A crucial step toward becoming a better padel player is beginning to master an effective backhand technique. Adding a serious backhand shot into your repertoire of tricks will make you become a much more formidable opponent, especially as experienced padel players will tend to try and force errors from an opponent’s backhand. This is especially true if it’s clear your padel backhand is some way of the force of your forehand shots. Being a more well-rounded player will make it harder for opponents to find a weakness in your game to exploit, and increase the fear factor in your game. As is often the case with sports, reading up on techniques is a great way to hone your knowledge, but playing with a coach will always help you improve quicker. Below are some backhand techniques to start employing in your game to expand on your padel skills.
How To Hit An Effective Backhand
The first key step to hitting a good backhand is foresight and positioning. If you anticipate a shot being hit toward your weaker side, try to position yourself so that the ball will fall between your knees and your waist, the perfect height to hit the ball with your backhand. As the ball approaches, and right before making the swinging motion, make a split step. This is a small hop (about 2.5cm) which helps ready you to make an explosive movement to attack the ball. At this point, your weight should be balanced toward your back foot to help generate power.
Likewise, the pivot and subsequent swivel of your body will help generate more momentum on your swing.
Finding the best way to get an unbeatable swing is a long process that requires a lot of training, but you should start by doing the following. Swing your padel racket in a sideways and an upward arc toward the ball. The swing should happen as you push off with your back foot and twist your body so that you’re generating the most momentum with your body.
Your racket should be forming a C motion to the point of contact with the ball, but try to keep your eyes focused on the ball as opposed to your own body. You should be aiming to make contact with the ball in front of your waist, and be hitting the ball in the centre of your racket, whose face is angled diagonally upward. This method will generate the most power whilst also providing some topspin. Finding the right way to generate spin can add a whole layer of complexity to your shots. To restore your body’s equilibrium and to complete the motion of hitting the ball properly after striking, follow through with one hand.
Two-Handed Padel Backhand Technique
Due to padel rackets being shorter than tennis rackets, it’s often thought that players should always opt to use one hand when striking the ball. While this is most often the case, it isn’t always true. It’s more difficult to generate power when closing your wrist (like in a backhand shot) as opposed to when opening your wrist (like in a forehanded shot). Two-handed padel shots allow you to generate some more power on your backhand to keep your shots more consistent with your forehands, and also give you some more control when striking. Finding the right position to place your hands comes mostly down to feel, as it is a little more difficult to fit them both on the shorter handle than tennis. But practice on this front is certainly important nonetheless, particularly so for players with less strength like children.
This isn’t a mandate for all players to be using a two-handed technique though, as some may feel more comfortable doing one-handed backhands. In this case, one-handed may be the way to go, but this shouldn’t exclude you from using a two-handed shot when you feel as though you need to generate that extra bit of power and precision in your shot.
How To Hit A Flat Backhand
The flat backhand technique is a very useful shot for low balls closer to the net. However, for tennis players, it can be a counter-intuitive shot as it’s easy to confuse with the slice shot in tennis. To start hitting a good flat backhand try to do the following. Turn your shoulders and pull your racket back as the ball approaches you. The more time you have on this shot, the easier it will be to pull off so get yourself into a good position. Then, put your feet in place, and begin to set your racket in a low position matching your posture. Kneel down and bend your elbow just a little. A slight bend in your elbow goes a long way as it helps you free up movement in your wrist to twist. Lead with your elbow since this shot originates from the elbow rather than the wrist. Now, as you strike the ball, keep your body low to the ground and have a swift follow-through. Practice the flat backhand enough and it will soon become a great shot in your padel arsenal, just like some other advanced shots like the bandeja shot.