Mastering the Fundamentals of Padel

In this installment, we're delving deep into the essential principles that form the backbone of effective player training in this dynamic sport. While opinions on certain aspects might differ, experienced coaches widely recognize the significance of the following fundamental foundations.

  1. Consistency: in the realm of padel, a substantial number of points are secured through capitalizing on opponent errors. As players advance, the focus shifts from unforced errors to strategically inducing mistakes, making consistency a paramount attribute.
  2. Positioning: arguably the most crucial foundation, positioning significantly influences padel's tactical dimension. We'll dedicate an entire post to this topic, but in essence, players should adeptly cover court corners when at the back, while maintaining close proximity to their partner at the net, thereby shrinking the opponent's target areas.
  3. Transitions: padel's constant battle for net control demands seamless transitions between offense and defense. Players must be adept at moving both forward and backward, adapting their positions in the blink of an eye.
  4. Space: despite the compact court size, spaces are ever-present in padel. Effective players identify and exploit these spaces strategically, even if a direct shot to these areas isn't always necessary for success.
  5. Time: mastery over tempo is a formidable challenge but a pivotal skill in padel. Adjusting game speed to individual and team preferences can elevate a player's prowess to new heights.
Sub-Foundations: tools for Reinforcement
  1. The Lob: this shot is a staple in padel, requiring players to execute it with finesse from any court location, aiming at various targets with different trajectories. The lob serves multiple roles - enhancing consistency, facilitating repositioning, disrupting opponents' flow, aiding transitions, opening up spaces, and controlling game pace.
  2. Walls: they are central to the sport, influencing our gameplay style. They empower us to dictate tactics from the back and net court, enabling directional shifts, altering ball heights, and controlling speeds effectively. Proficiency in wall utilization is essential for both defensive and offensive play, allowing us to keep the ball low and dead on the walls and corners to prevent counterattacks but also win the points with powerful and bouncy shots.
  3. Effective Teamwork: padel thrives on teamwork, and every individual decision resonates within the team dynamic. Successful players possess the ability to elevate their partner's performance, thereby amplifying the entire team's strength.

For coaches and players alike, comprehending the foundational principles of padel is a gateway to a deeper understanding of the sport. Armed with this knowledge, coaches can design training sessions that empower players to master the game. As we continue our journey through the intricacies of padel, stay tuned for our upcoming posts, where we'll explore positioning strategies, the different phases of the game and how culture shape the way we play and understand padel. Until then, remember that these foundations are your stepping stones to padel excellence.

Elevate your game with 2 key game situations

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.

Padel Evolution: The Truth About Padel in Finland

Sometimes we come across phrases like "In Finland, they don't play padel," "In Finland, tennis is played on a padel court," or "Finns only use powerful shots." These statements seem to underestimate the playing style in the country.

In this blog post, we will explore why Finland, a country where padel has gained massive popularity in the past two years, has a distinct playing style compared to countries like Spain or Argentina.

As enthusiasts of complexity, we believe that players' actions are influenced by their environment. Let's analyze some characteristics of the Finnish padel environment and draw conclusions about the type of game that emerges in this country.


Finland experiences cold weather for most of the year, making it convenient to play indoors. Indoor clubs allow players to avoid disturbances caused by rain, snow, cold, sunlight, or excessive brightness.

Court conditions

The majority of courts in Finland are new, indoor facilities with high-quality features such as professional or semi-professional carpet, LED lights, and spacious doors that allow for outdoor play. These conditions promote a fast and spectacular style of play.

Background in racket sports

Finland has a rich background in racket sports, primarily tennis, badminton, and squash. Additionally, sports like hockey, ringette, floorball, and Finnish baseball involve striking a ball or disc with a tool. It is reasonable to assume that many padel players in Finland have a background in these sports, which influences their game.

Lack of experience

Since padel is a relatively new sport in Finland, there are limited experienced coaches and players. As a result, many players are self-taught or learn through online resources.

Top players with a tennis background

In the early years of padel development, players with a tennis background often progress quickly. Consequently, when observing high-level matches in Finland, it becomes apparent that most top padel players have a history in tennis.

