Present at Padel Horizon for National 1 interclubs in order to encourage his girlfriend Wendy Barsotti and admire the show, professional handball player Valentin Porte tells us about his love for padel.
Right-handed in handball, left-handed in padel
“In handball, I am left-handed, a characteristic that sets me apart on the pitch. But when it comes to padel, I play with my right hand. It's a situation which, I think, limits my progress in this sport a little. If I played with my left hand padel, I am convinced that I could do more and be more comfortable. But nature has made me more comfortable with my right hand so I adapt.
The problem currently is that I have a competitive side so I want to compete and try to climb the rankings (Editor's note: it is currently 2378th), but it is not really possible because I have a job in the busy time with handball… I play for fun and I intend to progress further.”
His heart is swinging...
My heart swings between several clubs, in particular because of personal and friendly links. I'm a supporter of Palavas, where my girlfriend plays and where I have many friends. I go there regularly to play but I am officially a member of the Hauts de Nîmes club. Negotiations are underway with Palavas, and who knows, maybe I will change clubs soon!
Two weeks in Spain to progress
“I have to admit that taking lessons would probably benefit my technique and my understanding of the game. But, with my busy schedule, it is difficult to find slots to take lessons. So, whenever I have a free moment, I prefer to organize a game with friends. I have the chance, perhaps thanks to my sporting background, to quickly assimilate techniques and strategies just by observing. Watching tournaments or videos helps me a lot.
This summer, I spent two weeks in Spain to train seriously, and I saw how lessons with good teachers can accelerate progress.”
Handball players have their place padel
“What I particularly appreciate about padel, this is its collective aspect. Even if there are only two of us per team, communication and mutual assistance are essential, just like in handball. With my partner, Rémi Desbonnet, who is a handball goalkeeper for the French and Montpellier teams, we have developed a bond that allows us to understand each other easily.
This chemistry has helped us progress and reach levels of competition we never imagined, like a P1000 table. And then, there is this pleasure of challenging the players of padel, to show them that we have our place.”
“Moving from handball to padel, it’s changing the world. From a ball sport to a racquet sport, the transition is not easy, especially for someone like me who does not have a background in racquet sports. What I find in both disciplines is the importance of the collective, strategy and communication. With Rémi, we apply padel the principles of handball.
It is this transfer of skills that gives us an advantage. We have a different way of approaching matches. THE padel also allows me to escape, to get away from the daily professional life of handball. It’s a breath of fresh air, a way to meet new people and have different experiences.”
A balance to be found
“Finding the balance between my professional career in handball and my passion for padel is a real challenge. With a schedule full of training, matches and travel, it is not always easy to make time for the padel. However, I cannot imagine my rest days without physical activity. I'm what you might call hyperactive, except of course when I'm extremely tired.
My coaches do not strictly forbid me from playing other sports on my days off, as long as it does not harm my handball performance. It’s certain that the day I start sticking my tongue out on the pitch, they will tell me to stop.”
His diagonal with Alix Collombon…
“I haven't had a chance to play diagonals with Wendy yet, but it's something we're considering. So far we've played a few matches together, and I have to admit to having a slight advantage over her. However, I made a diagonal with Alix Collombon, I was very tired, I was coming out of a tournament, she was in great shape and there were still some close games, but I took 6-0… I know it was close, I don't I didn't take 40-0 in every game anyway. But there will be revenge!”
New follower of padel, I am fascinated by this dynamic sport which combines strategy and agility. I find in the padel a new passion to explore and share with you on Padel Magazine.