While baseball, basketball and football have led the way in the analytics revolution in sports, professional pickleball is still new to the scene that there hasn’t even been a basic statistical review on how the games elite are performing on the court.
The Dink Tank is going to conduct periodic analytic reviews to help you understand how professional strategy and execution can change the way weekend warrior matches are played and won.
Our first review is from a mixed doubles match of Johns/Jardim vs. Newman/Parenteau in Utah on August 21st, 2021. Johns and Jadim prevailed with a two games to none victory.
Let’s break down the basics.
“You play to win the game” – Herm Edwards
To win the game you have to be able to put the ball away when the opportunity presents itself. There is nobody better in the game than Ben Johns and this match was no different.
Johns achieved these in a variety of ways – either by speeding up play or finishing overheads he put the ball away 15 times. More than 40% of all winners hit in the match were by the world #1. Will be interesting to track this trend across a series of matches.
Check out the winner from Johns in this point.
One of the quickest ways to improve your game is to clean up the unforced errors.
All unforced errors are not created equal, some have a time and a place – determine how and when are you aggressive? Which team is serving and what is the expected value of a point?
Two main takeaways from John’s unforced errors:
- As a Percentage – John’s plays the ball more than any player, given their stacking strategy and his overall aggression so a percentage is probably more valuable than a raw number
- When they Happen – Only 3 out of 10 of his unforced errors led to points – the other 7 were on his teams service leading to a loss of serve
Conversely – 9 of 11 Parenteau unforced errors led to points for John/Jardim.
3rd Shot Drops
You’ll often see the weekend warrior called a banger – just crushing the ball as hard as they can instead of introducing the finesse game to find the advantage and get to the net.
3rd Shot Drop Opportunity
There is no surprise here in terms of Johns and Jardims dominance in this match as they are able to flip the script and get to the net via 3rd shot drop execution. Newman struggled throughout the match to execute the strategy.
There is great value in drilling this drop as a part of your warm ups to find great gains.
Part of the fun playing the game as an amateur is by trying to do something the pros can do. In this match there were two Ernes and one around the post play. Both resulted with the team playing the maneuver in winning the point. This doesn’t always happen immediately but it certainly put the team in the offensive position.
This point shows while Jardim takes the Erne but does not win the point immediately it certainly puts them on the offensive and ultimately leads to the win.
Check out our article here on why amateurs should be trying to Erne more often.