Consequences of this context: The Finnish style

When all these factors and many others are combined, the "Finnish style" emerges. Watching matches in the Finnish circuit reveals a prevalent fast and aggressive gameplay, characterized by short points, numerous smashes, door exits, and constant transitions. Overall, it is a visually captivating style of play, as long as the players minimize unforced errors, which is not always the case.

Is this style of play good or bad? Neither. It simply reflects the playing style that has developed within a specific context and the players' relationship with that context.

Will this style change in the future? It appears that change is already underway. Making predictions in complex environments is challenging, but it seems reasonable to assume that players will adapt their style when certain contextual aspects change. For instance, what if Spaniards and Argentinians began competing with Finns regularly and consistently defeated them? What if the official ball used in the circuit no longer favored fast gameplay? What if the top-ranked players were no longer former tennis players but dedicated padel players?

If the context were to change, we cannot predict precisely how the playing style would evolve. However, we are certain that players would adapt to the new circumstances, leading to an evolution in the style based on the demands of the updated context. Gradually, changes can already be observed in the game, especially with the introduction of the 2023 official ball, which is not as fast as the previous ball.

Therefore, let us refrain from judging whether the prevailing game style in Finland is "true" padel or whether it is beautiful or ugly. Instead, let's understand that the type of game that develops is a result of the complex relationship between the context and the players themselves. The actions performed by the players on the court are highly influenced by this relationship and the prevailing conditions.

Should we train focusing on avoiding unforced mistakes?

Padel is a competitive sport where the objective is to strike a balance between minimizing unforced errors and maximizing winning points. An error can be considered forced if it occurs under pressure from an opponent, or unforced if it happens under favorable conditions for the player making the mistake.

The question often arises: does it make sense to train with a focus on unforced errors? the answer, as usual, is "it depends." Many thoughts come to mind when searching for our answer.

Players lack the tools to minimize unforced mistakes

Evolution rewards behaviors that best adapt to the environment. Those who adapt the best are the ones who survive. Making numerous unforced errors is not an adaptive behavior since it indicates a failure to learn from the lesson, especially if the errors occur in similar situations.

The other day one of our top players was having a bad day, making a lot of mistakes. We recommended that she play with more margin for error, and to our surprise, after 10 minutes, she exclaimed, "Wow! That adjustment really helped me!" How a good player has not considered this before? therefore, even top players sometimes struggle to identify the actions that can help them maintain consistency.

As coaches, when designing specific drills, some players ask if they can go for winning shots. Our response, on many occasions, is "yes, if you can maintain consistency." After few points they start making many mistakes. So, do they know how to be consistent? Many players have no tools to be consistent.

How can we train to avoid unforced mistakes?

Once again, it depends. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each coach should adapt these training methods to their specific context. We believe the first step is to be aware of unforced mistakes and recognize the impact they have on the game and the lessons they teach us. In both life and padel, we learn our most valuable lessons from failures and the mistakes we make ourselves. The problem arises when we continue to make the same mistakes without learning from them.

We encourage our players to explore through game challenges where they have to decide the most sensible and effective way to play the ball, considering the speed and placement. They learn to accept mistakes as part of the learning process. Through tasks and drills, we demand our players step out of their comfort zones. By doing so, they will discover new patterns and strategies to adapt in the mentally challenging world of padel.

For instance, you could use a rope above the net to require players to pass the ball at a height of 50cm above the net, aiming for the middle of the court or targeting the body of the opponents. These exercises helps avoid hitting the net or the fences. Another example is placing marks on the sides and back of the court, where players must volley so that the ball bounces at least one meter away from the glass. While some may consider these conditions unnecessary, players often make risky decisions and fail to play with sufficient margins. They believe they need to play at the limit to win the point, forgetting the principle of consistency.

It is not as simple as just trying to play with enough margin

What happens if I already have some tools to be consistent, such as playing with enough margins, but I still make a lot of unforced mistakes? Padel is a complex sport with many factors that can affect your consistency: physical, technical, tactical….but one of the biggest factors is overthinking, which often leads to more mistakes.

When you focus on avoiding something, you are more likely to fixate on it. For example, if I tell you not to think about an elephant, you will probably end up thinking about an elephant. The same applies in padel when you focus on not making a mistake, It actually increases the likelihood of making a mistake compared to simply focusing on something else.

