How To Return Padel Serve? 5 Tips To Nail Your Game

Your padel game starts with a serve. To continue your game, you have to return it correctly. The right return refers to the proper technique while following the rule strictly. 

But how to return padel serve? There are several skills to practice until you can perfect your shot. This article will share some tips to speed up your progress.

So let’s read on and learn how to improve your game! 

How To Return Padel Serve? 

It might be difficult to return a padel serve, but with enough practice and strategy, you can boost your success rate. Here are some pointers for your shot: 

Get into your position

The serve is the first shot. Often, the servers won’t play it hard. Hence, all you need to do is stay calm. 

It would be best to stand in the middle of the court. This position allows more time to respond to the serve. You can also then cover more area.  

Keep an eye on the ball

You can expect the direction of the serve by observing your opponent’s body position. The angle of the racket will also give you a hint. 

Then, keep an eye on the ball to guess the type of spin the server uses. This tip will help you prepare for the ball’s trajectory and guess how it will bounce. 

Choose your shot

There are multiple types of shots to return a serve. The best shot depends on your preference and specific situation. Your options include the following:

  • Backhand stroke: This shot is about hitting the ball after it has bounced once using the backhand grip. Then, you can control the ball easier and be ready for the next shot. 
  • Lob shot: If the serve is fast and tricky to return, the lob shot will help you send the ball high in the air. After that, you will have more time to return to your position. 
  • Slice shot: You can return the serve by hitting the ball with an angled racket face so it will spin and bounce fast yet low. We call this technique “slice shot.” 

Use the walls

The walls are your friends in padel. For example, you can let the serve bounce against the side wall if returning it would be too hard. 

Move quickly 

Speed is the key. However, you can pull it off soon. In this scenario, stick to one rule: practice makes perfect.

How to return padel serve
How to return a serve?

Can You Return A Serve With A Volley In Padel? 

No. You can volley the padel ball at any time, but not for returning a serve. Instead, you have to let the ball bounce once before hitting it. If you insist on volleying it, you will lose your point. 

Some people wonder why they can’t volley to return a serve. In fact, padel serves are mostly underarm serves. Hence, the ball won’t travel at high speed. 

So, if you volley the ball in this case, the server can’t react and respond to your strike. In this case, the receiving player has too much advantage, making the game unfair. 

As a result, padel establishes a rule that the receiver must let the serve bounce before hitting it. Then, the serving player can move forward the net earlier and have a slight advantage. 

On the other hand, even when the receiver returns the serve using a volley, there won’t be any guarantee that it’s a smart move. 

You need to practice a lot to execute a consistent and accurate volley. Hence, outlawing the volley return may benefit both receivers and servers.

How to return padel serve
Be careful with the shot you use to return a serve

How Many Times Can A Serve Bounce Before You Hit It?

If the serve drops on the receiving box, you must return it before it hits the surface for a second time. If you miss the chance, you will lose your point. 

A serve starts the game. To serve the ball, the server drops it behind the line. Once the ball has bounced, you will hit it into the diagonal service box on your opponent’s side. 

After the serve, the ball must bounce off the service box before crossing over the opponent’s side. After the first bounce, the serve cannot touch the wire fence.

The ball must always bounce on the ground before hitting the back or side walls in serving and during play. If the first serve is invalid, the serve can do it again. 

If the ball can’t cross the net or hits the wall without bouncing off the ground first, the players who hit it will lose a point. 

This video will show you how the game goes and when it should bounce:

How to return padel serve
Letting the ball bounce before hitting it is a part of the rule

Padel Official Rules About Returning 

Aside from the shot used to return the ball and the number of bounces before hitting the ball, there are more rules to follow. 

Return order

The players take turns receiving serves. Once chosen, the order must remain while the set is in progress. Players can only change the order after each set.  

Preparation for the return

Unless the receiver is ready, the server cannot hit the ball. Otherwise, the server could not earn the point even if the serve was good. Similarly, the receiver can’t take the point if the server is out.

How to return padel serve
Learn more rules about the return


The tips we have shared will help you increase your chances of successfully returning a tricky serve and earning the point. Following the official rules is also an essential part of your game. 

However, it takes time and practice to return a serve well. So be patient, and keep practicing to become a professional padel player. 

Thank you for reading!

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