The return of service that posed the most significant challenge for me to master in Padel was the one following the ball bouncing off the side glass. Unlike any return I had experienced in other racket sports, this technique was wholly novel and required its own set of skills. It truly stands out as a unique and distinctive aspect of Padel.
In order to retrieve a paddle service after it ricochets off the side glass:
- Make sure you position yourself sufficiently from the glass so the ball can reach you.
- Keep your racket low as the ball will descend rapidly upon bouncing off the glass.
- Place your racket slightly below the ball so that you can effectively hit your shot over the net.
In this analysis, we will examine the crucial factors involved in rebounding the padel ball from the glass and provide practical tips to enhance your return of service in your upcoming game.
The primary guideline regarding when to allow the padel ball to hit the glass.
Most padel courts are equipped with two glass panels on each side wall, with the back panel extending out from the corner and the second panel overlapping the service line. Standing in line with the joint between these panels while on the court is typically recommended.
In situations where it is evident that the ball will hit the side glass behind the join, it is more advantageous to step forward and return the serve before the ball reaches the glass.
Allowing the ball to hit the glass behind the joint would require you to move backward while playing your return, leaving you in a disadvantageous and cramped position deep into the corner.
Likewise, if the service is played with less force and there is doubt whether the ball will reach the side glass, the only viable option is to step forward and play your return of service.
Decide on the Padel service return method.
Hesitation is the primary cause of errors among beginner players regarding returning service. Due to fear of making the wrong choice, they often find themselves frozen in place, unable to react to the ball.
Those new to Padel will likely make more mistakes than successful returns when faced with a well-played service.
Instead of hesitating and doing nothing, it is better to make a decision and take the shot. Even if it turns out to be the wrong decision and results in an error, this experience is a valuable lesson. With each mistake, players learn and can make better decisions in the future when returning to service.
Avoid getting too close to the glass when the padel ball is about to bounce back.
If your opponent has not used a lot of slice spin on their service, the ball will likely bounce back off the side glass. Consequently, if you position yourself too close to the glass, the ball will rebound toward your body, making it extremely difficult to return.
Instead, being slightly further from the glass and allowing the ball to come to you would be preferable. This will enable you to play a much more controlled shot.
Make sure to keep your racket head low in position before the ball’s bounces.
When you notice that the service is approaching the side glass, quickly position your racket for your return of service before the ball bounces. This will allow you to only focus on the forward part of your shot and avoid dealing with a backswing.
Remember that if the service has some slice spin, it will tend to stay lower when it rebounds off the glass. To anticipate this, bend your knees more so your racket is closer to the ground.
If the rebound is higher than expected, you can easily adjust by straightening your legs while playing your return of service. This slight straightening of your legs will help generate more power in your shot.
Avoid holding your racket too high and having to lunge down to reach the ball. If you do so, your racket movement will primarily be downward, increasing the likelihood of your return of service landing in the net.
Take small steps to reposition yourself before the service reaches you.
Taking smaller steps to adjust your position allows you to maintain better balance and keep your center of mass over the balls of your feet, making it easier to play your return of service. In contrast, a big lunging step makes it difficult to readjust quickly and could lead to being out of position.
Please maintain a safe distance from the glass while waiting for service.
Standing too close to the glass in anticipation of the service is a common mistake among beginners. This error can be attributed to two main reasons.
Firstly, when the ball comes towards the glass where you are standing, you will find yourself cramped against the side glass. This restricts your ability to move your racket back into position to make a return effectively.
Secondly, standing too close to the glass leaves a significant gap down the center of the court. This means you cannot promptly reach a service down the center line.
Opt for an uncomplicated response when facing a solid serve.
In the event that your opponent executes a well-executed service towards the side glass, incorporating a notable amount of slice spin to maintain a low trajectory, it is advisable to opt for a simple return of service.
Attempting a more elaborate shot, such as an aggressive cross-court shot towards the fence or a narrow shot down the line, will likely lead to a mistake. Therefore, the most suitable course of action in this scenario would be to block the ball back, focusing on maintaining its presence within the game.
Ensure that the racket head remains close to the anticipated height of ball contact.
By keeping your knees bent and holding your racket low, you position your racket head close to the expected height of the ball. If the ball bounces off the glass lower than expected, you can easily adjust the height of your racket head by shifting your wrist position while hitting the shot.