But even though you are trying to focus on something else than avoiding mistakes, sometimes, thoughts come into your mind without your permission. You might be trying to focus on one thing, but another thought interrupts you, saying "don't make a mistake" or "you're going to miss it."

In our opinion, this is something normal but this aspect should also be trained if we want to be prepared for such situations. If we eliminate the competitive nature from training, a behavior that is useful in practice may not be effective in a real game or competition.


Avoiding unforced mistakes is a complex problem, but it can and should be trained, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to training for it. One of the initial goals to decrease the unforced mistakes is to develop the necessary tools to play with a sufficient margin of security in our shots. By having this margin, we can reduce the number of mistakes and also increase our confidence.

However, there are situations in which our mind can play tricks on us, leading to thoughts that harm our performance. It is important to train for these situations as well. For example, create scenarios in which a mistake make us lose a game right away or apply pressure by shortening the court with specific marks.

Therefore, if we truly want to decrease the unforced mistakes, a good approach is to work on it both indirectly and directly, preparing ourselves to handle any situation that may arise during a match. 

Mastering the Game: what is playing padel very well

We just finished playing a padel match, and upon arriving home, our partner asks us, "How did you play today?" To which we respond, "We lost, but I played very well." Amidst it all, the thought arises, "What does it mean to play well in padel?"

In this post, we will reflect on what playing padel well means to us, and we will make some annotations about what very good padel players like our friend Cristian do to play padel very well.

Context dependent

"When it comes to answering that question, we encounter a response that depends on points of view, semantics, and individual perceptions. The answer is complex and context-dependent. In contexts where the goal is the satisfaction of winning, playing well (the "how") will be related to achieving that objective. On the other hand, in contexts where the score is not considered and the focus is on having fun, playing well will be associated with the enjoyment experienced at the end of the game.

If we take a serious approach, the rules of padel do not take into account factors such as enjoyment or satisfaction; instead, they primarily focus on scoring points and winning the game. When the purpose is victory, playing well is more associated with function and effectiveness rather than form, aesthetics, or the "how." As Pep Guardiola stated in his high-level context, "The correct way to play is to win. I'm not going to waste a single second on that stupid debate about styles." To win a match you need to effective, according to Cambridge, effectiveness is defined as "the ability, especially of a medicine or method, to produce the intended result."

What playing padel well is not about

Most of us are drawn to the aesthetics, the spectacularity of the shots, and the effectiveness of the game. However, when you delve into the sport and begin to understand it, you start to see many aspects that are hidden from the eyes of the amateur viewer.

Playing padel well is not about hitting the ball in a masterful way, having an incredible ability to coordinate movements, having brute force to hit the ball hard, or moving extremely fast around the court. These virtues are not essential to playing padel well, of course, if you have them, it will be easier for you to play well, but there are other things that weigh more on the mental part of understanding the game.

What good padel players do: the case of Cristian

The other day at the club, we watched Cristian playing padel, a player who left us amazed. Cristian was not one of those players with an extremely beautiful technique or with shots that "kill the opponent"; his physique was more like that of a chess player. However, there were several aspects of the game that he controlled in a sublime way and that make him a very good player.

Decision making capacity

Cristian knows how to choose each shot very well, understands the principle of consistency, and knows that without consistency, it is difficult to play padel well. He made very few mistakes; most of the errors were in a very forced situation.


Every time Cristian had time to prepare the shot, it was practically impossible to know where he was going to play, but once he played, he was already in a good position to play the next ball.


We felt like he was always one step ahead of his opponents, it was as if he knew where the next ball was going to come from and was always in the right position. He could see what was going to happen before others.

Play as a team

Thanks to his good decisions, his partner seemed to flow on the court, every ball he received was very easy, he was always in a good position. It was as if Cristian always chose the best option for the team, regardless of whether his game was sacrificed if the team ended up benefiting.


Cristian always seemed to find free spaces, no matter what situation he was in, there was always a gap to put the ball in, although he chose the easiest gap not necessarily the biggest or the most complicated.

Game tempo

Suddenly, we realized that Cristian's team was controlling the tempo of the game. If they wanted the game to be slow, Cristian played slowly, if they needed a bit of speed because they were entering into an apathetic rhythm, Cristian accelerated the movements and found new situations of advantage.


