One technique that recreational players neglect in playing padel is their court position.
Many players who recently learned about padel struggle with good positioning. However, learning this is essential as it would also determine your game.
Padel positioning is one of the padel tactics you should master to secure a win for your team.
This article will serve as your ultimate guide to learning different positions in a padel court.
After reading, you’ll undoubtedly be neck on neck with other pro padel players.
Padel Position Basics: Where to stand on a Padel court
There are two basic positions you should learn if you are a newbie in the padel court:
- At the backcourt
- At the net
These two basic positions are crucial in any padel game. You can exploit these to your advantage, especially if your opponents lack harmony with their movement.
These will also determine how you can maximize and cover the court. It also allows you to move effectively with your teammate and defend your side of the court.
Basic Court Position: At the back of the court
The first basic court position is at the back of the court. Specifically, when you are at the backcourt, your positioning is 6 feet away from the back and side walls.
To ensure such distance, you must stand behind the service line between the separation of the first and second panels of the back glass (assuming that the padel court has five glass panels)
You should also stand between the separation of the first and second panels of the side wall from the corner.
However, if your padel court does not have the same number of glass panels, you can take one step back from the service line and two side steps from the side wall.
Stay in that stance, especially if your opponents are coming towards the net and spam balls towards your courtside.
Strike balls that force your opponents to press their backs at the back wall. In this case, hitting a good high ball will give you the perfect opportunity to gain net position.
Basic Court Position: At the net
The second basic court position you should learn is at the net. Similarly, it’s ideal that you stand 6 feet away from the side panels.
To measure your distance with the net, you can consider using the posts of the side wall as markers. Count the posts beginning from the entrance of the game area.
Your ideal ready-to-volley stance should be aligned with the second post. Commonly, the third post is where the fence and glass are separated.
Such a distance would help you hit short volleys easily while also ensuring to cover the back side of the court.
One COMMON MISTAKE newbies make is standing too close to the net. This padel positioning is one you should avoid.
Being too close to the net would leave a huge gap at the backcourt that your opponents could easily access.
They can blow a high ball that would force you and your partner to sprint towards the back. It would also be difficult for you to return the ball in such an instance.
Watch this video to learn more about the basic positions in the padel court:
Gaining the dominant position
As padel players, you always want to secure points for your team. Hence, you should ensure to take good advantage of your padel positioning.
But how can you gain a dominant position in the padel court?
You can gain a dominant position after doing your services. You must immediately move towards the net after striking the ball and serving.
The net is the dominant position. It’s the area where you can attack and win the most points. This is because you are already a few steps near your opponent’s side of the court.
Such a court position will help you play your volleys even before your opponents go back to their ideal return stance after striking the ball.
The net position is also ideal for defending your side from cross-court shots. Thus, you should take the chance to approach the net.
Staying by the net can help you strike good padel shots toward your opponent. With limited shot options, you can throw balls that would force them to remain pressed on the back wall.
Moving as a team
One thing you should ALWAYS remember when playing padel is keeping a synchronous movement with your teammate.
By saying so, you must ensure that you are standing at the same spot as your partner on the other side of your court.
Hence, you have to move alongside your partner, both forward and backward, most of the time.
Moving forwards and backwards as a team
The movement you do as a pair is critical to ensure good positioning in the padel court. When you and your partner move together, you will likely avoid a position that exposes weak points.
Try to picture two players: One is standing near the net while the other is pressed at the back wall. You’ll see a huge diagonal gap behind the front player and in front of the back player.
Such a gap is a CRITICAL WEAK POINT that would allow your opponents to strike a cross-court block volley. At this point, you’ll struggle to defend and return the ball.
Hence, moving forward as a team as you gain net position will help you avoid that weak diagonal point.
Another reason why you should move towards the net together is when you or your partner hit a good high lob. This shot will force your opponent to go backward and return a weak ball.
Conversely, by gaining the dominant court position, you’ll be able to blow off difficult balls. It will leave the opposing players in a defensive position with LIMITED padel shots.
Moving backward together is also as essential as moving forward.
As your partner aims to save the ball at the backcourt, you can signal to them about your opponent’s court position. Doing so will help your partner return a good ball.
Moving side to side as a pair
Another movement you should do as a pair is moving from side to side. Doing so helps you avoid leaving a huge gap at the center field.
Moving side to side together is especially helpful when you or your partner are pressed towards the corner of the back wall.
As you move towards the corner, a wide space is left at the center of the court. Hence, your partner will need to go towards the center line to fill in and cover the middle.
However, your partner CANNOT move across the center. It will expose their side of the court, and your opponent can strike the ball on that side of the padel court.
Meanwhile, your side movement would be different if your padel positioning is near the net.
There are three critical areas where the opposing team can direct the ball in this padel positioning: Tight down the line on the left and right sides, and in the middle.
When you volley the ball at the center court, your opponent will likely return the ball in the same direction. Hence, you have to cover the center by moving half a step to the middle.
If you think the other team is likely to blow the ball tight down the right, you and your partner should move towards the right to defend the right-hand line and the cross-court shot.
