Last winter, I recall playing a game of Padel on an open-air court. The floodlights illuminated the surroundings, while the snowy mountains provided a crisp backdrop. At one point, my opponents exclusively targeted my partner, leaving me idle and motionless. As a result, I began to feel a chill creeping over me, as though I was trapped inside a refrigerator.
In Padel, directing all shots toward a player’s partner while leaving them sidelined and unable to contribute is known as putting someone in the fridge. It evokes a sense of frustration and exclusion as the player endures the coldness of being left out of the game.
What is the fridge?
The term “fridge” in Padel refers to a situation where a player is deliberately ignored by the opposing team, with all balls directed toward their teammate. This can be frustrating for both players, as one cannot contribute while the other is overwhelmed.
Typically, the stronger player is targeted for the fridge strategy, focusing on exploiting the weaker player’s skills. However, there is a way to escape this situation. If you find yourself in the fridge, you can advise your teammate to hit a high and long lob down the centerline, which can help break the pattern and regain control of the game.
How to Escape “the Fridge”?
If you find yourself trapped in “the fridge,” don’t worry; there are ways to break free. You can advise your teammate, who is currently busy fending off all the incoming balls, to hit a powerful lob down the middle of the court.
This will buy them valuable time to sprint toward the net and block any potential return from the opponents, ultimately freeing them from the fridge. Moreover, this strategic move will force the opponents to switch their targets and direct their shots toward you instead.
How to Rescue Your Teammate from the Fridge?
When your teammate is stuck in the fridge, feeling “cold” and unable to contribute, it’s time to assist. Don’t worry; there’s a way to get them involved again. Besides using the high lob technique mentioned earlier, you can ask them to cover a portion of your side of the court besides their own.
Doing so will make them responsible for roughly three-quarters of the playing area, significantly reducing the opponents’ target zone if they attempt to hit the ball exclusively to you. This intelligent tactic will rescue your teammate from the fridge and ensure they play a vital role in the game again.
Is Using the “Fridge” Strategy Effective in Padel?
Employing the “fridge” strategy can prove fruitful to gain an advantage in your padel game. You limit the stronger player’s scoring opportunities by isolating and targeting the weaker player, who is more susceptible to being rattled.
You can disrupt their composure by mentally unsettling your opponents through the fridge. This disarray may hinder their ability to free themselves from the situation, ultimately benefiting them with additional points.
When to Utilize the Fridge Strategy
The Fridge Strategy is best employed during a competitive padel match that is closely contested or when you are trailing. Playing more assertively during these moments is crucial to stay in the game or gain a few points. However, if you lead by a significant margin, it would not be considered ethically appropriate to utilize the fridge strategy against your opponents.
Similarly, in a casual game of Padel played with friends, it would be considered impolite to bombard one player with balls and relegate another player to the fridge. Exceptions can be made if your friends know you are practicing the strategy on them in preparation for a more competitive match.