The ULTIMATE Guide To Padel Positioning (30+Tips)

What is the biggest mistake throughout padel? Bad padel positioning.

Bad padel positioning will leave you struggling on court. Feeling as if you are never in the right place, and cannot do anything from taking things off the back wall, to hitting your overheads properly. 

So let’s go through why padel positioning is SO crucial, and tips to stop you losing matches because of it.

padel positioning

Why Is Padel Positioning So Important?

Padel positioning effects every type of shot you play. You are a LOT more likely to get a ball back effectively when you are in the right place at the right time. 

A couple metres out can make a HUGE difference. 

Have you ever had a coaching session and had 40 balls fed to you, why is this so much easier than in a game?

Because the balls are in the same place, and your positioning is PERFECT for the balls.

We need to be in the right place always

Padel is actually so easy, when you are in the right place. 

Every single shot you need to focus on moving your feet and moving to each ball FIRST, then you can hit. 

A very common mistake I see is someone swinging before they are in the right position. 

Especially off the back wall.

Move First, Then Hit

Preparation is SO important!

As soon as the ball comes towards you, you need to move your feet, and prepare your racket. 

If you are lazy with your movement, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

2 situations where this is crucial

1 – When you receive a high ball when you are at the net:

  • Your focus should be moving the feet back as quick as possible to play your bandeja or overhead.
  • Make sure you get behind the ball, if you hit off balance it cannot go well.
 
2 – When using the back or side wall at any time
 
  • I believe that you can dig a lot more balls than you can think, it is just getting your feet in the right place first.
  •  Don’t lean to any ball, move first, then hit. You don’t need a big swing! You can get to the ball and have plenty of time.

What Is The Best Defensive Position?

Our defensive position should be consistent.

Good defensive padel positioning will help you win the net.

So where should we stand?

Let’s imagine that because we are defending, the opponents are at the net.

We need to stay where we are, which should be behind the white line, mid way between the glass and the white line.

A lot of players move forward or move too far backwards, however this will make it harder for us to defend and make the call of playing before or after the wall.

Look at the image below, check out the positioning of the players in red.

padel positioning
Look at the defensive position of the two players in red.

How To Position For The Back Wall?

The following factors effect the bounce off the back wall:

  • Speed (big factor)
  • Spin (big factor)
  • Angle (big factor)
  • Height (medium factor)
  • Temperature (small factor)
  • Wet or dry conditions (big factor)

For arguments sake, let’s say we are in dry conditions, if you want to know how to play padel in the winter check out this article.

Let’s break down each factor.

Speed

How fast was the ball hit? The faster the ball, the more you move forward, and also the faster the ball will fly off the back wall.

Spin

If there is slice, you need to position yourself lower and closer to the wall in order to dig the ball out. Alternatively, with topspin, you need to move forward,  and the ball may kick out to the right, so movement to the right is also needed.

Angle

What direction did the ball come from? If there is a harsh angle, you need to position yourself away from the ball as it will come towards you.

Height

You may need to move further forward, if the ball hits a higher part of the glass it will go further forward.

Temperature

Hotter balls bounce more, so more movement forward will be needed in hot conditions, in the cold weather, your positioning needs to be closer and lower to the walls.

Padel Positioning Tips for the Corner

You finally get to grips with one wall, and now you have to learn how to deal with two. This frustrates a lot of players! They struggle to defend the corner a lot.

Yet again, the positioning for the corner, is the same as the back wall, you need to judge the same factors, and it is all about getting your feet in the right place.

There is 2 options for defending the corner

When the ball hits the side wall first, and then is going to hit the back wall. You have two choices.

  1. 360 degree turn with the ball and then play.
  2. Move out and away from the walls in order to defend

The clip below (3:34:40) shows the player doing a 360 turn in order to return the ball. He is quick on his toes and turns with the ball.

This type of padel positioning is hard to teach, it is something that should come naturally with instinct. 

The next clip below (31:00) shows the player moving away from the ball, her positioning is  a quick and early movement away from the walls.

If it hits the back wall first

So we covered the padel positioning for if the ball hits the side wall first, but what about the back wall?

Again, the tip “move first, then hit” is CRUCIAL for this. 

The reason why people struggle with this is because they have to move out of the way of the ball first, and then try and get to it. 

Again, we can do the same options before, where we either do a 360 turn and play, or we can move out the way of it and then play.

Pro's and con's for turning vs not turning

For turning:

Pro’s:

  • You follow the ball
  • Natural movement
  • Can be easy to react as you are watching it all the way

Con’s 

  • You aren’t facing forwards so you can’t see the opponents
  • May get dizzy
  • Hard to train, because you don’t want the client to get dizzy/disoriented training it.

 

For not turning:

Pro’s

  • Simpler movement
  • You can see the opponent 
  • Less movement required

Con’s

  • Hard to judge where the ball is going
  • May have to move out the way of the ball first and then play

Relax

Relax and do what is best for you, but remember with our positioning, we must be quick, and have early movement.

The Most Crucial Padel Positioning Advice

What is the most important padel positioning movement?

Running to the net. 

Now I don’t want to go into this too much, because I know a lot of people know this and it is basic padel positioning. 

To sum up, the net is where we win 90% of the points, so we need to get there if we want to win matches.

If you want to know why we should run to the net, check this article out.

What Is No Man's Land?

Another huge piece of advice for padel positioning! We must avoid no man’s land at all costs!

When we get stuck in this position, it makes it incredibly hard to volley or defend. If the ball goes past us as well, we are in big trouble.

padel positioning
The player closest is creeping into no mans land.

Follow The Partner

You and your partner should be a unit. A team that works together pressuring the opponent and getting results. Both of your padel positioning should be in sync.

If you play out of sync with your partner then it is a recipe for disaster.

If you are at the net, and your partner is at the back, then the opponent will just hit to your partner, as they are not in a threatening position.

It then allows your opponent to take the net, and then you are in a difficult position to win the point. 

Look at the image below, you have two players at the net and two at the back, both in sync.

padel positioning

Conclusion - Padel Positioning

In conclusion padel positioning is one of the most important tools to master. With good positioning, you will save energy, and find it a lot easier to play your shots. 

Follow all of these tips, but the best advice would be to just keep practising and playing. Positioning comes naturally over time the more you play, but these tips will help you get there quicker.

“The Ultimate Guide To Padel Positioning” – Ewan Ramsden

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