The effectiveness of the stroke
The efficiency of the stroke is a key performance indicator in padel and has traditionally been classified into three variables: winning stroke, error and continuity of the point. The study of these parameters will provide very relevant information to players and coaches to know the performance in a match or competition.
“The goal for players in a padel match will be to increase the percentage of winners and decrease the percentage of mistakes”.
Research and statistics
However, statistics and scientific research have provided us with interesting data to find out which strokes win more points or commit more mistakes in a padel match.
As the following graph shows, it seems that the powerful smash (flat and topspin) is the stroke with which almost half of the winning shots are produced in a professional padel match, and only 4% of the errors.
On the other hand, volleys, “bandejas” and “víboras” produce a high percentage of winners, but also a similar percentage of errors. Finally, it is observed that groundstrokes only produce 7% of winners and 32% of errors.
Differences between male and female padel
There are differences in the efficiency of strokes between men’s and women’s padel. As shown in the following graph, in men’s padel, approximately 2 out of every 3 strokes that end the point are winners (64%), while in women’s padel, women make 10% more winners than errors at the end of the point (55% vs. 45%). Thus, in men’s padel there are 10% more winners than in women’s padel. This data may be related to the differences in the types of strokes with which the winning strokes are made between men and women.
Thus, we also find differences in the type of stroke with which more winners and more errors are made between men’s and women’s padel. The following graph shows the differences in the winning strokes:
- Although the powerful smash (flat and topspin) is the stroke that wins the most points in professional padel, it is more decisive in men’s padel.
- Men hit 15% more powerful winners than women.
- Women hit twice as many winners with the “bandeja” as men.
- The forehand volley is more decisive in women and the backhand volley in men to win the point.
- Women hit twice as many winners from the back of the court with the forehand/backhand and off the wall smashes.
On the other hand, the following graph shows the differences in errors between men’s and women’s padel:
- In net strokes, men make a higher percentage of mistakes in forehand and backhand volleys, while women make a higher percentage of errors in “bandejas” and smashes.
- In wall strokes, there are hardly any differences in the percentages of errors between men’s and women’s padel.
- Approximately 30% of the errors correspond to forehand and backhand strokes, and these data are also very similar between men and women.
- In both men’s and women’s padel, 50% of the errors correspond to strokes with a bounce and 50% to strokes without a bounce. However, between 80% and 90% of the winning shots correspond to shots without bounces.
These data show important differences in playing styles between men’s and women’s padel, especially in winners, which will help us in the design of training sessions. However, it is important to observe other variables in the study of the winning strokes, such as the area of the court from where they are hit or their direction, which will help to improve the decision making of our players.
Distance with the net and effectiveness of the stroke
It can be observed, therefore, that the distance to the net is one of the main indicators that influence the effectiveness of the strokes. As shown in the following graph, as professional players move further away from the net, the chances of committing more errors increase.
Winners vs losers ratio
Finally, the study of the winning strokes and errors of my players in padel should be carried out jointly, and will give us indications of the style of play and performance of the player. Although the main strategy will be to increase the percentage of winners and decrease the percentage of errors, there are players with a more aggressive style of play, who will make a high percentage of winning points, but also errors, and other more defensive players who will make a low percentage of winners, but also errors.
This ratio can be presented in scatter graphs as shown below with data from the 2020 World Padel Tour Masters, and comparing both percentages gives us an idea of both the style of play and, above all, the performance of the player in a given tournament.
Bernardino J. Sánchez-Alcaraz: @nino.sanchez.alcaraz