You play a padel match for fun, but also secretly to win. But you don't just win. The opponent will also do everything possible to step off the track as the winner. Out of the will to win, you quickly opt for the attack, but sometimes it is smarter to focus on your defense. Defense and control is just as important in padel. If you have your defense in order, you can resist your opponent and create new opportunities for you and your partner.
But how do you create control and calmness while defending? And how do you then convert that into resistance so that you can control the match again? This article discusses the three most important factors that are essential for your defense and how you can improve it.
When you're defending you need to be able to react quickly and alertly, so it's important to take an active stance. Most of the balls you will have to defend will be low and deep. Make sure that you can react quickly to the blows of the opponent with both your upper and lower body. You do this by holding your racket in front of you and your legs bent. By adopting this position, your body is low in the center of gravity, so you can quickly change direction and give the ball power during the recoil.
Another important point to pay attention to when defending is your position on the court. Your defensive position should always be behind the line, this is the defense zone. Most importantly, make sure you never defend in the middle of the lane (transition zone), this is the worst possible place to defend. This is because the opponent can play the ball at your feet, which makes it very difficult for you to hit the ball back.
In the picture you can see the different zones in the field and where the defense zone is located.
As you know there are different types of strokes in padel. When you are defending you will have to react to the different blows.
- Defending a smash
When defending a smash you have to pay close attention to the height at which the opponent hits the ball. When the ball is returned at the level of his/her chest, you must stay close to the glass behind. However, when the opponent hits the ball above his/her head, you have to go forward, because there is a good chance that the ball will bounce 'far' from the glass.
- Defending a lob
How you defend a lob depends on the location of the lob. When the lob is deep you have to let it bounce, when the lob comes in front it is best to hit it back immediately.
- Defending a backspin
Defending a spin is very difficult, these balls will often bounce directly on the ground after hitting the back wall. To hit these balls back, it's best to make sure your point of contact is in front of you, by bending your legs so that you're almost against the glass. In addition, keep your racket ready by pulling it back.
TIP: Try changing the speed of your strokes to surprise the opponent.