There were several games in which the opponents started to control the match, and at that moment, we saw that Cristian's partner began to doubt and began to rush his decisions. However, Cristian understands that padel is uncertain and non linear, that there are bumps along the way. So he knew it was time to put on his work clothes, begin to resist and adapt to the new situation, waiting for the storm to pass. After two very good games from his opponents, the momentum turned back to Cristian's team.

What can we learn from Cristian as coaches?

The definition of "What does it mean to play well in padel?” depends on each person and their goals. Going by the rules, for us, playing well means choosing the best resources that bring you as close as possible to victory. For us, you can play well and lose because winning or losing is uncontrollable, but if the "how" is effective, we can have more influence in the score.

The knowledge of padel does not rely on teaching perfect technique, fast movement, or hitting the ball hard. Those are just some pieces of the puzzle. The greatest weight lies in helping the player understand the game, control the match, play with the opponents and not against them, find the best option for the team, and read what each moment of the match requires so they are able to adapt to each situation. Playing well is practicality.

The bad news is that these aspects are the most difficult to train. Training "shots" or even basic tactics can be done by any coach, but training game intelligence requires a lot of coaching experience in order to understand and effectively communicate it.

Can you trust social media content?

As padel fever spreads all over the world, the amount of content published daily about it is multiplying. Faced with this fact, we wonder: can we trust the padel content on social media? In this post, we are going to tell you why you have to be very careful about the content you follow in social media when you want to learn to play padel.

Emotional clicks and "Keys" to grab your attention

Let´s start with a question: what is more likely to generate clicks and interactions? a short video that uncovers "THE SECRETS OF THE VOLLEY" or a longer video that talks about why volleying depends on the context and you should practice it for many hours before you can master it? the incentives are clear: clicks, interactions, and attention time are prioritized. The emotional response is much greater in the first video. The user's motivation is high, and the ease of access is also high, as BJ Fogg points out in his Behavior Model, widely used by most social networks.

We searched on YouTube for the words "padel" and "volley." The first three videos that appear have the following titles:

  • "Rodri Ovide teaches me the secret of the volley."
  • "Juan Tello and the secret of the perfect volley in padel."
  • "Learn the backhand volley in padel - Perfect Volley Tutorial with Seba Nerone."

Would you believe someone who sells you the secrets of weight loss, the perfect diet that benefits everyone, or the magic food that can gain you years of life? We don't think so because these are very complex areas that affect each person differently. We know that we cannot lose weight without discipline, that it is something that does not happen overnight, and what is good for one person is not good for another. So why do we believe the same messages about padel?

The “secrets” and the “perfection” that these YouTubers are selling do not exist. Their main incentive is to have clicks, and they know how to play the emotional game that we were mentioning before. The only “secret” we know in padel is that it is a complex sport in which we must avoid black-and-white, good-and-bad, perfect-and-wrong solutions and embrace a large spectrum of grays.

How to know if the content has quality

As we mentioned in other posts like padel is a complex system there are no recipes in padel, so it is difficult to say "if you hear this or that in a video, you can´t trust it". However, there are certain facts that can make you hesitate about the credibility and value of the content. For example:

-Do they use recipes? people want to hear black-and-white, yes or no, tips to improve quickly without effort, etc. So a good criterion to know if the coach is selling you something that you can trust is to check some videos and see if they use recipes to teach padel. For example: the 5 steps to make a perfect bandeja: step 1, step 2...bla bla bla.

-Does the coach talk about greys? Do they talk about "in this situation you must do this," or do they talk about "it depends"? A good coach knows that in padel, there are lots of variables and few absolute answers. So if they are good and honest, you will get "grey" tips.

-Does the drill they show represent a realistic match situation? for example, the typical video of a coach feeding a lob and the player hitting a fast vibora at 100 km/h. is this situation realistic? in a match, will the player be in the service line waiting for the ball? Will there be a rival in the corner, or will it be empty? Will the player get the same lob every time?


Coaches and social media content creators have a significant responsibility when sharing content. We are teaching players and coaches, so as an honest coach, you should share not only what sells but also what you believe is the reality of learning: there are no easy answers, lots of variables and uncertainty, and lots of practice with no shortcuts.

