If I were to ask about your diet, chances are that 80% of the time, you consume 20% of the total foods available (such as bread, pasta or salad). Similarly, when you dress in the morning, you gravitate towards just 20% of your entire wardrobe. These examples perfectly embody the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. In this blog post, we’ll delve into how this principle can be applied to game situations in padel.

Revisiting Fundamental Game Situations

As coaches, we often get carried away, tirelessly designing new exercises to simulate special game scenarios for our players. In the process, we sometimes overlook the core game situations that demand our players’ utmost proficiency. It’s crucial to prioritize training in these areas, as they form the foundation of exceptional play.

Two game situations persistently arise during matches. Mastering these situations consistently will yield the greatest benefits and transform you into a formidable player.

Situation 1: Playing High and Low

Any player who effectively commands the game from the backcourt possesses the ability to execute lobs from any defensive position and exploit the resulting space to execute low shots. The concept is simple: play a lob and subsequently play low on the next shot.

Begin with straightforward exercises, such as playing a lob off the wall and then executing a low ball off the wall. Gradually progress to more challenging variations, like playing a lob from a volley or half-volley and following up with a low shot using a half-volley.

A player who masters this aspect of the game will effortlessly execute lobs and low shots in countless ways: off the wall, from the corner, without wall, through volleys and half-volleys. At an advanced level, one can experiment with different spin, trajectory, and pace, but let’s leave that for later stages of mastery.

Situation 2: Deep Overhead-Volley in Transition

When positioned near the net, very good opponents will attempt to dislodge you with lobs and low shots, as discussed in Situation 1.

Exceptional players remain unfazed in this scenario, even utilizing it to their advantage. They deliver a deep overhead shot, followed by a consistent volley that minimizes risk. These dynamic sequences, known as transitions, must be performed seamlessly and repeatedly.

Similar to situation 1, progression is key. Start with simple exercises, such as hitting the overhead and volley in the same direction (at your opponents’ feet and cross), gradually advancing to more complex variations. Eventually, you’ll be capable of executing an overhead shot that disrupts your rival’s comfort zone, creating an opportunity to place the subsequent volley in the resulting gap. In this situation, elements such as speed, height, direction, and spin come into play, but they are best reserved for advanced players.


Notice that there are only two seemingly “simple” situations, which can be progressively complicated by introducing variables and more complexity. Yet, in the end, it all boils down to these two fundamental scenarios. Of course, each situation has many different possibilities, which lets players try out different scenarios without getting overwhelmed by complicated exercises that feel forced.

As coaches and players, we need to avoid getting stuck in the same old routines or chasing after new trends. Instead, we should concentrate on training situations that actually make a real difference in the game. By making sure our players excel in these two important scenarios and have a range of options to choose from, we give them a strong understanding of a significant part of the game.