Walls are an essential feature of padel and, as such, so too are shots involving them.
Off-the-back-wall shots are always made from a defensive position in padel, at the back of the court. It's common for opponents to try and put you on the spot by playing deep, fast balls, shots with spin, slower balls, lobs… all to take you out of position and allow them to win the point. As a general rule, whenever the ball bounces off the base line or deeper, you should hit it after it rebounds off the wall. Mastering off-the-back-wall shots is essential if you want to respond to these attacks from your opponent and regain the upper hand in the point.
Before starting with the technical explanation of how to play this type of shot, it's essential to comment on the importance of “reading the ball”. You need to anticipate where the ball will go depending on the speed, height or spin it carries. It is essential to be in the right place in time to prepare for the shot.
Now, what phases are involved in off-the-back-wall shots?
The preparation phase is usually the first phase for any of the shots we attempt at the back of the court. Before playing an off the back wall shot:
- After “reading” your opponent’s shot, you need to anticipate where the ball will go after hitting the wall, analyse whether the shot is parallel or crossed, its power and its spin.
- Move yourself into the required position you’ve anticipated as quickly as possible.
- Watch and follow the movement of the ball, it might help to point at it with your left hand (or with your right if you’re left-handed).
When playing shots in padel, the most important thing to remember is to always show your shoulder to the net. With this in mind, here are the guidelines for correct positioning:
- Turn your shoulders and step backwards to position yourself completely side-on with the ball, adjusting your position with small steps.
- Pull the racket back and adjust the height according to the height of the ball. With low balls, it’s essential that you bend your knees.
- Let the ball pass through to the wall. Once it rebounds, place yourself between the wall and the ball so that you can hit it in front of you.
Once you’ve positioned your arm, it’s time to make impact with the ball and play the shot:
- Try to make the impact when the ball is at the highest point of its flight after rebounding off the wall.
- Hit the ball in front of your body, letting the ball pass you (you should always be between the wall and the ball).
- You’ll have to bend more or less depending on the height of the ball. If the ball is low, you’ll have to bend more and play the shot closer to the ground.
- After playing the ball, your racket should end up in line with your left shoulder, as if you were wearing a scarf.
- At the same time, it's important to shift the weight of your body to the front leg.
Once you’ve hit the shot, remember to get back in position to continue playing.
Check out the video to see in detail how Agustín Tapia, Mapi S. Alayeto and Miguel Lamperti do it, three magicians of #TeamNox who are a joy to watch in every match.
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