Join us for four days in Bilbao, where we tested an intensive and tailor-made course in the academy of Andoni Bardasco, former 25th player in the world.
For any lover of padel, going to Spain to do an internship is a dream that has sometimes been cherished for a long time but is not always easy to make come true. Obviously, the offers are numerous, but the selection criteria are delicate.
The price is perhaps the one we consider first, but should not sweep aside all others. Pay cheap to do an internship in a “factory” dedicated to padel, where teachers speaking kitchen English (and sometimes playing less well than you!) bombard their students with deflated balls, is obviously not the best formula.
Beyond the budget, the first criterion to take into account is of course the quality of the teachers and their ability to analyze your game, your needs and to implement the means to allow you to progress. Be careful, don't expect to come out of a week of training with the level of play of Paquito Navarro. Become another player padel sometimes involves starting from scratch or almost, rethinking your game to lose bad habits. But acquiring good habits, good technical gestures, new playing patterns and especially the automatisms that go with them cannot be done in a few days.
The intern that you are must therefore demonstrate humility and patience, even if it means taking notes as a diligent student to then implement what they have learned during their internship. Ultimately, it’s a bit like a psychologist: it’s not the therapist – however good he may be – who does the job, but the patient. At padel, even with Belasteguin as coach, you are the one on the pitch facing the ball and the opponents!
Four Alsatians, aged 24 to 53
That being said, follow us towards Bilbao, in the Spanish Basque Country, during an intensive course in the academy Padel Stuff. This is inseparable fromAndoni Bardasco, ex-world No. 25 when he was only in his twenties. Unfortunately, his career was shattered by a succession of injuries, to the point that he had to end it at just 26 years old. In 2020, he joined forces with Iñaki Loredo to offer courses in French and English to players of all levels. And for several months, Andoni and Iñaki have been joined by Paul Daulan, a young French instructor whose Padel Magazine recounts the adventure in Bilbao, both as a player and as a coach.
Alongside this trio of passionate experts in padel, we are four Alsatians who came to Bilbao in November for an immersion course at Padel Stuff : Romain, 24 years old, Justine, 27 years old, Michel, 35 years old and your servant Jérôme, 53 years old. For four days, Andoni and Paul warmly welcome us and supervise us in the very beautiful club where they practice. Temple of climbing with an international reputation, the Biwak Climbing is also a club of padel indoor with six tracks, a ceiling height of more than 15 meters, a fitness room and a pretty restaurant-brasserie.
Five hours of padel day
In this perfectly adapted location, we devote five hours a day to padel, mixing technique, exercises, matches with (and without) constraints and video analysis of our practices. Quickly, we are struck by reading the game that Andoni offers. A coach with his expertise is able to dissect each of your shots with impressive precision and finesse of analysis. The movement, the preparation, the shot plan, the support of the ball, the replacement: no detail of your game escapes his expert eye. And to confirm this, videos allow students to visualize with their own eyes, frame by frame, what the coach teaches them through words. Nothing better to realize your faults and remedy them by copying the actions of a professional player.
The specificity of Padel Stuff is teaching in French (Andoni Bardasco speaks it perfectly) or in English, allowing you to concentrate 100% on the padel : “It’s hard enough learning new things about padel, believes Andoni, “there’s no need to complicate your life by doing it in a foreign language that you don’t know well.”
Adapt to each person
Among internship formulas offered Padel Stuff, we chose the most intensive, called “Full padel »: in our case, we have two coaches and two tracks for four players. In short, the ideal conditions to adapt teaching to the needs of each individual and work in depth on technique, tactics and even on the psychological aspects of the game, if necessary. We were all struck by the capacity for adaptation that Andoni demonstrated, like a top-flight couturier making tailor-made products based on the measurements (and tastes!) of his models. The promise found on the website Padel Stuff is therefore not an empty word: “The training that each player needs is different, the mission of Padel Stuff is also to adapt to each person and personalize the lessons both in the technical part and in the tactics.
As the two testimonials below show, each player profile will therefore find in Bilbao an education which corresponds precisely to their expectations, their level and their physical form: either an intensive practice oriented towards competition, or a more focused approach about the pleasure of the game and sharing. Without forgetting the tourist visits to the capital of the Spanish Basque Country and its superb region. It would be a shame to deprive yourself!
More information on Padel Stuff HERE
Justine Fostier, 27 years old: “This internship opened up immense horizons for me”
“My objectives were to know how to better position myself on the court, break a little my automatisms from tennis and create new automatisms from padel to no longer play out of tune. I also wanted to learn how to defend better and build my points intelligently.
This internship went very well, we were very well supervised by Andoni and Paul. The fact that they spoke French made learning easier because there were no communication problems. We also really appreciated the setting of the club, with its six pitches, a good atmosphere and a pleasant catering area, with the added bonus of the possibility of visiting and even trying climbing. We were really pampered and very well received during this week in Bilbao.
The course itself was very intense in terms of the information stored. Concerning me, Andoni helped me to review the classic shots, in particular the lob, the returns of serve, the serve, the bandeja. He helped me modify the automatisms coming from tennis, while teaching me how to better position myself on the court after my shots or those of my partners. So, it completely met my expectations: I managed to position myself better in the field, to gradually acquire automatisms padel. So I progressed enormously thanks to this internship, I also discovered other tactical ways of seeing the padel, which opens up an immense horizon on what it is possible to do in this sport. So I recommend Padel Stuff with my eyes closed and I can't wait to do another internship with them. »
Michel Haemmerlin, 35 years old: “A beneficial job”
“I went to Bilbao to perfect my smashes, learn the bandeja, positioning during the game and some other tips from padel. In summary, it was a very complete and very informative course, with good interaction with Andoni and Paul. They allowed me to better understand certain game systems and the way of playing, particularly on service returns. The difference is now clearly felt in my game. The service has also been revised and that makes a lot of points easier to win now with better service than before the course. Understanding where to play the balls on serve returns was very enlightening. This annoys and surprises opponents during matches.
The work of the bandeja has been beneficial for me, even if the use is not yet efficient enough. Above all, you have to think about the placement on each ball and the position of the body before each shot. This will come with time. For smashes, a good lesson on placement under the ball and how to play it with the right area to look for. This is good in matches.
Direct play was also discussed and it was quite physical at the time. It’s a good lesson in how to move depending on how the ball arrives. The few warm-up exercises learned are perfect with friends before starting a session. In summary, it was a good internship that was worth it with very attentive and professional people. »
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.