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26 June, 2022

In The Padel Interview, we have been with Jorge Rodriguez, physical trainer of the World Padel Tour.

Jorge began his career in the world of padel with Juan Martin Diaz, and although both came from tennis, they knew how to adapt to the circumstances of this sport.

Since then, great players such as Agustín Tapia, Juan Lebrón or Fernando Belasteguín have passed through his hands. You can’t miss this interview!

  • Why did you decide to become a physical trainer for professional padel players? What made you do it?

It was a circumstance that led me first to train non-professional padel players because at that time I was in Argentina where I was dedicated to training tennis players and training padel players was the logical change as many tennis players switched to padel.

I started with Juan Martín Díaz who was my tennis player and then he switched to padel and as he had me as his physical trainer in tennis, he offered me the chance to continue with him in padel. That’s what led me little by little to professional padel and so, little by little, more professional padel players started to come.

  • Who was the first player you decided to prepare physically? What was the first day like?

The first player was Juan Martin Diaz, and as we already knew each other the first day was a normal day, the only thing I had to adapt my training to the characteristics of padel, which are very different from tennis.

You have to adapt a lot of things and well, I had to train, learn and have the experience to adapt my training from tennis to padel.

  • What is the job of a World Padel Tour physical trainer like?

The job of a World Padel Tour physical trainer is not only padel, but we do other things like personal interviews, advice to players and other types of activities with them.

My mornings are devoted entirely to professional players with a wide time slot from eight o’clock in the morning until two o’clock in the afternoon.

A period where they can come during that time, although my idea is not to have too many players together at the same time as I like a personalised training.

  • You are the physical trainer of some of the best WPT players, how is your day to day with them?

The players and I see each other every day in training and the relationship is not just about training because we have to create the atmosphere and the circumstances that make them go as far as possible, which also means having a friendly relationship with them. I try to support them in many day-to-day circumstances that happen to them.

This is a sport where sensations have a lot of influence, the relationship with his environment has a lot of influence, the player needs to feel comfortable in his day to day life.

It is an interdisciplinary work where we also work with the psychologist, the nutritionist, the technician and the physiotherapist. We try to get everyone on the same page so that we all work along the same lines.

  • What kind of exercises do you carry out with the players?

The exercises I work on with the players vary. There is an individual work plan based on the players’ competition calendar and, for example, if we are in pre-season, we work more on volume or strength exercises, but when we are in the competition period we try to work on preventive exercises to avoid injuries.

During these periods we carry out explosive exercises with a low load so that the player has a good activation and we try to maintain the rest of the physical qualities such as strength, speed, endurance and flexibility, but the priority is padel training and tournaments.

  • Could you tell us an anecdote with any of them?

I remember one with Fernando Belasteguín a few years ago, we were in the quarter-finals and he started with the flu. He had a fever and the truth is that we were worried because at night he was sweating a lot and his temperature was rising.

We asked him to contribute as much as he could and for his partner to cover for him on the court as much as possible. Despite the flu, Fernando and his partner reached the final, a match where Bela played one of his best games.

Fernando knew he was at a disadvantage because he was not well but his ability to concentrate on the game was so great that he played one of his best matches even though he was unwell.

I think it’s a great learning experience where it shows that attitude is important and that we can achieve success regardless of the adverse circumstances we may face.

Sandra Hernández Esteban,
Journalist TPI

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