It’s winter in Belgium, and that means low temperatures! We have to adapt to these new conditions in our daily lives and on the padel court!
First of all and very important is the warm-up. It’s very important to warm up well, especially in winter when we arrive to the court with more muscular tension. A good warm-up will avoid injuries and help you play at your best level.
Even without getting into the most tactical part, we have to analyse the state of the court, finding different states of both the carpet and the windows. If we play on an indoor court, the conditions are usually not very different, unless there is too much moisture and we notice it in the windows. On the contrary, if we play outdoors, we have to take into account the state of the windows. It is very common that once the sun goes down, mist begins so we must take extreme precautions when the ball bounces on the glass, because if the ball is slow it tends to slip and fall down, and if it bounces on the side wall or has effect, it usually bounces differently. Regarding the carpet, if it has rained or with the humidity of the environment, or some dew falls, the track will be a bit slippery, so we will have to adapt our game to that speed.
When it is time to play, the first thing we will notice is that the ball bounces a lot less, as it loses pressure in the cold. This will change our game tips in a clear and evident way, which we will distinguish between defense and attack:
The power smash, one of the best weapons to win the point, is virtually gone when the temperature drops, so if we are used to win points with this shot, we must be varying the shot in search of a vibora or bandeja somewhat more aggressive than usual. Very important are the serve and the first volley, to not lose the initiative of the point, as the defender can use the lob more easily. As there are not so many winning shots, the points are usually extended, so patience when building up the point, looking for different plays and open spaces will usually help you to win more.
Obviously, by bringing less speed into the game, it is easier to defend from the back of the court. First of all, we must throw more lobs, as it will be difficult for the opponent to hit winning shots from the air. We should not be afraid to play for a long time in defense, working on the point until we can get the net with one of the lobs, because playing at a lower speed gives the defense a higher chance at success. That the ball has little bounce, will force us to play more bent in defense. Important to warm up our lower limbs before getting started!
Finally, if the court is wet, it is vitally important to play with first serves and impact well the first volley, because losing the net can be a torture to return to conquer it. In the hits above the head, it is relatively easy to get a good ball that accelerates and has little output, so we can throw something stronger without fear that the ball will have a lot of bounce. In defense with the wet track, we should be very careful with the lobs we give, as our defensive shots are usually coming from very low and the ball usually weighs more! In some conditions it will be important so select more carefully which balls we take with the walls, and which ones we take before in half volley. Playing defense is more difficult with a wet court, so think about it that one break could be enough to win the set!
I hope these tips will help you in these times of the year.
Thank you very much and see you next time!