How to Make a Perfect Paddle Tray Shot

Learn the technique to do a paddle tray shot correctly, a resource that can give more versatility to your game and perfect it.
How to Make a Perfect Paddle Tray Shot

Last update: 07 April, 2019

Also known as “smash hit”, the paddle tray shot is one of the most complicated moves to make in this sport. The goal is confusing and appeases the opponent. That’s why it’s worth learning how to do it!

What is the paddle tray shot?

The ‘tray shot’ is a paddle playing technique; it originated as a way to solve a problem for right-handed players, avoiding the rebound. Since it was a success and an alternative to tennis moves that were used until that point in time, left-handed players also began to use it.

Experts recommend it when it’s necessary to respond to a moon-ball from the opponent; this means those shots that could force you to make a smash from an uncomfortable position. The main goals of the paddle tray shot are certainty (low percentage of error), low rebound, depth in the hit (to keep the attack on the net) and less physical wear.

Two women doing paddle training

With all of these advantages in mind, we understand why all paddle players want to learn how to do it. Once you’ve practiced it several times, you’ll see that it wasn’t as difficult as it seemed. Even if you don’t think you’ll get it right from the beginning, you must dominate the technique and you can only achieve that by training.

How to make a paddle tray shot step by step

It’s not a definition shot, but a precision one. That’s why it’s essential to do it well! This way you’ll stay on the net longer and will have a better chance of winning the game. Of course, it’s not unbeatable, but it’s interesting and effective to confuse your opponents and take advantage of it.

It’s recommended to use the ‘continental grip‘ to make this hit. This is considered the correct way to keep the paddle firm and it’s also the most suitable for other techniques. To grab it that way, place your hand wide open on the face of the racket and slide up to the handle.


The preparation to make a paddle tray shot is really important: your initial position is waiting near the net. As soon as you receive the ball, you turn the right part of your body to the back and raise the right hand (up and back). Your left-hand ends up pointing towards the ball.

Then you move backward looking for the ball -without ever losing sight of it. You must bend and separate your legs a little, your weight must be on your back leg.

Woman playing paddel

Once you get ahead of the ball, it’ll be on your right side. That’s when you must pass the paddle or racket straight ahead. Extend your right arm almost completely when hitting the ball.

You have to do this hit at eye level and in front of your head. If you want the ball to bounce low you can hit it diagonally (known as ‘5 0’clock’). This way, the opponent will hardly be able to make the return.

After making the tray shot it’s very important that you move forward, you’ll go quickly to the net and avoid losing points.

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