WITH the padel season now reaching prime time and the FIP RISE London Padel Open – the biggest tournament to be held on British courts – due to be played next week, we thought it timely to provide some tips on how to transition from club stalwart to competitive padel animal.
These padel pearls of wisdom are from Nick Holloway, Game4Padel’s head coach at Huddersfield Lawn Tennis and Squash Club which in 2011 became the first club in the UK to make the ground-breaking decision to add two padel courts to their excellent facilities.
It has been a busy summer for Nick who starred for Team GB at the recent European ‘Super Seniors’ Championships where he posted an unblemished record in partnership with Game4Padel’s very own CEO Michael Gradon as the Brit ‘old boys’ posted a solid ninth-placed finish.
Nick has also overseen the growth of a burgeoning box league set up at Huddersfield which has 25 pairs of padeleros and padeleras batting it out from novice to elite international level in the Yorkshire…. ‘sun’!
A fully qualified Padelmba Certified Padel Coach Nick had no doubts about his five key tips for those with the urge to compete and we are delighted to share them:
Nick’s 5 Tips To Help You Clean Up Competitively:
Nick said: “Make sure your footwork is clean, efficient and you keep your position on court. As soon as you are moved out of position you must aim to get back into the recovery position nice and early.”
2: Early Preparation:
Nick said: “Early prep is essential! Make sure you get your racket back nice and early, complimented by your footwork, and then make sure you don’t rush the forward swing or use the wrist too much.”
Nick said: “If you go in there and try and win the point too early it won’t work for you. You’ve got to build the point, develop your rhythm, create the space, and then put it to bed.”
Nick said: “You must have variation with each shot you use. This can range from different speed, direction, and spin and all these things are essential.”
5: Game Plan:
Nick said: “You must have a game plan and analyse who you are playing. You need to know if they have come from tennis or squash or just aren’t experienced. “You will find that tennis players love to volley but don’t like the walls and will play a faster game so slow it down and bring the walls into play. “Squash players love to hit the ball down the line so you must be on your toes to avoid being passed there. They also don’t like to volley so much but they are very accurate. “You must also know the strengths and weaknesses of your partner and try to put them in the fridge!”
And one more for the road:
Middle of the Court:
Nick said: “People don’t realise that if you are aiming down the middle, you give the opponent no angles to hurt you with and also you can cause confusion against a pair who haven’t played a lot together. This is a great go-to play.”
Success in the Spanish Sun and the Adrenaline Rush:
(From left: Michael Gradon and James Rose with Nick Holloway at the FIP Senior European Championships).
Having enjoyed a successful summer himself, we asked Nick to share his experiences from La Nucia, Alicante and recite the rewards of competitive padel play:
“The Super Seniors European Championships went really well – we played Holland, Finland and Poland and won all three and we were the only pairing to get a win against the Dutch who were particularly strong.
“Michael and I had a good understanding and I felt we complimented each other’s games. There is nothing like building and developing that relationship with your partner – it is one of the most rewarding things about playing competitive padel with someone regularly.
“We registered a 9th place finish out of 15 which was a solid performance. I had played in Europeans and Worlds before but never in the Super Seniors which is a new category (50 +). It was just great to experience all of that and the camaraderie.
“We had a 12-man squad, managed by Nikhil Mohindra the GB international, and it was run really well, with two full practise days before the tournament, and very professional.
“But there is no feeling like competing. It is the adrenaline rush, that feeling inside of you, the intensity of concentration on court and awareness of what the opponent is doing and then still having the composure to play your shots.
“There is a saying that: ‘You’ve got to train like you want to play and play like you train’, for me that is the perfect way to approach your padel if you want to enjoy competition.”