We’ve been talking about this for a while now, about the importance of staying, when practicing padel, moving on your feet for many reasons.
What we may have never explored in our articles is how this “strategy” is a technical aspect on par with knowing how to make the different shots of the sport.
Technically it is called “split step” and professionals train it constantly because it activates us but also allows us to stop, to settle down in the moment in which we have to hit the ball (how many times does it happen to us to get on the ball while we are still running?).
It is an important movement/movement that we should do practically all the time on the court, whether we are at the net or at the bottom of the court.
As we’ve written, having a good technique in handling movements is fundamental in padel and will always be more so. Physicality is constantly modifying this sport and, even today, when you advance in level you are faced with an increase in game speed where a good basic knowledge of movement and footwork is fundamental, as well as offering great advantages.
Ergo, just as you take lessons to learn the technical execution of your strokes, in the same way to move around the court more efficiently and with greater quality it is good to start spending time to work on the correct movement and footwork skills.
Does this sound like a platitude? We know that the game in padel tends to be very fast and with short preparations … it is therefore clear that knowing how to move in the field with the right steps and movements allows us to be essential (the right number of steps allows us to arrive at the right time on the ball and save energy) and the split step helps us to take the right position and have the right contribution of the whole body on the final shot.
Despite the importance of the split step, we are aware that in most cases it is ignored, in lessons as well as during matches.
Probably before this article, we venture, you had never heard of it.
So, is it really necessary to take the position split step? The answer can only be, “of course it is,” as many times as you can until it becomes an integrated part of your game dynamics.
But what is the “split step” ultimately?
It’s nothing transcendental, it’s a small jump that the player makes just before the opponent hits the ball.
When landing, the contact with the ground is made with the front of the feet and the legs separated and semi-flexed. This movement contributes significantly in reducing your reaction time because it requires you to be concentrated and aware, focusing on the ball (the slip step is never done randomly, it is always in relation to the movement of the ball). At this moment of maximum concentration, following the ball from the moment it leaves your opponent’s racket will save you precious time.
Then there is the postural advantage, this movement in fact leads you to place your center of gravity stable and low and allows you to react like a spring, helping you to go in any direction and anywhere on the track.
As always it helps to watch the Pro games. You may in fact believe it’s useful under the net but the truth is that players do it every time the opponent hits a ball, no matter where it goes.
Of course it is physically demanding to think of doing it right away for a whole game but like all things, it is important to start training it consistently so that over time it becomes automatic.
Perhaps starting with the serve, or rather the service rebound. It’s a good way to test what we have written and why not, you may find that magically your serve percentage has improved!
by Roberta Lozza