And remember that being a very good player does not necessarily mean you are a good coach! It just means you are a good player. So be cautious when trusting a very good player with no coaching experience providing advice in the social media.








Why is it so difficult to be consistent in padel?

If you were to go to any club in the world and spend 5 minutes watching each court, you would notice a common denominator: most players make mistakes in very simple situations. Why does this happen?

Fernando Belasteguín, number 1 in the world for 16 years, commented in an interview that the most important skill in padel is consistency, the ability to perform at a regular level without ups and downs, without unforced errors.

In this post, we are going to reflect on consistency, recognizing that it is a complex problem that we work on daily in our academy, but there are certain aspects that can be improved to help you become more consistent.

Immediate reward

Nowadays, more than ever, we want things immediately. We are losing the capacity to wait for a reward. With one click, you can get anything material you desire. The study "Delay of Gratification and Cognitive Control" by Walter Mischel at Stanford demonstrated the difficulty of acquiring the ability to resist an immediate reward to obtain a larger reward in the future. Children preferred the immediate reward (a cookie) to the future one (several cookies). Delayed gratification was associated with better academic performance and life skills. How capable are you of delaying gratification during each point in padel? If you have the opportunity to win, do you go for the immediate reward? If we always delay the reward, we would never win. The key is in decision-making.

Ability to concentrate

Being 100% focused on a task is a very difficult mission. In the digital era we are in, it is even more complicated. Every 5 minutes, we are interrupted by a social media notification, a phone call, a thought that invites us to check WhatsApp, or a notification on our smartwatch to check the number of steps we have taken.

To be consistent in padel, the first thing you need is to have 100% focus on the game. Any distraction will make you send that ball into the net. In our experience, we can affirm that players have an extremely low focus capacity.

Training with intensity

When you are able to concentrate, the intensity with which you do things skyrockets. You notice that you are alert, that your legs move on their own, that your focus is on the game, and that you run for every ball. You don’t have time to get interrupted by a harmful thought because you are all in the game.

You will surely identify yourself if I tell you that most players do not train with high intensity; they go at 60%. And if they manage to be at 100%, it only lasts for several minutes.


The majority of us think we are better than we are. Thinking that we are capable of doing more things than we actually know… Is an advantage or a disadvantage? It can make us try shots that we can't control, assuming great risks…a disadvantage. But it also plays a big role in mindset: Djokovic, from a young age, was convinced that he could beat everyone… an advantage.


Inconsistent players will find excuses not to be consistent. "I like to play difficult shots", "being consistent is boring", "I didn't have a good day today".

All of these are excuses that the player has to justify themselves. The reality is that they are not mentally prepared to suffer, to play one more ball, to stay in the game even if things are not going well.


Consistent players are able to repeat the same action on many occasions. Unlike inconsistent players, they do not get bored if they have to execute the same action, they even enjoy it.

Most inconsistent players miss the ball when they have a little time to think, when their head asks them to do something extraordinary or make a different decision instead of repeating the action that is leading them to consistency.

What can coaches do to help players be consistent?

Consistency is about working on the player's mind. We need to work on it daily; it must become a habit. Being consistent is a mindset: I want to be consistent from warm-up to the last point of the training session.

The coach should not get bored before the player; if the player cannot be consistent, keep going, and if they still cannot do it, keep going... until they can. Don't get bored before your player does.

We do not have a formula to make players consistent, as formulas do not exist in complex problems. However, we do work consistently to help players work on their mind:

  • Each session has a specific part dedicated to consistency
  • Don´t focus on the word consistency but where to put the ball
  • Don´t try to control the shot but the commitment with the easy direction
  • Unforced errors are counted to make the player aware
  • Videos are made to show the lack of intensity with which they train
  • The player is encouraged to be consistent by rewarding or penalizing mistakes

Consistency is a principle of padel; we do not know any good player who is not consistent. We recommend you to train consistency consistently.

Do you have a perfect technique?

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.

Asymmetry and barbell strategy

In this blog post we are going to talk about the asymmetry theories of the mathematician, trader and philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb and how they can be applied to padel.

Asymmetries are situations in which you have more to win than to lose or vice versa. If you have more potential gains than losses, we talk about a positive asymmetry, if it is the opposite, it is a negative asymmetry. Finally, if both gains and losses are equal, we would be talking about symmetry.

Embracing this mental model can make you be able to build up your own positive asymmetries. Or, at least, reduce the negatives.

How this applies to padel

When playing padel we are involved in a constant flow of decision making. Some decisions can have positive asymmetries and others negative asymmetries. If we analyze any amateur padel match, there is a clear trend, the number of unforced mistakes are larger than winners. Here we can talk about negative asymmetry because they are taking decisions that are too risky for their level, losing more (unforced mistakes) than gaining (winners), which probably translates into losing the match.

Contrary, when we assess a professional match, the decision making is very good as players select carefully every shot, assessing the potential risk/gains of each of them. As a result, if we check the statistics of any pro match, usually, we can see that the number of winners surpasses the number of unforced mistakes. So, overall we say that their decision making has a positive asymmetry. 

How can I build a positive asymmetry: the barbell strategy

Imagine a gym barbell with many weights on the left side and very little weight on the right side. When we are building our game plan, we can create two opposite extremes –that represent the two sides of the barbell. One extreme will be the one with safest shots, so shots that feel very secure. On the other side, the most risky shots. 

Having this strategy, we can make sure that 80% of our shots will be secure and this will generate a consistent game with few unforced mistakes. On the other hand, if we risk 20% of the shots, especially in situations that make sense, for example 40-0, we can have huge benefits/gains. Many players put most of the weight around the middle of the barbell, so they have around 50% of putting the ball in and 50% of making a mistake.

Practical examples to use the barbell strategy

For instance, from the back part we can play to the middle with enough margin 80% of the times. In the remaining 20% of occasions, you risk if the decision can bring you lots of benefits, for example in a 40-0 and set point…we can try an amazing chiquita and counterattack or a passing shot from a bajada.

If we move to the net, the same applies, if in 80% of my volleys the ball bounces around the service line, we can make sure that our game will be consistent. On rare occasions, we can go for a very risky volley, for example, very deep to the corners. However, if I decide to play every volley out of my control zone, in the long run I will have much more chances of losing the point than winning it. I will be creating a negative asymmetry for my teammate and me. More potential losses than gains. 

This can be applied as a coach too and we will write one post for coaches about this approach. Anyway, when you go to the court as a coach, think the same way: the big extreme of the barbell –the safety one– needs to have the biggest volume in training. Are your game and training methods consistent with your "Barbell strategy"? Think about it.


Is teaching and learning padel linear or non-linear

In this post we are going to talk about the non-linear factor of padel in order to understand how similar inputs may have very different outputs. It will help you to address whatever situation you face in the court in the short or long-term.

In the linear world we know that X causes Y. for example, every time I press a letter in my laptop, I see it on the screen. Humans tend to think in a linear way, we try to find what the consequences of doing X are or what the causes that Y happens were. But this is how simple or complicated structures work, for example machines, but human beings work differently.

Teaching and learning have been treated as linear system

Traditionally, teaching a sport has been seen as a linear model. We apply the same inputs to every player thinking that we should get the same output, X causes Y. However, as we commented in our post "Padel is a complex system", the world and padel are complex. For example, in a padel training, what causes what? it is difficult to isolate or reduce inputs and outputs. Am I helping or hurting? this afternoon, the same physical load can be a benefit for one player and an injury for another. 

One “technical” tip that causes some success in a specific action, is the actual reason for that success? what about technical feedback? the same “technical” instruction (input) might not have effect (output 1) on John, will be fabulous (output 2) for Ana and cause "paralysis by analysis” (output 3) for Thomas.

Similarly, when we talk about the learning-process, you can see a very clear non-linearity for the majority of the player. There can be an exponential learning in one month followed by a valley or even decrease in the performance, and then, if things are being doing properly, another peak. The exception are those players who are improving in a steady and constant way.

We can see in all these cases that same inputs may generate different internal workings –that we do not know– causing different outputs. This makes us escape from correlations, causalities or simple linear assumptions such as “X causes Y”. 

In padel training, we should analyze every context with a critical point of view and try to not fall into simple assumptions. As Richard P. Feynman says… “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."