Tips for padel tennis beginners - How to start playing padel

16 Tips to Learn Padel: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

Padel is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports. It is a social sport that never becomes monotonous, and it suits most people.

It is easy to get started with padel tennis while it is challenging to master the sport entirely. Our padel tennis tips for beginners ensure that you get a flying and fun start to your new hobby.

16 padel tennis tips that will make you a better player

1. Choose the right padel racket

Which padel racket you choose dramatically affects your gaming experience. A good beginner racket that is easy to play helps you hit clean and reduces the risk of mistakes.

There are three different shapes of padel rackets; round, teardrop-shaped and diamond-shaped. We recommend that you, as a beginner, choose a round racket with a softer core. Please read our guide Choosing padel racket – The complete guide to get more advice about selecting the right padel racket. We have also compiled a list of our favorite rackets for beginners: Best padel racket for beginners 2021.

In the beginning, it is common to rent the padel racket at the local club. If they offer various models, ask for an easy-to-play beginner racket.

2. Wear padel shoes

Padel is a sport with fast movements, jumps, and sharp turns. Using shoes adapted for this will give you a better experience and reduces the risk of injury.

Of course, it is possible to test the first few times with regular training shoes but invest in a pair of padel shoes to continue playing regularly.

There are padel courts with more or less sand, which requires different types of soles for the best grip. Some tennis shoe models can work for playing padel. If you want to learn more about choosing the right padel shoes, we recommend reading our article Best padel shoes 2021.

3. Watch padel tennis videos

To get inspiration and an understanding of padel tennis, we recommend that you watch padel videos. YouTube is full of excellent educational materials that are also free. Plow through lots of videos, and you will find your favorite channels.

Here is an example from the channel The Padel School, which has many good videos. Another tip is to watch match play from the World Padel Tour. Here an example of women’s padel at the highest level.

4. Learn the basic shots in padel

There are several basic shots in padel, and by learning these, you cover most in-game situations. Examples of these are forehand and backhand ground shots, volleys, lobes, and serves.

If you come from tennis or other racket sports, you will need to make adjustments in the technique as padel shots are different. Take your time to learn these shots correctly, as it will help you develop as a player faster.

5. Take padel tennis lessons

Many people discover padel via friends or perhaps an event and instantly fall in love with the sport. When the session is over, a new session is booked, and so it continues. It’s social, fun, and easy to get started.

If you reach a point where you want to become a better player, we recommend taking lessons. The sooner, the better, before you build up the wrong technique and habits.

Padel lessons can be expensive in some countries, and not everyone can or wants to spend that kind of money. However, just a few lessons are often enough to learn basics ideas. You can then practice those ideas yourself.

An alternative is to book padel lessons on your next holiday. In the home country of padel, Spain, it is possible to find significantly cheaper lessons from excellent, qualified coaches.

6. Warm-up to avoid injury

In many other sports, warming up is always a part of the routine, but it is often neglected in padel. Many players jump straight into a match without any warm-up, which increases the risk of injury.

Spend a few minutes doing a couple of warm-up exercises for the shoulders, neck, and legs to reduce the risk of injuries. It is a good idea to keep a Stretch Band in the padel bag that will help you warm up the right muscles.

Tips for padel tennis beginners - How to start playing padel

7. Don’t forget to drink water

A padel session is often two hours, and keeping yourself hydrated makes it easier to keep your concentration and energy level up. If you play outdoors on a hot summer day, it is crucial to stay hydrated.

Water is fine, but we recommend getting a sports drink for optimal performance and avoiding dehydration. Don’t forget to drink before the game as well.

8. The right grip

When it comes to grip, there are two things to keep in mind, grip size and how to hold the racket.

Grip size

To avoid injuries such as tennis or padel elbow, you must have the right thickness of the grip. A too thick or too narrow grip means that you need to hold the racket tighter with tense muscles as a result.

When you buy a padel racket, it comes with a standard grip. On top of this, you need to add one or more overgrips depending on the size of your hands. You should be able to place an index finger between your fingertips and the palm of your hand when holding the racket. Here is an example of excellent overgrips.

Hold the racket correctly

The most common padel racket grip is the Continental grip. The advantage of this grip is that you can use it in all situations and with different types of strokes.

9. Move your feet

Having good footwork is essential in padel. In addition to helping you reach difficult balls, it helps you get in the right position before the shots. In padel, you should preferably move, stop and stand still when you hit the ball. Poor footwork means arriving too late, with a less effective shot as a result.

Do not stand on your heels and wait, be active even when you do not have the ball by keeping the weight on the front of the foot.

10. Use the walls

With its glass walls, the padel differs from other racket sports. Much of the game includes the walls, and learning to use them properly is a must if you are to become a good padel player.

If you come from tennis or other racket sports, it feels natural to hit the ball before reaching the glass wall. Practice letting balls that bounce far back in the padel court bounce on back glass before you hit them. It gives you more time to think, and also, the ball loses speed when it bounces off the glass.

Use the walls. They are your friends.

11. Forget power

It is tempting to smash any easy return but don’t. The game of padel is based on patience and waiting for the right opportunity to decide the point. Also, the game becomes more fun with longer points.

Padel is not a power sport. Sure, some situations require a lot of power, but they are only a few. Using too much power leads to more mistakes. When you face good padel players, they will let your hard shots bounce off the glass for a simple counterattack.

Learn to play controlled and safe shots before you start practicing the smash.

12. Keep the ball in play

One of the best tips to get better at padel is to play more consistently and stable. Regardless of level, unforced errors are a key statistic.

There are many reasons why it is important to keep the ball in play and avoid mistakes. By constantly returning the ball, the chance increases that your opponent makes a mistake. Longer balls also give you more chances to practice.

Finally, you also get a psychological advantage over the opponent when you consistently return all their shots. Choose the best padel balls for beginners to make it easier to keep the ball in play.

Tips for padel tennis beginners - How to start playing padel

13. Play as a team 

Padel is a social sport, which is one of the reasons why it is growing so fast. Padel always plays in doubles, and regardless of level, the interaction must work well.

Teamwork is not only important from a tactical point of view but also psychologically. If you like playing with your partner, you will perform better on the padel court.

Always communicate with your partner during matches, and don’t forget to encourage even when he or she makes mistakes.

14. Play on both sides

There is a forehand player on the right side and a backhand player on the left side in padel. The forehand player normally has a more defensive role, while the backhand player expects to decide more points.

Experienced players who train and play actively often specialize in one of the sides. As a beginner, you should test on both sides to see what suits you best.

There are several benefits of being able to play on both sides. Besides a good understanding of what is required of your partner, it gives you more opportunities to find matches. Being flexible allows you to join matches, whether a forehand player or a backhand player is missing.

15. Find better players

An excellent way to develop in sports is to learn from better players. Try to find partners and opponents who are on a slightly higher level than yourself. However, this can be difficult as most people don’t want to play with worse players.

Be humble and honest. Explain to others that you are at a slightly lower level and would like to have the chance to learn. Be careful with too large skill gaps, though. Being the weakest link on the padel course is not fun either.

16. Rest

Padel is a fantastic, fun, and addictive sport. It’s tempting to play every day, all year round. Too much of one thing is usually not good, and the same goes for padel. Therefore, make sure to include days of rest when you are disconnecting from the padel.

If you notice that you are not enjoying the game the way you used to or your performance is weaker, there is a risk that you play too much. Take a break to come back strong and motivated.