Sequential Mapping of Game Patterns in Men and Women Professional Padel Players

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Rafael Conde-Ripoll Sport Sciences Faculty, University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain

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Diego Muñoz Sport Sciences Faculty, University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain

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Adrián Escudero-Tena Sport Sciences Faculty, University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain

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Javier Courel-Ibáñez Sport Sciences Faculty, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

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Purpose: This study analyzed the sequences of actions in professional men and women padel players to identify common game patterns. Methods: The sample comprised 17,557 stroke-by-stroke actions (N = 1640 rallies) of the championship World Padel Tour. Multistep Markov chains were used to calculate the conditional probabilities of occurrence of actions during the rally. Results: Results revealed that men’s and women’s padel is mainly defined by 36 patterns constituting 55% and 63% of all actions in the game, respectively, with the 10 most common sequences accounting for 42% to 45% of the game. There were recurrent technical–tactical actions with specific offensive and defensive functions that were constantly reiterated during the rallies. In men, the use of smash, volley, bandeja, direct, back wall, back-wall lobs, and direct lobs followed a foreseeable pattern up to 8 lags, whereas women described predictable interactions for volley, bandeja, direct, lobs, and direct lobs up to 5 lags and for smash and back wall up to 4 lags. Conclusions: The ability of padel players to recall these patterns and enhance their anticipation skills may potentially improve their performance. These findings contribute to a better knowledge of professional padel game dynamics while providing coaches and players with useful information to optimize training and decision-making strategies.

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