Let's tackle a tactical point which can help you negotiate the balls with more serenity. Understand the different areas on the track giving them colors will allow you to achieve a better mental state.
Have you ever been frustrated after a difficult ball to defend because you weren't able to return it to the opposing court? Have you ever taken a risk on a ball far from your comfort zone, then realized the foul or offered the point to the players at the net? If these questions disturb you and affect your mind and therefore your game, here are some color tips that will, we hope, relax you.
Giving colors according to the area in which you are on the track can make you aware of the difficulty of the shot to be played, the risks you can take and ultimately improve your game tactics.
The red zone is, you will have guessed it, the most difficult zone. We will take as a reference the length of our pala, which is approximately 40cm. Then we will have as another reference 3 points on the track; the side window, the back wall and the floor. If we place our pala in these 3 places, we will be able to define the red zone. So if we have to play the ball less than 40cm from the side window, less than 40cm from the back wall and the ground, we will try to get the ball across the net without any frills, and if we don't we can't do it, nothing serious, applaud your opponents because this ball was incredible. Being aware of the difficulty of this area will help you fight in your defense and save you unnecessary annoyance.
Let's still take our 3 reference points but change the distance. In addition to the length of the pala, we add the length of our arm to reach one meter. One meter from the side window, one meter from the bottom window and all shots below the belt. Here we are talking about the majority of the balls you will have to negotiate in defense. Do not rush, make your opponents play by forcing them to play one more ball.
The objective here will be to make no mistakes: you cannot afford to “give” points in the orange zone. Play simple, take the time, force your opponents to volley or play high balls and wait for the ball to come into the green zone to attack.
These are simply all the other areas of the track. Beyond the meter of the side window, the back wall and all balls above the belt. It will finally be the time for you to try your luck. Give free rein to your imagination but think that if you are still at the bottom of the track, it would be better first of all to try to put pressure on your opponents to dislodge them from the net. So fast balls, slow balls in the feet, lobsters, let nothing slow you down, you have the right to let go. Know that the fault is part of the equation but it does not matter because if you have access to a ball in the green zone it means that you have worked well before. So no frustration if the ball goes out of bounds.
The work of understanding the zones is very interesting as you progress. This work will make you feel comfortable on the track and you will often make the best decisions. A little extra: if you understand how to defend in the red, orange and green zone, you will know how to attack from the net because those in front of you may not know these zones. Mentally, it can make the difference!
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.