Padel Glossary

All Padel terms explained in our handy glossary.

By Jorge Masta

Here is a glossary of padel terms for all the padel enthusiasts out there. If you're new to the sport, this is a great place to start. If you're a seasoned player, you might find some new terms to add to your vocabulary.


Acceleration: The increase in speed to impart more power to the shot.

Aluminum Fiber: A select few padel brands use this material. It is harder than fiberglass but softer than carbon fiber. Combined with carbon fiber, it offers a great balance of power and control. A unique feature of this material is the metallic sound it produces.

Anticipation: Player's foresight of the game's move.


Backspin: The effect of slicing the ball during the hit. The ball remains low upon bouncing and tends to fall towards the net.

Balance: Refers to the weight distribution of a padel racket. While tennis uses numerical values to indicate if the racket's weight is in the handle or the head, this still needs to be implemented in Padel. Thus, we talk about head-heavy and handle-heavy rackets.

Ball exit: This refers to the speed at which the ball leaves without much effort with the paddle, that is, the force the ball takes when it hits our paddle without us making a forceful arm movement.

Bandeja: A smash similar to a high volley.


Carbon: In the world of Padel, carbon is a material used in constructing structural elements of rackets, taking advantage of its high-pressure resistance and excellent rigidity.

Carbon Fiber: This material is commonly used on the surface of padel rackets. Despite many rackets claiming to be 100% carbon, few genuinely use carbon throughout their entire surface. It's a lightweight and fairly hard material, providing powerful strikes but less ball rebound than fiberglass.

Composite: A combination of resins used in Padel to strengthen the racket's structure.

Contact Surface: This is the part of the paddle with which you should hit the ball, providing us with the stroke sensations necessary for correct gameplay. It can be flat, smooth, striated, or present roughnesses to make realizing effects easier, although the ball will be subject to more wear. The paddle should have unlimited holes with a diameter between 9 and 13 mm.

Continental Grip: This is the most versatile grip in Padel as it allows any stroke without wasting time changing grips and facilitates the execution of the slice so frequently used in Padel. To hold the racket correctly using this grip, imagine that the racket is a hammer. Thus, the "V" formed by the index finger and thumb of the hand holding the racket should be in the middle of the handle.

Court: The surface where Padel is played. It's also referred to as a "padel court".


Dead Ball: A situation where the ball has little bounce and quickly falls to the ground, whether or not it touches the back or side walls.

Double Bounce: Occurs when the ball hits the racket twice in the same movement.

Double Wall Closing: This refers to a shot where the ball bounces off the ground first off the back wall and then off the side wall (either right or left) before being hit by the player.

Double Wall Opening: This refers to a shot where the ball, once bounced on the ground, bounces first off the side wall (either right or left) and then off the back wall before being hit by the player.

Double Walls: Game situations occur when the ball bounces off two walls before being hit with the racket.


Edges: These are the borders of a racket. A racket without edges offers a larger sweet spot (optimal impact zone), making it suitable for beginners. However, it's more fragile as edges safeguard the racket from blows and helps absorb vibrations.

Epoxy: A dense, sticky liquid resin formed by liquid composites. It's used for compact formation of fibers in the manufacturing process of a padel racket. It's applied to all the fibers composing the racket before being put in the oven.

E.V.A.: Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, a rubber with high shock absorption power used for the core of rackets.


Fiberglass: This material is a staple in padel racket manufacturing (although its use is declining). It's lightweight and flexible, making it useful on the racket's hitting surface. This performance is further improved when combined with graphite or carbon.

Foam: This type of polyethylene foam is used to make padel racket cores. It's softer than E.V.A. rubber.

Frame: This is the outer part of the racket that provides the firmness and resistance necessary for hitting the ball and for those unfortunate hits against the wall.

Free Hand: This is the hand that doesn't directly hold the racket – the left hand for right-handed players and the right hand for left-handed players.


Grip (1): The way the racket is held. Depending on how we hold the racket, we can execute different strokes depending on the game situation.

Grip (2): This is the part of the racket you hold. Since it's in direct contact with your hand, sweat and friction will cause it to deteriorate over time, leading to reduced performance. A worn-out grip can cause missed shots due to slight movements between the racket and the hand. Maintaining the grip in perfect condition is crucial, which is neither expensive nor technically challenging. Many players also use an Overgrip, which is now more common.

