The importance of knowing how to position oneself on the court: attack and defense by Gastón Malacalza

Why do you need a good court position?

Good court positioning is fundamental for the development of the game, especially when you start playing padel.

Each side of the court that a team must cover is 100m2, if you don’t know how/when and where to position yourself after each shot, it will be very difficult to enjoy this sport 100%, as one of the virtues of padel is the strategic richness that it possesses.

Although it is normal that in when you start out you are more aware of the ball, a good positioning will save you a lot of effort. You have to bear in mind that the position will be different if you are defending or attacking.

Next, Gastón Malacalza, former professional player, former world top 10 and current StarVie CAR coach, gives you the keys to get the right positioning on the court. 

Defense position

Being correctly positioned makes it easier for you to have a more structured and orderly baseline game, and it will be easier for you to play a ball that you can guarantee you will not miss, to intice your opponents into making mistakes,  and also to try to make a transition to the net with guarantees of success.

Depending on your level of play and your physical condition, you will be able to defend more intensely and constantly, as well as to make counter attacks that will make it easier for you to conquer the attacking position (reach the net).

Keep in mind that when we start playing padel, we tend to be more aware of the ball than the position on the court and that will lead to large displacements to reach balls in areas that we do not control. That is why position is one of the most important aspects of the game.

Where do you have to place yourself?

The standard position for correct play is to stand behind the service line, which will enable you to choose how to hit the ball, which can be:

  • Half volley is the shot where you hit the ball from very close to the body.
  • Volley from the baseline, hitting the ball without letting it bounce on the ground and in this situation you hit the ball deep and from a certain height to your opponents.
  • You also have the option of moving backwards by taking one or two steps to play with the wall rebounds. A neutral position that allows you not to make a great physical effort, taking into account a reference point, such as the one I am recommending.

It is very important to have good control of the corner where you play, as the vast majority of the balls that your opponents will hit will be shots with more distance and therefore a greater margin for error while giving us more time to return to our position at the net.


What advantages does this position offer you?

Positioning yourself well at the back of the court will give you time to read the ball and will also increase the time to think about what you will do with the ball (how you will hit it, where you will hit it (direction), etc.).

The most noticeable difference between players comes from the ability to make choices,  which leads to better decisions on how to hit different balls, and a better level of play.

And does it benefit the attacking game?

Of course, the “counter-attack” is one of the variants of the game that add strategic richness, if we control the defensive game better we will have more options to make counter-attacks that will give us options to win the position of the net, which is the position from where the game is enhanced.

Attack position 

What is the correct position in attack?

Theory says that there should be approximately 2 metres between you and the net, because if you play too close to it, you will have neither the perspective to volley correctly nor the ability to hit certain lobs that, with a correct position, you could reach with a controlled effort.


Another very important part of positioning yourself at the net is to be aware that it is a dynamic position and that you must swing at the same time as your partner depending on the direction of the ball you are hitting.

To explain this, let’s imagine that you are on the right side of the court and you volley a forehand to your opponent’s corner, who is on your natural diagonal. In this case, you will have to move towards the center of the court after the shot and your partner will make the same movement to his left to cover the parallel trajectory, which draws the most logical options of your opponent’s shot.


How to recover the offensive position

You have to position yourself at the back of the court and position yourself correctly looking for a good option to counterattack with a good lob or with the different variations of the game in defense.

It is a very normal situation so it is very important that you do not worry and that you have patience to reverse this situation; padel is a sport that rewards the player who makes few unforced errors so regardless of the position in which you find yourself you have to risk choosing the moment very well and not rushing.


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