Learn to actually WANT to use the walls
Been meaning to write since I got back from Sunday’s Training Camp for the National Team, but it’s been another busy padel week and I haven’t really found the chance to sit and reflect. Overall, it was a great day. I got to learn more about padel, play hour after hour, and hang with great people. Thanks Padel Sweden, Padel Trainer and Sportcenter Syd for making it happen!
The day started off with a greeting from Dani Dios which included a hug and a “you ready to die?”. Sure, I thought #suckerforpain. After five hours of drills and match exercises, I actually survived the day both physically and mentally. Ok, my back did seem a little crooked this week, but I’ll blame it on the five hours in the driver’s seat that same day.
The information we received throughout the day all made very good sense and I enjoyed being coached by both Dios and Loredo with their very laid-back and to-the-point approach. They also managed to somewhat stoop to our level. We are still so new to the sport and I can’t imagine what they’re really thinking when they compare us to players in Spain. Anyhow, they kept the information very basic and emphasized that padel is a very simple sport. If you ask me it, it’s anything but simple #imaginetennisandsquashwentonadate #inlasvegas #gotdrunk #andgotmarried #inelvisandmarilynoutfits
A bit of individual feedback I received was that I need to get my elbow up higher when hitting overhead shots. Just today, Coach Joel Christensen helped me with this. It started to feel a little less awkward by the end of the session, but there’s a long road left #babysteps
Some other ideas Dani and Gabor tried drilling into our brains:
- Focus on keeping the cross-court duels
- Know who is responsible for covering the middle
- Shift position at the net while waiting for the cross-court duel between your partner and her/his cross-court opponent to break (step closer to the net in anticipation of an easy shot coming your way and then step back, repeat again and again)
- Punish your opponent with mean volleys — soft volleys with perfect placement and lots of slice #supereasy! #not #sigh
- Learn to actually WANT to use the walls — you will gain so much more time
- Lob when you have time, not when under pressure, otherwise hit neutral shots until you get that time
Uh oh. Here he comes….
Again, this all makes sense, but actually applying this is quite a challenge. When Dani asked what we found the most difficult, I replied “Fighting the instinct”. What better than countering a hard smash with a kung-fu half-volley and getting it back over the net? #hiyaa That’s an instinct I’m still struggling to fight. He witnessed one point where I actually managed to dig a low, fast shot from the back walls. He stopped the point and came charging towards me with an intense look in his eyes and started raising his hand. I was thinking, “Uh oh, HE.IS.SO.GONNA.SLAP.ME.IN.THE.FACE” but to my surprise, he gave me a high-five and exclaimed “You did it!”
Another instinct to fight is lobbing under pressure. According to the coaches, lobbing should be executed when you’re in a good position and have plenty of time. They wouldn't have been very happy with me had they seen my league match this week. We played two tall former-tennis guys who constantly put us under pressure with their volley game and beat us in the first set. In Sweden, there’s a song that football fans often chant during matches. It goes like this:
JOBBA JOBBA JOOOOOOOBA! This translates into work work wooooork! Instead, the chant in my head that evening was LOBBA LOBBA LOOOOOOBA! Lob, lob looooooooob! And it actually helped, because we took the second set #nevermindwelostthethird #donttelldani
Another reason why my back hurts?
Next up on the schedule, hopefully an invitation to the next training camp and also a weekend in Gävle för the next SPT, where I’ll be teaming up with my daughter Alex!
HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE!