10 Padel Coaching Tips: Become A Better Coach
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I have been padel coaching for over 4 years now, and over that time I have made a lot of mistakes, but also learnt how to drastically improve the quality of my sessions, so that clients not only improve faster, but also have a great time.
Here are my BEST 10 padel coaching tips. Enjoy!
1. Build Up Lessons Slowly
This is the first of the 10 padel coaching tips, and it is about patience.
When you are coaching someone, it is important to be really patient, and not try to rush to get results.
When I first started coaching, I would often try to do a bit of coaching on the volleys, then go to defence, then do some serves, then do some boasts and so on for the hour session.
This was mostly because I was so excited to show them these shots, and I would be satisfied even if they were performing them with 50% technique.
Short term it was good…but long term, it was never going to be beneficial for them.
If I am coaching now, I think about what shot I am going to teach a client, and then think of a lesson plan to teach that, and then spend 80% of the lesson focusing on that.
For example, the forehand volley.
Forehand Volley Lesson Plan
- Ask them about the forehand volley, how often do they use, when do they use it in a match, where are they aiming it, what is their technique like.
- Demonstrate the forehand volley, correcting anything that they misunderstood about it
- Get them to hand feed themselves practising a forehand volley.
- Then hand feed them, up close
- Progress to feeding from mid way up the court
- Progress to feeding from the back of the court
- Play the point out, where the first ball is the forehand volley
This method slowly builds the players confidence, and you can easily take it forward a few steps if the client is finding it easy, or take it back a step if the client is struggling.
2. Ask Questions
It is so easy to hop on court with a client or a group and say “right, today we are learning the bandeja. So the purpose of the bandeja is to maintain the net, the technique for bandeja is this, you need to play this shot…”
If you do this you are setting yourself up for disengaged or confused clients.
You need to have a CLEAR idea of how much your clients know.
Have they practised this shot before? Have they watched videos online of this shot? Do they know the idea but not the technique?
So the first thing to do when you have a client, and you are working on a new shot or concept, is to ask THEM questions.
I want to know what they know, and what they don’t know. Clients will feel heard and be more motivated if you have asked them what they struggle with, and they get the chance to explain exactly the part they find difficult.
If you DON’T ask, and just start teaching, some clients will stop listening, because they know it already, and other clients will be confused because they may have never practised this shot before.
If a client says they DO know about a shot, I will continue asking them about it, to see if they understand it fully, and to see if there is anything we can improve.
So talk to your clients, ask them questions, and watch how much more focused your lessons will become.
3. Teach Something New (Every Time)
Most of the clients that you teach at padel, are not as enthusiastic as you are.
You have to constantly make lessons feel fresh and exciting, in order to keep your clients engaged, and get the best out of them.
So if you have repeat clients that are booked in each week, always try and think of new drills, exercises, and information that they can learn.
Every session, I try and bring something new, even if we are still working on the same shot, it might be as simple as recording them doing it, and then watching it back together.
Or maybe a new drill, or just some new tips and insight always go down well.
I find this especially useful when teaching groups.
Don't Teach Them Everything
Again, a mistake I made, when I first started coaching, was trying to teach my client anything and everything about the sport of padel.
The information was overwhelming, and then I found about 10 lessons in, I had practically told them everything about the sport.
I needed to actually WITHHOLD information and tips.
This wasn’t a trick to keep the clients coming back each week and have each one last for longer, but instead, to not overwhelm with too much information, and allow me to work on a new concept each week.
4. Make It Fun
This is something so many padel coaches forget.
I like to remind myself, why does this client want to improve? Why does this client want to play padel?
Because it is fun!
The whole point of people playing, and learning this sport, is for enjoyment and fun.
So the lessons that they take, have also gotta be fun.
But how can you make your padel sessions more fun?
Ways To Make Your Padel Sessions Fun
- Bring lots of energy and enthusiasm to the sessions, from the start, to the end.
- Start the session with a fun, warm up game, rather than just hitting from the back.
- Finish the session with a game or a match.
- Have a joke, or banter with the client during these games.
- Encourage lots of conversation with your clients. When collecting balls make sure to always be talking, getting to know them better etc.
- Add stakes, sometimes I offer a free grip or ball at the end, so small but adds another layer to the game you are playing.
- Prioritise the first 5 and the last 5 minutes of the session to be the most fun.
If you are doing a coaching matchplay, which I definitely recommend, you can make it really fun by getting another coach on court with you, so you have 2 clients, and 2 coaches.
You and the other coach can then make the match super close and competitive, as well as bantering each other.
Give the client a few tactical tips, and this is a winning session.
5. Make Them Tired
This is another golden rule when your client comes away from a session.
They need to have learnt something, they need to have had fun, but they need to be tired.
This helps that feeling of achievement, and hard work. Again, the client has come to play a sport, to get fitter, and to exercise, so you have to make them work a bit.
You also want to improve their fitness anyway, as part of improving their padel, they need to become fitter.
