Start playing paddle is one thing "very simple for all. But once you're a fan, it's worth tackling technical. Let's talk about first step.
Padel is a sport where the distances are short between the opponents, so the ball will have a fairly short travel time. So that you can perform your keystrokes under the best possible conditions, we are going to talk about a subject that you may never have thought of… the first step.
Let's take as a starting point the classic waiting position, legs bent, shoulder width apart, looking towards our opponents, and the pala held with both hands in front of us. From there, we will be able to start working.
What is your first natural step?
Taking a padel lesson with a professional is an interesting thing when you want to improve yourself. Everyone has their own way of seeing padel and their technique, we don't want to offend anyone. What must first of all be said to padel instructors is that padel is a sport apart and that you cannot have a tennis lesson on a padel track. The technique is similar but different.
So when you are playing with friends or when you are going to hit during your padel lesson, try to focus on the first step you are going to take for your forehand and backhand. It could be with the right or left foot. With which foot should you take this first step? Frankly it doesn't matter.
Right foot for a forehand?
Are you right handed and taking the first step with your right leg for a forehand? Well that means that you will have a little more time to make your defensive shots, that you will have a naturally waiting game, that you will be able to work with the windows.
Left foot for a right kick?
Are you a former tennis player and you can't change that first step forward with your left leg? No big deal. You are an aggressive player who will take the ball early, who will have a little trouble playing with the windows and who will prefer to take the ball in half volleys.
Same thing on the reverse side
For the reverse it is the same. Right-handed, you naturally take your first step backwards with the left foot, you will be more defensive, the first step forward with the right foot, you will be more offensive. Do you take the first step each time with the same foot, ie with both the forehand and the backhand you take the first step with the right leg? No worries, it works. Don't change what you are comfortable with.
If you have fun seeing with which foot the pros take their first step, you will not understand because they change all the time. It all depends on the time they give themselves to play the ball. When they decide to defend and they need time, they take the first step back, but when they want to take time at the ball, they take that first step forward.
As you gain experience and level up, you will adapt your footwork to make it more efficient.
What about the net then?
At net it is a bit more complicated as we are in an attacking position, so taking a first step back will put us in an awkward position. Our advice is to take the first step with the leg on which you are going to make your stroke.
For a right-hander, forehand volley, straight leg. This first step will allow you to get closer to the ball and therefore to better adjust your position, to control the time to play a ball more in control or in power, and especially to position your pala correctly. At the same time as you take the step forward, the pala positions itself. Finally, upon impact you will finish with the left leg forward for a forehand volley (right handed) and right leg for a backhand volley.
The same goes for the Bandeja?
The Bandeja is a rather complicated move to perform because it is not an attacking move, but if it is performed badly, it will become an offensive move for our opponents. Our advice is to do the same preparation as for the forehand volley, but instead of taking the first step forward, we take it backwards. This way you will position yourself correctly from the first movement.
Finally the smash
The smash is an attacking blow that we take after taking a first step backwards. The goal is to quickly find yourself in profile, with a very wide movement. It is best for a right-handed person to take a big step backwards with the right leg.
The final word
Apart from the net where you have to follow a certain technique written in the books for an organized attack, it is at the back of the track that you can take the first step as you see fit. Going forward or backward will be your padel DNA. Simply realize this very important first step that you are taking in order to always have the same preparation. Always the same shot preparation will make you feel comfortable on the track and allow you to concentrate on reading the ball, its trajectory and its rebounds.
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.