As you have likely realized, not all volleys in padel are the same. The good news is that when you know the basic fundamentals of the volley, you can adapt those fundamentals to be able to manage most of the key different types of volleys.
What are the different kinds of volley in Padel
- Reactive Block Volley
- Neutral Volley
- Standard Volley
- Aggressive Volley
- Crosscourt Volley Down To Fence
- The Bandeja
- The Smash
Even though the thought of having so many different types of volleys can feel overwhelming, the good news is that the first five on the list have the same basic fundamentals.
If you haven’t yet read my article about the basic fundamentals of the padel volley, I would strongly suggest that you read that first. It will give you the foundation that most of these volleys are built upon. You can find that article by following this link.
With that done, keep reading to see how you can apply those same fundamentals to different scenarios.
1. Reactive Block Volley
The reactive block volley is usually played off a ball that’s very fast from your opponent. They will usually have played a really fast groundstroke or a bajada where they have played a really fast attacking ball using the momentum of the ball as it comes off the glass.
Another type of shot that will force you to play a reactive block volley is when your opponent is also at the net and you have only a fraction of a second to react to their volley. Your goal with this shot is nothing more than just getting the ball back over the net and keeping it in play.
As will all volleys that you play in padel you start with an open stance. The ball will be coming fast into either a difficult position or straight at you and it feels as if you have literally no time to react.
Most of the time the most you will be able to do is swivel your shoulders to the side that the ball is coming thereby opening the racket face to the oncoming ball.
You will then just place the racket in the path of the ball and block that ball back. Because it is pure reaction all you want is a nice solid contact with your racket. The ball will have enough pace that you don’t need to apply any force to be able to block the ball back.
2. Neutral Volley
This next volley is what I refer to as the neutral volley. It is similar to the reactive block volley, but you are able to get yourself into a slightly better position.
This means that you are able to try and guide the ball back into a position where your opponents are not able to attack you on the next ball.
Even though the neutral volley is also a defensive shot, the ability to place the ball will enable you to start gaining a more dominant court position.
3. Standard Volley
The standard volley is one where you have the time to apply all the steps you learned in the article: The fundamental basics of the volley in padel.
The standard volley is the traditional block-volley where you are able to place the ball into the gaps that will force your opponents back into defensive positions.
This is the type of volley where your opponents are more likely to make the kind of weak return that will enable you to finish the point.
4. Aggressive Volley
This next step in the progression in the type of volley that you can hit is the aggressive volley.
This usually happens when your opponent has hit a weak or soft shot. This gives you time to be in position turn properly with your body and get a better backswing.
You can then generate good racket-head speed through the ball for a faster volley.
Usually, you will aim your shot deep into the corner and play it either flat or with a slice. This will ideally be the kind of shot where you can win the point immediately or at least set up the next shot to finish the point.
5. Crosscourt Volley Down To Fence
This very specific kind of volley is one where you have played your opponents out of position to the back of the court and you receive a relatively easy volley fairly near to the fence on your side of the court.
Normally the temptation will be to play a drop-shot, but this will need to be played very short and with a lot of backspin or else the ball will pop up for your opponents, allowing them to get back into the point. This makes it a fairly low percentage winner.
The crosscourt volley down to fence is a far less risky option while still being very effective.
As the name suggests, with this volley you will take the ball from wide and play your volley fairly tight cross court. This gives you much more court to work with than a traditional drop-shot.
The first bounce of the ball will be beyond the centerline and then either bounce a second time just short of the fence or be dropping down to hit the fence right near the ground.
The good news is that you can play this shot flat or with just a little bit of slice, making it a safe shot to play without error.
There is a chance that the ball will hit the fence and pop up a little, allowing your opponent to get a racket to the ball. Even if this happens they will have very little control of their shot and be completely out of position. If your partner covers down the line and you move across to the centerline you will have everything covered.
6. The Bandeja
For the final two types of volley, we will cover what your options are when your opponent tries to lob you.
The first of these two is the defensive smash or the bandeja as it is commonly known. The shot was called the bandeja (Spanish for “tray”) because in the past the shot was played with an almost horizontal racket in much the same way as a waiter would carry a tray. The mechanics of the shot have changed but the name has stuck.
In general terms, the mechanics of the bandeja are similar to those of the overhead smash although you hit the ball in front of you at around eye level.
You also play the shot softer than a smash and with a lot more control, so that you can angle the ball down into one of the corners.
The bandeja is one of the more tricky shots to master in padel, especially for tennis players as it is a type of shot that is almost never encountered on a tennis court. For this reason, I will soon publish a post that will cover how to play the bandeja in much more detail.
7. The Smash Out Of The Court
The smash out of the court is the shot that tennis players tend to get right fairly quickly.
While you might be thinking up images of the kind of overhead power smash that you see on the tennis court, that is not the case. On a padel court, you have a much smaller target and therefore much more control is needed.
If you are a current/former tennis player, think back to all those baskets of balls your coach made you hit as topspin second serves that would kick up higher after bouncing. That is the shot I am referring to here.
Now that you know that it is not a wild power-smash and you have more control over your shot, let’s look more closely at where you should ideally place the ball.
If you can, get the ball to bounce a little before the service line with topspin. If your opponents are out of position the ball will either be bouncing at their feet or climbing past them almost out of reach.
Next, you need a spot on the back glass to aim for. You want the ball to hit the join between the first and second glass panels in from the corner. The main reason is that this join will always be re-inforced and the glass will have less flex which, in turn, will cause the ball to bounce up further after impacting the glass.
Another reason why you want to aim at the join between the first and second glass panels is the angle of reflection. If the ball impacts the back glass high, but closer to the corner there is a good chance that the ball will hit the high part of the side fence. Connecting the glass high up along the join will kick the ball far enough forward to get past the section of extra high side fence.
What I have noticed on the World Padel Tour is that the women who come from a WTA professional tennis background are able to smash out of the court with shots far softer than you might think possible. This is because they can get enough topspin on the ball from that tennis second-serve wrist action.
Now that we have covered these different kinds of volleys that you can play in padel, it is important that you not think of these volleys as one or the other. Rather think of the volley in padel as being a spectrum and that the volleys I have described above as points along that spectrum.
More often than not the ball that is coming to you won’t exactly match what I have covered here, but rather some sort of blend between two of the types of volleys.
The more you play, the better you will get at recognizing the best type of volley to play as the ball is coming toward you.