Let's continue our overview of the padel strokes. After the forehand and the backhand, let's move on to one of the “unique” padel strokes, the forehand window exit.
Racquet sports are numerous and tend to be played directly. In padel, we have the chance to have the opportunity to play with the walls or windows behind us.
What does playing with the glass allow us?
First of all, letting the ball pass allows it to slow down its speed. Then, playing after a rebound gives us more time to organize our defense, know where our opponents are positioned, and play the best shot possible.
To better understand how a defensive window exit is played, we must compare the “classic” forehand with the forehand exit the window. The classic forehand should prevent the ball from continuing its course. It is a hit with enough force to send the ball back to the other side of the net. On the other hand, for the window exit it is different. The ball is already going in the direction we are interested in, so there is no need to “hit” the ball, but need to accompany it. If you understand this mindset, your shots will be much better.
Let us come to the facts. The technique of the forehand window exit. First of all, try to let the ball pass as often as possible, not just when you have to. This way you will be more and more comfortable with the reading of the trajectory of the ball.
Step 1: resumption of support
And yes, it is still there and will be for all the strokes of the padel. This small jump made in front of the player who touches the ball will allow us to have the best possible reaction.
Step 2: preparation
Once you have the information that you are going to play a forehand, position the pala backwards, at or slightly below waist level. One technique is to imagine that your pala is a door that you open to let the ball in. We can also imagine that the end of the handle of your pala has an eye, and that this eye watches the ball coming.
Be careful, we are at the back of the track and most of the shots that we will have to achieve will be defensive so we might as well place from the start, the pala close to the ground.
Step 3: the first step
As much on a “classic” forehand we will be able to take the first step forwards or backwards, as much for the exit of the window this first step must obligatorily be taken backwards. Go ahead, take a “nice” step, clearly visible in the direction the pala shows you. Remember what we said above, the pala is like an opening door. The tip of the pala marks a direction, and it is in this direction that your first step with the dominant leg should go (on the side of the pala).
Step 4: adjustment
It's a bit like a dance that we would like to do with this ball. The first step marks the direction, then the adjustment steps allow you to find the best place to impact the ball. Once we are firmly in place, the front foot, the non-dominant one, will land on the ground for maximum control.
Note that this front foot will always be positioned after the ball has rebounded on the bottom glass. You will notice that players who position themselves too early lose control over the ball and more importantly lose that bodyweight dynamic that goes from back to front.
Step 5: typing
The ultimate moment. This is when we know if all the work done upstream has been good. We cannot really speak of typing but rather of accompaniment. The window exit is a blow that takes place with a time spent from behind, so we lose sight of our opponents. Slowly playing a defensive window exit will give us enough time to regain our comfort position and prepare for the next shot. Playing a low ball too quickly would put us in danger.
Step 6: the end of the gesture
It can be short or long depending on the move you want to play. Short for a slow ball, which falls behind the net, or a pre-prepared game situation that involves a series of strokes (pressurization). The end of the gesture will be long when you have more time, a ball that will rebound a little higher, that you will seek a deep zone along the line or in the center in order to send your opponents back to the bottom.
The forehand exit window must above all be a defensive shot that allows you to keep your opponents at a distance so that they have difficulty organizing their attack. Take time, take a new stand, play slowly are the 3 key words to remember.
The rest in pictures.
Julien Bondia is a padel teacher in Tenerife. He is the founder of AvantagePadel.net, a software very popular with clubs and padel players. Columnist and advisor, he helps you play better through his many padel tutorials.