The same rule would also apply to balls striking towards the left-hand side. You’ll only need to switch directions to fill in, cover your courtside, and defend the ball.
Be aware of the diagonal line of weakness
One of the critical points you must AVOID when playing padel is the weak diagonal line. This feeble point is made when one player is near the net, and the other is at the back of the court.
The diagonal area is an easy target for cross-court shots. You and your partner will struggle to defend and return the ball at that padel positioning.
If you ever return the ball, it will likely be a weak shot for your team and an easy ball for the opposing team.
Hence, the movement you make must be synchronous with your teammate. Specifically, you must move together as a pair.
Doing so will help you avoid the diagonal gap your opponents can easily take advantage of.
Positions while defending
The right padel positioning is also vital when you are in a defensive position. One thing you should always note when defending is CONSISTENCY.
Being consistent with your padel positioning at defense will help you defend and return a lot more balls than you expect.
While a defensive position is vital in every game, what frustrates many players is positioning at the back wall and the corner.
How to position for a bounce against the back wall?
There are five factors that would determine if the ball would bounce against the back wall:
When a ball moves fast, it’s more likely to move your feet forward. Hence, there’s a high chance that it would hit the back wall. In this case, you must move forward.
A slice would cause a ball to go at a lower angle. Therefore, you should also station yourself lower and closer to the wall.
But, if you can see a ball approaching with a topspin, you must move your feet towards the right as it may also hit the glass panel.
If the ball blew off from a harsh angle, move away from the ball. There’s a high chance that the ball will fly out towards you.
You must move forward when you gauge the ball likely hitting a higher part of the back glass. Contrarily, if the ball is going to hit at a lower angle, move your feet closer.
Hotter balls bounce more than cool balls. Hence, you must your position must be far forward. But, you must be lower and closer to the glass in cold weather.
Padel positioning when defending the corner
The five factors discussed above are likely to be the same ones you must deal with when judging incoming balls and determining your padel positioning.
But, there are two additional tips we can teach you when defending balls that hit the side glass first:
Turn and Play
You can opt to make a 360-degree turn before you play the ball. However, you have to be quick to follow the ball’s direction.
This requires a more natural movement that can’t be taught in one coaching session. But, mastering this technique would help you hit the ball easier.
A simpler option is moving your body away from the ball before blowing it off. This allows you to see the opposing team’s movement from the other half of the court.
However, it’s also difficult to judge the ball’s trajectory at this angle. When doing this technique, always remember to move early.
The importance of serve and volley play positioning
While serving the ball, your teammate must prepare to go towards the net and prepare an attack stance.
You should also move your feet towards the front. DO NOT WAIT for the ball to reach the other side of the court.
Although service in padel is not as important as tennis, good service aids you in dominating the court. Being able to secure this spot helps your team secure a point.
Standing at the ideal serve and volley positioning is also VITAL. It helps you blow off good padel balls and do easy returns.
Hence, it’s important that you always go back to the proper ready stance at the right place to earn more points for your team.
Avoiding no man’s land
Ideally, the player must stand behind the white line or service line for a backcourt position or a few steps back from the net for the net position.
However, the area between these two ideal positions is the area you should avoid — no man’s land.
The term already explains itself. No padel player wants to land on that spot because it’s where they make fewer points.
Here are reasons why padel players avoid this position:
- It’s a position too far back to volley the ball
- It’s a spot too far forward to hit the ball after the wall
- It’s difficult to defend the ball directed towards the back, unlike in the backcourt position
- It’s not an ideal position to play advanced and difficult balls, unlike in the net position
There would be instances where you have to move towards this area to hit the ball. But, always ensure to GO BACK to the right place.
Tips to avoid no man’s land
- Choose the appropriate padel positioning – Ready yourself to hit the target a few steps back from the white line or near the net.
- Move harmoniously with your partner – Always communicate with your partner and observe their movement.
- Take note of the posts – To ensure proper net placement, you should align with the second post of the fence.
Before you aim to hit, preparation is CRUCIAL. You’re positioning in the padel court will likely determine your game.
Being aware of the right place to stand in the padel court helps you play padel a lot better.
Aside from this, you should always remember to move with your partner as a pair. You should also know when to fill in for your teammate.
When you develop these tactics and master padel shot techniques, you’ll surely play great padel matches from this moment forth.
Don’t just accept the mediocre play. Continue improving your game in padel!
Search for more resources about padel online or get a coaching session from skilled padel players.
Frequently asked questions about positions in Padel
You might still have questions about the proper padel positioning. Below we answer some of the most common FAQ:
Depending on the game’s situation, you can move towards the back or front in the padel court. There are also instances where you must move from side to side.
The two basic padel positionings are the backcourt and net positions.
When playing padel, it’s ideal that you stand at the same spot as your teammate on the other half of the court to maintain balance.
The best place to stand in a padel court is near the net, aligned with the second post. It’s the perfect spot to hit an aggressive ball at the center as your opponents are pressed back.
The dominant padel positioning is near the net. It’s where you blow off easy volleys and difficult balls. This forces the opposing team to press themselves back with limited options.
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.