Despite the many similarities with tennis, the distinguishing feature of padel is the limits of the court, marked by concrete or glass walls. This is not only an aesthetic sign, but it is another game resource that many beginner players do not know how to handle at first. We are going to explain when you should play with walls in a padel match.
It is a very important facet to take into account, because it can make the difference in a match against a couple of similar or slightly higher level. By mastering this, you will be able to save a lot of points and add another resource to your game. However, you need to know when to play with walls and how to do it.
When to play with walls
Playing with walls has its requirements, because you have to be well positioned and know in advance what trajectory the ball is going to take. Also, you have to follow that same trajectory to get a good ball, so you can’t just wait for the ball to magically come back to you. If you do that, the bounce will probably be longer or shorter, and you won’t be able to get to the ball properly.
This physical activation must occur on every ball you let bounce off the wall or glass, because there are balls that you have to hit first before bouncing, thus preventing the ball from dying.
In the case of the back wall boast, it is a somewhat different resource, because it is applied in situations where there is no other shot left to make, that is, as a last option. It should not be used more than necessary, because these shots are more difficult to master and there is a greater chance of the ball coming up short or going in any direction. Therefore, use it when the ball has passed you, and you cannot get there any other way.
Types of padel wall strokes
Now that we have explained when you should play with the wall, we are going to differentiate each type of shot you can make.
Off the wall smash
This is a resource that can be used when the opponent throws a lob towards the back of the court, as the bounce of the ball is usually at the top of the wall. At that moment, you can take advantage of the fall of the ball to try a shot other than returning a lob. To set up the shot, you must stretch your arm backwards with the paddle upwards and the head of the paddle pointing towards the back wall, waiting for the ball to come out. If the ball bounces higher than waist high, it is advisable to make an aggressive shot that allows you to take control of the game.
A good situation to prepare a better response to the opponent’s shot, avoiding hitting the ball first and with all the haste in the world. To wait for the ball, we will be behind the baseline and with a semi-open position, more closed than in the case of the back wall. The shot should be made from the back to the front and from the bottom to the top, in such a way that the padel racket points towards the opponent’s wall and all the weight of the impact falls on the front foot.
Back wall boast
As we mentioned before, this is a resource that you can use in borderline situations and when there is no remedy. Especially when the ball has completely overtaken you, you have it behind you, and you only have to turn to bounce the ball off the glass, using a bottom-up movement with the racket so that the ball doesn’t come out flat. It has to be a very well marked shot, because it must be powerful enough to pass the net and not leave an easy ball for the opponent, at the same time it must avoid hitting the glass of the other court, as it would be a lost point.
Double closing wall: back wall + side wall
In this situation, the ball reaches the leg closest to the side wall, from where it will come out. To resolve this situation there are two options: to open up and hit backhand (forehand if you play a drive) or to follow the entire trajectory of the ball with your body and hit at the end.
Double wall opening: side wall + back wall
If your opponent hits a very cross-court shot or the ball hits the side wall first, there are times when you should consider double bouncing off the wall. This movement allows you to return the ball in a more natural and less hurried way than if you were to return it with the bounce on the side glass. To do this, they have to be balls, because otherwise the ball will fall and will not be able to reach the side wall. Once you spot it, you just have to turn and follow the trajectory of the ball to return it.
Our friends from The Padel School explain us in this video how to play in the corners from the right side:
And how to do it in the left corner:
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