padel court.
New padel players can start playing Padel by visiting their local Padel court or joining a Padel club. Coaches and more experienced players are eager to share Padel tennis tips and give tennis lessons. They may even set you up for your first Padel match.
Practice is the most important tip you can give to many players looking to get better on the Padel Tennis court. It will allow you to improve, apply new skills learned, and give you the muscle memory needed to excel at Padel.
Padel Tennis is an easy sport to get into. Learning the rules and navigating the Padel courts during a game is easy. However, it’s hard to master. Staying dedicated and mastering your play style are the differences between competing and winning.
New players are still not used to the movements needed to play Padel. This leads them to hit the ball wildly or cause unforced errors that can take a point away.
Lucas Sánchez is the founder of SimplePadel. Born and raised in Spain, Lucas has been living in the US and UK for the last 20 years and currently calls Miami his home. While he’s never played professionally, the dream is still alive.
Lucas loves nothing more than playing (and talking) about padel, and he considers himself lucky to have a wife and family that share his love for the game.