You also want to build the clients mental strength, and pushing them past their comfort zone is a good way of doing this.
Make sure you do drills which involve the client running backwards and forwards and moving their feet quickly.
When I play a match at the end with my clients, I try to lob them a lot, and play a few drop shots as well!
6. Bring High Energy (Especially To Groups)
You need to set an example to the rest of the group.
If you are lazy on the court, then the clients will be lazy.
If you are quiet, then the clients will be quiet.
But if you bring high energy, lots of movement, and work hard yourself, then this will rub off on your clients, and you will have much better sessions.
I find this works at all levels, kids and teens can be just as lazy at times, and you need to bring that energy from the start, to get them to move their feet properly.
Adults as well can often stand flat footed on the court, so you need to get them bouncing on their toes early.
I have always found that if the session starts well, it usually always ends well, but if it starts a bit slow and sluggish, then it is never the best session, and it is really hard to get the level up after that.
Groups Are The Toughest
Groups can be tricky, because a lot of the time, it will be 4 people that haven’t met, or maybe only played with each other a couple of times, which will naturally lead to people being shy on court.
You want everyone to be chatting, putting effort in, and having good team work.
So as soon as my groups arrive, I chat to them individually and as group, asking them about their week, or their experience of padel (if I do not know them).
You might learn something at the start that you can refer to throughout the session as well.
For example sometimes I might coach someone who has come from Spain, and then you can make references to them having “spanish hands” throughout the session if they play a good shot. Just an example.
7. Keep Training The Same Shots
When I first started teaching my main ladies training group, one of my mistakes was making 1 week on forehand volley, the next on backhand volley, the next on bandeja, and so on.
Eventually, you run out of shots to teach!
The other thing that then happens is the clients have forgotten what they learnt on the forehand volley 16 weeks ago, because we haven’t covered it in a long time, and some clients didn’t even get it spot on when we did learn it.
Some clients may have missed a week as well, so they missed a whole shot.
I have now changed my approach to teaching areas of padel over a few weeks, which is much more effective.
For example, for the past 7-8 weeks, I have been focusing on defence in padel with my ladies group.
This allows me to go over the same shots, weak areas, things the ladies are struggling with, and perfect areas week after week.
This also means if ladies miss a week, they can catch up the week after, but also, the ladies don’t want to miss a week, as they feel like we are working on something important, that is planned and structured for them. Not just a random shot that was picked 5 minutes before they arrived.
If you are teaching 1 on 1’s, you need to get across to your client that each shot will take weeks to get right, and you will notice improvements so much if you keep sticking with the same shot over and over.
8. Take Videos
This is one of the best padel coaching tips for helping clients understand better technique, and they can see things that they didn’t even realise they were doing!
When I first learnt the bandeja myself, it was not a coach that taught it to me, nor was it the constant practice in matches and training.
It was a video.
I watched tonnes of content on Instagram, and every day I would see people playing the bandeja, and then one day, it just clicked for me. I had seen the technique so much that I just knew I could copy it.
It was almost like learning a dance move, you see a dance move so much, and then you can do it yourself.
This is what I encourage clients to do, watch videos of others, but also themselves.
Taking videos also allows them to look back on, after the session is done, so that they can learn when they are not on court with you.
Sometimes I will set up the camera, and then give them tips on video, whilst hand feeding them balls, this way when they watch back, and they also remember the advice I am giving them.
People learn in different ways too, just telling someone something is not effective, SHOWING them however, can be.
9. Plan And Structure (Properly)
One of the most important padel coaching tips is to PLAN.
You could probably get away with a lot of sessions, without any planning.
This is what I did for a long time; Turned up and just winged it.
It can work, but also it can leave the sessions feeling very average, and especially group sessions, people can feel bored and not desperate to come back each week.
First of all, clients can tell when you have planned and when you haven’t. It is so much more obvious than you think.
What Do I Plan For Padel Group Sessions?
- The side the clients prefer
- Which clients will play together (put a left side and a right side together)
- What the lesson focus is
- What drills you will do
- Any key tips/concepts you want to get across
The sessions just flow so much better when planning has gone in, time flies by quicker, and people enjoy them so much more.
10. Take Lessons Yourself
The last of the padel coaching tips is to train yourself.
Just because you are a coach yourself now, doesn’t mean you should stop training!
When you become a padel coach yourself, it is sometimes hard to then have a lesson with another padel coach, because you feel like you should already know everything!
But you have to. You have to keep learning, find new ideas, and keep your sessions fresh.
It is important to steal things from other coaches as well, if you see a great drill from another coach, use it!
Otherwise your lessons can become boring, not just for your clients, but for you also! There is always going to be a better way of doing something.
You Can Still Improve Too
Bad habits can creep into your own game, other coaches can spot that, and see things that you might have not seen.
So keep training, learning, and your sessions will improve!
I hope you enjoyed reading, and you learnt a lot too!
“10 Padel Coaching Tips: Become A Better Coach” – Ewan Ramsden