Today we want to talk to you about the descent to the bottom of the court, taking advantage of the advice of Miguel Sciorilli, coach of the padel legend Belasteguin.
So let’s analyze the dynamics that makes us go back to the bottom of the court, in the reconstruction phase of the game … but at amateur level as pro, in a phase that can also be offensive.
In the meantime, we must begin to understand when it is good to return to the backcourt. It is a fact that often our opponents raise the ball with the intent to overcome us to gain the net but not always the shot is effective and we can maintain our offensive position by managing our baggage of shots.
The simplest discriminator to understand if I should be overcome by the shot or manage it with a bandeja, a vibora or a smash of support if I am very close to the lateral grid, is the baseline.
If you’ve never noticed it, do it now when you see a pro match (if live it’s easier to observe).
Watching them in a match you will realize that on high balls, they often follow them side by side with the dominant arm already ready to hit from above and once passed a certain line (which coincides with the baseline) they change posture and prepare to use the glass.
At the amateur level often the temptation is to hit high without going back to the bottom of the court. As you will see by observing the pros, this is not completely wrong, as long as you are set up correctly with your posture: it is obviously essential to be in the right position at the right time.
It certainly takes a bit of eye to be able to quickly assess the direction and height of the ball and also to put a hand on your heart and banish laziness because it is often more advantageous for us to take advantage of the glass rather than make a poorly made recovery that offers opponents the perfect ball to hurt us.
In the event that we receive a well-made globe that falls short of the glass, teamwork and our communication becomes important.
The shot that we or our partner will make in this phase has only two possible objectives: to get the net back or, in the best case, to win the point (not so difficult in amateur games).
Obviously the second goal is more difficult, so it is worth to start concentrating on conquering the net.
In the meantime, it must be remembered that the player who is not active in the exchange, is fundamental to be the eyes of the partner who must follow the ball, decide what to do and then execute the shot.
For this reason, when it is clear who will retrieve the ball, the other player will have to decide whether to come back or to wait, continuing to observe the opponents and their movements, communicating at the same time what they are doing. In fact, a classic error at the amateur level is that of both returning to the ball or, in any case, both looking at the ball with no one having a view of the field.
So the first golden rule when exiting the wall is, one handles the shot, the other watches the opponents and communicates how they are moving.
The pros always talk a lot while often at the amateur level we find people who are not in the talking or even, who do not like to have the companion who gives directions.
This is a disadvantage that should be remedied by doing it intelligently.
Imagine that you are recovering from the back of the court, the opponent playing on the forehand has fallen behind and your partner is at the net. If you play on the opponent’s backhand he might attack your partner who at that point would have to have incredible reflexes to keep the ball in play.
This is why you may have played with someone who asked you “where?”, “where do I put it?” or “where am I?”.
Communication is key, let’s look at some key aspects
Do not invent anything during the game, it would be good to agree on the jargon before entering the field and decide what information we want to share.
The information must be concise and clear that in a few seconds quickly render the situation in the field.
Decide upfront how you will refer to your opponents! by name, color of jersey, position they play, my/your?
What information is useful to your partner when he/she is on the glass? Do you want just the positions or also to know what to do?
Information like “my behind” quickly allows my partner to decide what shot to take.
Also “player in the middle (or in the middle)” indicates the opponents present in no man’s land, making the partner choose among several options in a shot that ends up on his backhand, maybe in the feet. This allows us to recover the net quickly.
Or “my at the net, very very (or muchissimo if we like to Spanish on the court)”, warns my partner of the threat, making him opt for either a violent body shot that makes it difficult for the opponent to control properly or a globe in his corner, to bring him back to the bottom of the court.
Or “tight in the middle/wide in the middle”, can make our partner decide to play in the middle or diagonal/longline if he has a good hand rather than try the orb.
Also “very close players” when opponents position themselves by tightening a trajectory, leaving a portion of the court uncovered (for example, when they go to close on a longline one and center the other because they are the most likely trajectories… but in doing so they uncover here-
Yes half of the court.
Another important information is “changed/reversed players”. It happens sometimes that you change position and you can’t always get back to your position instantly.
For us this is important information because we have reversed forehands, backhands and talents. In fact, often players are not able to manage both sides of the court with the same skill. In addition, we find ourselves with the player pushing in the least favorable portion of the court and the player building in the most favorable area for the attack and strategically we can do a lot. If we have left-handed opponents on the field, this difficulty will be accentuated.
All these aspects emphasize that the wall outlet does not have only one possible answer. If you are used to managing only the globe from the back of the court, get used to modifying your exits by diversifying… the globe should be the useful resource when we are very very comfortable otherwise the risk of ending up short is very high. On the other hand, a ball that comes out high offers us the possibility of an offensive shot (and if you want to observe a master, watch some games of Paquito Navarro). Or it comes out at a speed and height that allows you to make a comfortable shot that is easy to aim, perhaps right on the diagonals that are often left uncovered.
If you’ve never talked to your partner, it might be tricky to introduce all these specifics but that’s no reason not to start! If you find that you struggle, start gradually by introducing one specification at a time and you will see that in no time, you will be able to handle communication as pro players!!!
Good padel to all
by Roberta Lozza