A "bandeja" "tray shot" is a specific and symbolic padel stroke that does not exist in tennis.
From a tactical point of view, this stroke was created to cover the net after receiving a rival’s high and deep lob impossible to hit back with the classic stroke of volley shots. Thanks to shooting back a long, low (towards the feet) and low-power ball, players can protect themselves against a rival’s counterattack when moving towards the net.
The name "bandeja" (in Spanish) or "tray" literally refers to the trays that waiters use to serve drinks. This name describes the way in which the head of the racket is placed, which is face up and to one of the sides of the players’ head.
The tray shot is classified within the smash category or as a below-the-head shot when it happens on the net, although it technically looks more like a high and sided volley. Statistically speaking, eight out of ten smashes are tray shots.
During preparation, it is important for the players to stand sideways and then adjust their position to the ball or the lob in order to be ready to hit the ball at head level (not any higher) and then move forward towards the net (really important!).
During this sided shot, players must move their arm and the head of the racket forward, providing the racket with a downward movement to slide the ball. Players must avoid hitting the ball too strongly, so that they can extend their contact with the ball as much as possible and thus direct it downwards. During the shot, players must stand sideways and rotate their shoulders to enhance the impulse of the arm moving forward. If right-handed, they must move their right shoulder forward.
If they move the upper part of the racket forwards to finish well the shot, they will be able to obtain a very deep ball that, at best and if played diagonally, will be directed towards the feet of their opponents.
Regarding the area, the tray shot is generally played diagonally (both towards the wall or the rival's feet) or in the centre of the court. This shot can also be played along the line, but this is a risky practice (the side wall attracts the ball).
A good padel player should master the tray shot: it's a very used and useful stroke.
It’s time to play now!
Author: Kristina Clément