Nowadays, we can still see a lot of academic professionals in universities, professors in methodology courses, and coaches on the court talking about the “technique” of a single shot or movement as if there were only one way to do it. Let’s see what the scientific evidence has to say about this and our personal opinion on the “perfect technique.”

Repetition without repetition

Bernstein (1967), who studied blacksmiths cutting sheet metal by hitting a chisel with a hammer, discovered that the best professionals were the ones who had variable movement patterns, breaking the myth of the “perfect and repeatable technique” that prevailed at the time. With his project, Bernstein discovered that the key is not to always repeat the same movement regardless of the conditions but to have a certain amount of variability to adapt functionally to the changing conditions of the environment.

Players are complex systems, which means they have the ability to adapt their movements to different situations while achieving the same goal. Remember that not every ball comes in the same way and our position is not the same every time. Therefore, the concept of “repetition without repetition” emerged: learning to produce the same outcome using different movements. Optimal performance does not require one correct movement technique, but rather variable movement patterns to be able to adapt to the demands of each situation.

What implications does this have in padel training?

The first message is to forget about trying to repeat the same movement pattern in every situation. The shot I hit now will not be reproduced in the future, and it is different from all the shots I have made in the past. It is impossible to hit every ball the same way since every situation is different. This does not mean that we have general movement patterns installed in our software and we reorganize them to achieve a specific goal.

The second message is to forget about “the perfect technique.” Nobody hits the ball in the same way, not even professionals. You can compare the volleys of Galan, Lebron, Paquito, Salazar, or Marrero, and you will see that each shot is different. However, the outcome in all cases is brilliant.

The third message is to focus on outcomes and not on shots or movements. Why are we still teaching standardized movements? Is there one recipe that you have to follow to achieve one specific movement? You can still see many videos on social media teaching you a “víbora” with a recipe: the elbow at 90º, the racket behind the head, the grip rotated to eastern backhand, the contact point at the eyes-level, etc. Instead of that, why not focus on keeping the net with the overhead shot and keeping the ball as low as we can?

The role of the coach in “technique”

I am sorry, coach, but the player will find a way to hit the ball with or without your help. What we coaches can do is to facilitate the path so that the players find the most effective and flexible movement for them. This does not mean that the same movement that is effective for one player will be for another player too.

Let’s expose the player to scenarios where they can explore different movements and help them find and feel the movements they are comfortable with, which will enable them to achieve the desired outcome.


Bernstein, N. A. (1967). The co-ordination and regulation of movements. Pergamon Press.