Let’s imagine we are watching a professional padel match. Each player has a light on their head, and the color of the light changes depending on whether they are attacking/counterattacking (green), building (orange), or resisting (red). We would be amazed to see that the color of the light is changing dynamically, probably staying in the orange (building phase) for longer periods.

Today, we are going to explore the different phases of the game and why coaches and players should be aware of them and train accordingly.

Resisting Phase

If we are in the resisting phase, our mindset should be focused on defense. We should be in survival mode because our rivals are attacking, putting a lot of pressure on us. The most challenging aspect of being in the resisting phase is that players want to quickly get out of this phase because they feel pressured, leading to poor decision-making. We have to train and learn to thrive under pressure and wait for the opportunity to build or counterattack.

Examples of the resisting phase:

  • The rivals are making sharp volleys and not allowing us to hit lobs or play soft balls to their legs.
  • The rivals are hitting hard bajadas, and we are forced to block.

Building Phase

If we manage to get out of the pressure, we might enter the building phase. Now the mindset should be more about patience and looking for opportunities to counterattack (if we are at the back) or attack (if we are at the net). In this phase, there is no clear team leadership. One team might be executing good overhead shots like viboras or bandejas, but the other team still has some control over the game by playing good lobs and low balls.

However, this can change with just one shot. If one of the lobs is short or one of the bandejas bounces too much, the team can transition to the attacking or counterattacking phase.

Examples of the building phase:

  • The most common shots at the net are bandejas or viboras and transition volleys.
  • The most common shots from the back are lobs and playing low balls.

Attacking/Counterattacking Phase

When we enter the attacking/counterattacking phase, the mindset becomes aggressive and risk-taking. We have built the point well enough that it’s time to smash and volley hard if I’m at the net, or lose the position in the back to go to the net and take some risks.

Interestingly, sometimes we might enter the counterattacking phase not because we want to but because our rivals force us. For example, they might try to attack with a hard shot, but it’s not good enough, and the ball stays in the middle of the court, forcing us to move forward to the net and start counterattacking.

Examples of the attacking/counterattacking phase:

  • At the net, hard and sharp volleys, smashes
  • At the back, good lobs that pass rivals, bajada to the legs, and moving forward to volley, passing bajada, or block-volley the bandejas.

Why It Is Important to Train Accordingly to the Phase You Are in the Game

Coaches and players need to understand that in padel, most of the time, you should be in the building phase. The reason is that the size of the court and the walls make the game very tactical and do not allow for very aggressive shots continuously. So basically, your mindset should be to look for opportunities but remain calm. Using an analogy, it’s like hunting in the forest. You are active enough to look for opportunities but try to stay calm so you don’t make bad decisions, such as shooting prematurely or taking a path that the animal can see or hear you.

So, if you agree that most of the time you should be building, it makes sense to train the building phase a lot. As we mentioned in our blog “Master These 2 Game Situations,” there are 2 situations that are repeated during a match, lobs and low balls (situation 1) and  bandejas/viboras and transition volleys (situation 2). So in our opinion, these are the 2 situations that must be prioritized in trainings.

But why is it so hard to stay in building mode for long periods of time?

If you don’t feel comfortable in either of these two situations (bandeja-volley and lobs-low), what is going to happen is that instead of building, you will try to move into attacking/counterattacking mode. A classic example is the players who are not familiar with the walls and corners when at the back of the court, and as soon as possible, they try to go to the net to block the bandejas. The same applies to tennis players when getting lobs; they don’t know how to make bandejas, and they end up attacking with smashes in a bad situation, losing the net or even the point.

But I build a lot but then I don’t know how to attack/counterattack

Some players build the point very well but when they have the opportunity to attack/counterattack, they are not able to enter that phase, continuing in the building phase and ending up frustrated because they feel they could have won the point before.

If you are in this kind of situation, you should be very happy. Remember that if you have to prioritize one phase in your learning process, that would be the building phase, because it is the most repeated one and also the one that will allow you to attack/counterattack. But why is it so hard to change to counterattacking or attacking? The hardest thing is that in one shot you have to change your mindset from being “calm” and looking for opportunities to aggressive and risk-taking mode, and that is not easy at all. Second is that if you don’t trust your attacking phase, you feel like you might want to continue in the building mode because by entering the attacking phase you might end up losing the point.

So this means that the attacking/counterattacking phase should also be trained a lot, but in our opinion not prioritized over the building phase. And this does not mean that you should be training all the time in building mode, and until you don´t master it, you don’t train attacking/counterattacking phase. We have mentioned in other posts that padel is non-linear, so you might train both at the same time, but we would prioritize the building phase until you are able to create many opportunities to attack/counterattack.

Different players, different characteristics

Another thing to consider is that each player, by nature, might feel more comfortable in some phases of the game than in others. Using the example of soccer, there are some players that feel quite good in the defending area but not making goals, others feel good in the mid area of the pitch because they can build the game, but they don’t feel that good if they have to defend or make goals.

In padel, it’s pretty similar; some players feel very good smashing or counterattacking and making an aggressive game, while others prefer to build the point, lead the strategy, and be more patient. So you have to recognize which kind of game you are naturally better at, without forgetting that in padel you need to be very good in each phase of the game.

In the professional level, we can see players such as Galan, Tello, Coello, who feel very comfortable in conditions that require them to be very aggressive, but they might struggle a bit more when they have to defend and be patient. On the other hand, players like Di Nenno, Stupa, Chingotto, or Sanyo are more strategic and prefer to build the point and be patient until they have a good opportunity to attack/counterattack.

As you might notice, all these players are continually evolving, and now you can see that players like Di Nenno can be very aggressive and score points with smashes, but players like Galan can defend quite well and build the point if the conditions do not allow them to play aggressively. However, their natural tendencies are quite pronounced in each of these cases.


Remember that padel is not just about shots; it is about situations and mindsets. Each of the situations in the game is linked to a mindset, and players should be able to identify them in order to act accordingly in each phase.

We recommend that you reflect on your game if you are a player or on your players if you are a coach, and try to identify in which of the phases you/they feel naturally more comfortable. Based on that, if you are more inclined towards the building mode, you should assess if you are creating enough opportunities to transition to the attacking/counterattacking phase.

On the other hand, if you feel more naturally inclined towards defending or attacking/counterattacking, it is probably a good time to train the building mode, as we mentioned, it is the predominant phase/mindset in padel.