Some clubs padel choose, still quite rarely, to set up one or more “single” or “solo” tracks, in order to diversify their offer or due to a lack of space for a classic track. These courts are generally the same length as the others, namely 20 meters. On the other hand, they are only 6 meters wide instead of 10, which allows a single player to cover the entire track.

These lands are very rare in France, so we wanted to test the one that has just been opened in Mulhouse, in the private complex Squash 3000. In the space of an hour of play, there is already enough to form an opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of playing on a small court.

A lower price.- Renting a single pitch for an hour costs €24 in full hours in this Mulhouse club, or €12 less than a 20 x 10 m track. For two players wishing to train and do scales or for students taking an individual lesson, this lowers the bill.

A good way to master the windows.- Because a right angle remains a right angle, a single pitch makes it possible to work on double panes as well as on a large pitch. An advantage: the narrowness of the track makes it possible to defend both the balls on the forehand side and those on the backhand side. It is therefore a good way to progress by learning to manage the bottom pane/side pane trajectories and the side pane/bottom pane trajectories. What changes compared to a large pitch is that the balls to be defended necessarily have less of an angle, because they come from a more central area.

Earn points without going to the net

Tennis between walls? We may have read or heard that the padel on small ground looks like tennis between walls. Personally, I wouldn't say that. If it is true that one can – as in tennis – play (and win) points from the baseline, it is also essential to let the ball pass to play it after the glass. And the cut effects remain much more effective than the topspin effects, unlike tennis.

A single court is 6 m wide instead of 10 m

To step up or not to step up to the net? This is the question facing players. Following your serve systematically at the net leads to an increased risk of suffering a winning passing shot. The volleyball player must indeed cover a width of 6 m (instead of 5 m in doubles) and he cannot count on his partner to close the angles. If you go to the net on a single court, you will therefore have to rely on a good serve, be quick, ready to spring from one side or the other and do not forget to make a recovery of support. The latter is essential to be in balance when hitting your first volley: this is true with 4 players and even more so with 2!

Conversely, on this single court, the server may very well choose not to go to the net immediately and wait for a more favorable ball to do so. But it's taking the risk of letting the receiver conquer the net before you. The bonus to the server being less, the two-player game therefore favors a large number of breaks...

A game where it is better to limit the risks

Does the risk pay off? It's tempting to think that hitting hard on a small pitch pays off. This is a misconception. With the sidewalls being much closer than on a large pitch, any off-center ball and rough placement could lead to a foul. Clearly, the attacker has a much lower margin of error than on a large pitch. Conversely, the more likely a ball is to hit one or more walls, the more the defender will be able to catch it.

A single court therefore promotes a more wait-and-see game and encourages risk limitation. With all due respect to powerful tennis players practicing a “padel percentage”, the solo game pushes to play the Spanish and therefore to tend towards “zero fault”. A good habit to get into before returning to a court for four…

Question of scales.- If a land of padel of 20 x 10 m seems tiny when you come from a tennis court, it seems giant after testing a court of 20 x 6 m. To adapt to the latter is to take the risk of being completely lost – at least temporarily – by returning to the game of four. Added to this loss of bearings, there is a different management of angles depending on whether you are playing on a width of 6 or 10 m.

In the foreground the new single court of Squash 3000 in Mulhouse

A higher pleasure? The answer to this question is obviously subjective. In just one hour of play, it is difficult to take as much pleasure as on a classic track whose geometry is much better controlled. But once the benchmarks have been acquired, the padel two has something to seduce. The strategy is different there, there is no risk of bickering with your partner and the physical effort is greater than with four.

But it's also the case when playing on a large field diagonally, an excellent exercise which has the advantage of not causing any loss of bearings. It's up to you to test and let us know your opinion on the matter by commenting on this article.

After 40 years of tennis, Jérôme falls into the pot of padel in 2018. Since then, he thinks about it every morning while shaving… but never shaves pala in hand! Journalist in Alsace, he has no other ambition than to share his passion with you, whether you speak French, Italian, Spanish or English.