Exploring game dynamics in padel. Implications for assessment and training.
A better understanding of in-game competition demands potentially improves coaching strategy and quality. However, there is very limited information about game patterns in padel, a very modern racket sport born in the 70’. The purpose of this study was therefore to quantify and classify game dynamics during the match in professional padel players through a multivariate decision tree approach including technical, spatial and effectiveness indicators. The results determined three main game styles strongly defined by the court zone (net, middle and baseline). Additionally, particular technical, spatial and effectiveness indicators were identified in each zone. In net and middle areas (offence) stood the use of volleys and over-head strokes on the center lane to both keep a positional advantage and solve the point. Conversely in the baseline (defense), the use of corner side walls and the domain of lobs showed to be relevant. It is also remarkable the high rate of backhand groundstrokes, involving over four out of ten actions. This information may have relevant implications for coaches working in padel by providing a novel hierarchically organization of game dynamics, which helps in designing training and conditioning programs close to real competitive situations.