Graphite: Made from pure carbon, it's used in building racket frames and reinforcing other elements. Different qualities, thicknesses, and combinations make it a lightweight and resilient material.


Handle: This is the part of the racket that is held. A cord extends from its end, which must be tied around the wrist.


Kevlar: This is a high-strength fabric used in Padel to reinforce various elements. Its rigidity makes it difficult to work with.


Let: This term refers to repeating a point due to specific circumstances defined by the rules. These circumstances include interference during play, a ball from another court entering the playing area, or a serve hitting the net but still landing within the service box. The point is not scored in such cases, and the server is given another chance to serve.

Lifting: This is an effect imparted to the ball that causes it to spin on itself, resulting in a higher bounce or climbing up the wall.

Lob Shot: This is a common stroke in Padel used to escape forced situations and push opponents to the back of the court, preventing attack situations near the net.

Sorted alphabetically:


Metal Mesh: This component is found on the sides and top ends of the court. The impact on the mesh is unpredictable, so players often play shots against it (after bouncing off the ground) to confuse their opponents.


Off-the-wall Shot: Striking the ball toward the wall of our field so that it heads to the opposing field after its bounce.

Overgrip: This is placed over the racket's grip and allows for better adaptation and customization of the grip to each particular hand. It greatly simplifies grip maintenance as it can be quickly replaced.


Passing Shot: This is a shot used to bypass an opponent at the net, except for a lob shot.

Picky: Ball retriever. A plastic tube used in classes to pick up balls from the ground.

Polyethylene: This compound is harder than FOAM but softer than E.V.A. Rackets with this material have more power but less ball rebound than those made of FOAM, and they have a longer lifespan. They offer the control that falls between FOAM and E.V.A.

Power (or Strike): This refers to the force with which the ball is hit hard with the racket. It's often used to denote the speed the ball gains when we perform a smash.

Preparation: This involves taking the arm back before hitting the ball.


Racket Cord: The cord hanging from the end of the racket. Its purpose is to hold the racket. It's mandatory and must be a maximum of 35 centimeters long.

Racket Neck: The area between the racket head and handle. It's also referred to as the "heart" of the racket.

Ready Position: This is the stance we take while waiting for the ball to come from the opposite field. It's the base and crucial position from which we prepare to execute any stroke. We distinguish between:

  • Defensive Ready Position: We face the net, knees semi-flexed for quicker reaction, weight distributed on both legs, slightly leaning forward. The racket is held in front of our waist. Elbows stay close to the body.
  • Offensive Ready Position: In this case, the ready position is more critical due to less reaction time near the net. The stance is similar to the defensive ready position, but now the racket is almost at eye level, slightly away from the body, and the center of gravity is a bit higher.

Rebound: Occurs when the ball strikes the walls or the metal mesh.

Return: This is the stroke executed to return the serve or service. It is usually a lob or cross-shot.


Sidespin: Side effect that the ball receives in the stroke. When the opponent returns it, the ball tends to go off the court.

Side Spin: The rotational movement of the ball from right to left.

Smash: This type of stroke where the ball is hit at its highest point, usually intended to finish the rally.

Spin: The changes in a ball's trajectory when it's hit in a specific way.

Split-Step: The small jump made to return to the initial ready position.

Super Tie: A Tie Break played to 10 points instead of 7.

Sweet Spot: This is the optimum point of impact on the racket, where the most force and sensitivity are achieved. It improves precision, resulting in more controlled strokes, achieving desired direction and effect.


Termination: This is the final phase of a stroke.

Tie-break: A scoring system designed to break a tie when a 6-6 deadlock in games has been reached. The first pair win the set to reach 7 points with a difference of 2. If the score becomes tied again at 7 points, play continues until one team achieves a 2-point difference.

Titanium: It provides firmness and resistance without greatly increasing the weight of the paddle assembly, thus providing greater durability. It is derived from three minerals: rutile, ilmenite, and titanite.

Topspin: An effect given to the ball with the stroke. Increases the ball's speed.

Topspin: The upward rotational movement of the ball.


Volley: A stroke executed close to the net and before the ball bounces on the ground. It usually has a chopped effect and takes place in attack situations.