The bandeja is one of the most difficult shots for players to learn. This is particularly difficult for tennis players, as the technique, contact point and even shot objectives are very different to the tennis smash.
The word “Bandeja” meaning “tray” in Spanish is the name for the shot as originally the technique was the way the a racket is held so that drinks could be put on top of it. This shot is between a smash and a forehand volley, in the videos I often refer to it as a “defensive smash”, as it is often hit on a deep lob with the purpose of retaining the net position.
There are a few key elements you should think about with this shot:
- Move back early – as soon as you see your opponent hitting a lob, immediately turn and start preparing for the shot. It is important to start moving back straight away, because…
- The Contact must be infront – the only way to assure this is to move back fast and early enough to get behind the ball. The contact in front means that your strike can go properly through the ball (with slice) and it also means you can…
- Move back into position quickly – this will help you keep that net position, which is the main purpose of this shot.
The aim of this shot is to make sure you are not attacked on the next ball and if possible, change a defensive position into an attacking position. To do this, there are specific target areas to aim for:
- Into the Corner – Hitting single or double glass gives you more time to recover the net, as the ball slows down off the glass. Forcing your opponent into the corner of the court also puts your opponent on the defensive.
- Down the middle – hitting between the 2 opponents so that the 2nd bounce is near the back glass will force your opponents out of position by moving them to the back centre of the court.
There are 2 ways of hitting the bandeja, using the chest and using your arm! Checkout this video to learn more!
There is a huge variation of overheads in padel, the bandeja is just one element. For the full list of videos checkout the “Overheads Course”.