Technique & Tactics

Playing diagonally to increase your effectiveness

If you’ve been playing padel for a while, you’ve already heard or read that the first ingredient for a winning game is to “make fewer mistakes”.

So among the most used tips we have the game in the center because the distance from the grates and the natural confusion created between opponents facilitates our task.

In the second option, it is essential to master the diagonal game, because, as happens with the central game, it increases our margin of error and, with some tricks, makes life difficult for other players.

Let’s see a little more in detail.


If you have taken the trouble to read the rules you know, otherwise we tell you: the net has a difference in height towards the center, ergo it is lower than in the section that approaches the posts.
This means that we have more margin, we can play the edge of the net with less risk of making mistakes and in the diagonal game we take full advantage of it.

In addition to this, our distance from the side walls and the back is greater, so if we want to play deep, we run less risk of sending the ball into the net.
With this we do not want to say that it should always be chosen, during the game we need to know how to vary in relation to the game, opponents, conditions … but certainly is that we must know when to prefer it.

Here are some aspects:

Diagonal play helps us a lot when our opponents are poorly matched and tend to play staggered in the court. If my front end is forward and his partner is more towards the back, I’ll be better off playing on his rearmost partner (trying not to give half-height balls that allow whoever is in front of me to insert themselves under the net).

If instead I find myself with my front back and his partner more under the net I can choose to play on who is at the bottom or, play on the diagonal towards the bottom of the court to put out of position who is under the net and in the worst case, forcing his partner at the bottom of the court to a difficult recovery that at the same time empties half the court.

It helps us, for example, in prolonged exchanges and in trying to freeze one of the two players. Unless the goal is to target one player until he collapses, insisting on the diagonal for a few exchanges gives us the possibility then to surprise the opponents with a central shot or on the long line.

When you master a good volley or a good bandeja you must not underestimate the use of the double glass that complicates considerably the defense of the opponents. Low, deep strokes that can confuse with the bounce short wall/long wall as well as long wall/short wall.

Also thanks to the greater distance, we can afford with a lighter heart to look for the grate, which we know is highly unpredictable in rebounding.

What if it is the opponent who insists on playing on our diagonal and is putting us in trouble?
If he forces us to play with the glass, at the first useful opportunity we can respond with an orb looking for the corner, so as to make it difficult for him to insist on us. Or we can move the game to the middle or the longline as soon as we have a shot that allows us to choose.
Whichever solution we choose, our task here is to make a shot that is complicated to rebound. Why awkward, slow, too fast, very short? There is no single answer, we evaluate it in relation to the position of our opponents.

How to train the diagonal game?

The diagonal game can be trained as well as during the game. With your partner you can in fact play a game in the doubles court, both on the diagonal. In this case, the ball is in play until it bounces in the half court of the diagonal you have chosen (everything up to the outer line of the diagonal applies). Of course, one of the two players will be on an unusual diagonal, but this is a great opportunity to play both sides of the court, alternating between one diagonal and the other.
What better opportunity to train and adapt even in the portion of the field that we are less familiar with?


Good padel to all

by Roberta Lozza


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