Whether you’re looking to make the point or get into a defensive position, choosing successfully between La Bandeja and a Power Smash will increase your chances of a win on the 20x10.
Often played interchangeably in a friendly match, La Bandeja and Power Smash have distinctive objectives and should be used considering various factors. From position to contact to aim, learning and understanding the characteristics of the two is the first step to effectively using the shot.
Identified as a high forehand volley and played as a defense shot, La Bandeja’s uniqueness is striking with a cut effect. The two primary objectives for this shot are to return a lob effectively - making it difficult for your opponent to play, and maintaining net position.
Played as an attack shot and only when there’s a clear opportunity of winning the point. This shot should be hit when the opponent plays a low or weak lob. Allowing you to move forward, smashing aggressively and forcing the ball to hit the court hard and out of your opponents reach.
Once you’ve committed your return as La Bandeja or Power Smash, your next focus is your aim. Hitting a defense Bandeja means you’ll want to shoot softer than a Power Smash and direct the either ball down the middle of the court or towards the corners of the court. Doing so puts the team across the net in a defensive position and your team in the attack.
With a Power Smash, your objective is to win the point, so you want to make sure there is a wide opening for this. Get your racket as high and on top of the ball as possible. Aim aggressively at the middle court, towards the top end of the glass, or at the fence. Avoid hitting low on the glass as opponents can easily return from this position. Ideally the ball should bounce hard, high and out of the service lines - enabling you to effectively win the shot. Players with tennis backgrounds have a tendency to use a tennis smash on the padel court. While this may seem logical at first, it actually has the opposite effect on the 20x10. A tennis smash can be done from anywhere on the court, doing this in padel gives your ball the freedom to hit the glass at a low enough level for your opponents to play the ball in an attack position. A good rule of thumb is to smash hard when close to the net, otherwise aim for the fence or high above the glass when in other positions.
Determine between playing La Bandeja or Power Smash as soon as you see your opponent hit the ball. Choose wisely, follow through and avoid changing your mind seconds before you make contact. Commitment to your shot is the key to a successful padel match.