The one-letter threat for padel coaches

This time I'll do it in English for two main reasons. First, it's obvious that padel is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, maybe sharing the podium with pickleball, although pickleball is gaining popularity mostly in the USA. The second is that English is the lingua franca that everyone uses to exchange information among 'padel countries' whose citizens are not native English speakers. Like in many other environments. I've been told that in motorbike racing they use Italian in general due to the massive number of Italians involved in that sport. Maybe the same could happen in padel with Spanish but in my humble opinion, this will only be true with a bunch of words like bandejachiquita or vamos!

Another fact related to the development of padel in new countries is—and will remain this way—its link to tennis. Some people will like it, some others will not, but no one will be able to deny it or avoid it. It is about dealing with it, not crying about it.

When these two worlds —padel & tennis— collide several features are affected. Let's focus on the teaching/learning side. Many tennis coaches try to become padel coaches like me and some of my peers did around 35 years ago. This path normally is a nice gentle slope except for one main and powerful yet simple thing: a letter.

I always say that I'm a black belt in committing mistakes. I was a tennis coach, I underestimated padel and I'm not that young any more, so it will be hard to beat my mark on this try-and-fail life of working in padel development.

My advice is short and simple: if you are a tennis coach and you want to become a padel coach instead of adOpting your tennis knowledge, methodologies and resources for your new padel venture, you just have to adApt them. Just change the 'O' in adOpt with the 'A' in adApt, and you'll save a lot of time and money. Believe me.

Last year I was talking to the managers of some padel courses in a certain country about the tests in their curriculum and I pointed out to them that they were testing a tennis game situation on a padel court. This particular situation will never occur in padel. Were they bad tutors? On the contrary, they belong to one of the best teaching organizations I know. Simply, they were using the mindset from tennis. Once they started thinking of adApting (not adOpting), things became crystal clear.

Last month a colleague sent me some presentations from a padel course promoted by a federation from another country. A big one. They were using an 'attack-defence-playing at the back-playing at the net' scheme useful in tennis, but inappropriate for padel.

I'm the living case of a padel coach—back then also a padel pro player—teaching and playing padel with a fixed mindset from tennis. It took me some time and many mistakes to be aware of this issue of the letter 'A' and the letter 'O'. I hope you can avoid this. You're warned!

M. E.

22 de mayo de 2023