The chiquita is a shot used a lot in padel to counterattack, it is a tactical move that helps you to dominate play, make your opponents move and win at the net.
First of all, you need to be clear about the aim of the chiquita and when to hit it. If your opponent is comfortable volleying or in the middle of the court returning your lob shots then it is time for the chiquita. Normally it is hit from the middle or back of the court, leaving a short and gentle shot that bounces on the opponent´s side but close to the net. This means that if the opponents are in their attacking area, the ball will bounce at their feet and they won´t be able to return it powerfully, thus, it will be easy for you to get a comfortable ball returned so you can volley. If, on the contrary, your opponents are a little further back when returning your lob shots, with the chiquita, you will make them lose that comfortable position.
So, it is clear that the chiquita isn´t a winning or powerful shot, it is a tactical shot that will enable you, in the next shot, to take theinitiative in the point.
Preparation or waiting phase
Before hitting the Chiquita:
- Focus on the trajectory of the ball that the opponent has hit to you.
- Move into the position you have read as quickly as possible and using short side steps.
- Follow the ball with your gaze, while detecting the position of your opponents to see if they have left any gaps.
- In the set-up you need to analyse the height that the ball is coming to you at in order to adjust the height of the set-up.
- It is important for the racket to be underneath the ball, as if you were going to hit a lob (so your opponents cannot predict what you are going to do), with the racket face half-open.
- It is important to bend your legs to adjust the height, lower your centre of gravity before hitting, and then stretch them as the racket strikes the ball.
Once you have set-up your arm, it is time to strike:
- As we have already mentioned, the strike needs to be gentle, slow, prioritising placement over power.
- Normally, the chiquita is hit flat, seeking a trajectory that is uncomfortable for the opponent, to their feet or a gap that they have left. Obviously, you can also put top spin on it to aim for the feet of your opponent if they are close to the net, for example. Or back spin, to make the return shot difficult for your opponent.
After hitting the chiquita it is very important to think about the next shot, you shouldn´t wait for the opponent to return the ball: just after hitting the ball you need to move in the same direction you hit the ball in order to reach the attacking area and be able to volley, this will give you the initiative in the play.
It is important to hit the chiquita when you are certain that you will be able to reach that attacking area, if you are very close to your back wall then it is better to attempt another shot. Your opponent will have a lot of time to read that you are going to hit a chiquita and it will be ineffective.
In the video attached to the article you can see how our stars from Team Nox Agustin Tapia does it.
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