An old mentor once explained me that in padel you control de match from the defense and you propose a playing style from the attack. The first time I heard it I thought: “This could not be right. If, as it is commonly said, it is difficult to score from the defense, how could you ever win a match? Furthermore, it is commonly known that at padel you want to keep the attacking position for as long as possible to be able to score”
Time and experience thought me that he was right. When you are a good defender the concept of time changes. Every second becomes longer. You feel that you have more time to decide what to do next, to breathe, return the ball and think. But the consequences go further than this. See this:
• First, you will make less unforced errors
• Second, your opponent will get anxious. The longer the rally, the more risks he will take to score against you. Thus, he will make more forced errors.
• Third, you will get more chances to counter attack and score.
• Lastly, as a defender, you will eventually get your chance to attack. And because the opposing team is not a good defender, you will score against them.
Unfortunately, learning to defend is not the most popular thing to learn among beginners and intermediate players. Most people want to learn to attack because it looks better. “I want to learn to smash hard”, many people say. As a good attacker, you will probably become the hero of your club. However, probably not the best player there.
The same logic could be applied to other racket sports. For example, watch this video featuring Koji Matsushita, regarded as one of the best defenders in Table-Tennis. The guy takes comfortably a defending position. He waits for a good opportunity to attack while profiting from the mistakes of his opponent.
I hope this tip helps you to become a better padel player.
*Norberto Nesi is Coach of the Dutch National Padel Team