Le return of service au padel is one of those moves that can quickly make a difference. Well done, it will give you the advantage, badly done, you will be on the defensive.
This is the first shot your team makes when you are not serving, so there is not a point that goes without it. So let's tackle this interesting topic so that you avoid giving gifts with free points from the first ball hit.
First, the side. Today with the “punto de oro” the balance is restored, but in players who use “the advantage”, the left side on the track is a complicated side since you play all the important points. It will therefore be essential to make the effort to return well if you are on the left.
Learn to return past the side windows
This is certainly the most important subject to work on. If you're comfortable with defending the side window, all of your returns will be a snap. Learn to read the trajectory, to position yourself correctly to return this ball which will bounce with more or less speed on the side window. The waiters are still trying to play towards the side window. If you show them that you are comfortable, their game will be more complicated.
Play the server
During a first service, try to return to the server. Why ? Because it is the person who goes forward unlike his partner who is already placed. This player will have to move forward, and if you play on his body, he will have to adjust his placement to volley. His volley may be imprecise, his placement may be imperfect, and you will have the opportunity to gain the advantage with the next shot.
Important also, the fact of turning over in a rectilinear way. On a first serve, the ball goes quite quickly, much faster than on a second. If you play to the front, you are using ball speed to return. You will need little effort for effective feedback.
And the lob?
The lob is used in 2 cases: when the service is very well done and we have to move back to impact the ball, or when the ball is slower, easier to play, where we can find maximum control and precision.
So we can say that the defense lob will occur during a fast and deep first serve or towards the center of the track, far from our comfort zone, and that the attack lob will be achieved on a second serve, generally slower, easier to master.
Little risk taking
This is the mistake that we can often observe from the edge of the slopes. Returners sometimes attempt winning shots or very precise balls with a return. We will see passing attempts, balls played very hard in the direction of the volleyball players, or even “chiquitas” in the feet or short-crossed towards the grid to put pressure on the opponents.
The idea is good, but certainly too risky. Remember especially that if this move does not work, it is a gift point for your opponents. Apply to turn around, to make your opponents volley, to make them play and “work” so that during the point you can take this risk. Because it is better to make the mistake after 4 or 5 touches of balls than at the first. Your mind and that of your partner will suffer less.
To put it simply, work your way back. In the first place the defense of the side window in order to show your opponents that you are comfortable. Then learn to differentiate difficult balls to play from easy balls, and make the right decision; the lob of defense, of attack or the straight ball. Finally, make your opponents play by forcing them to volley, adjust their position, bend down to impact the ball, return to the bottom of the track or even perform a bandeja.
The playing options are manifold for a comeback, but can very quickly narrow if you realize the fault. So let's get to work!
Julien Bondia is a teacher of padel in Tenerife. He is the founder of AvantagePadel.net, a software very popular with clubs and players of padel. Columnist and advisor, he helps you to play better through his many tutorials padel.