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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Recycle Sunday - Pickleball Statistical Analysis - Conversions

A blast from the past...

This week's Recycle Sunday article was originally published February 14, 2016.


Noel White analyzed 5 areas of pickleball as listed in my post Pickleball Statistical Analysis. We have covered the first four of those areas over the past week and will now discuss the last area of his work. The subject is conversions, a term with which I was not previously familiar. Before we define it, let's see how important it was found to be. The conclusion (Results Nutshell) reached by Noel was:
90% of the time winning teams have the most total number of successful conversions. I have some rough estimates that teams using the most offensive type conversions win a high % of the time and teams that have the most defensive type of conversion shots lose a majority of their games
A 90% factor in winning seems to be pretty important, at least important enough to understand how to use it to our advantage.

Noel has described a conversion as "any change-up in hitting or playing the game that breaks the previous pattern of hitting or play. For example, a lob out of a dinking pattern, soft hitting to hard hitting, a cross-court shot during a pattern of straight line volleying….)"

Therefore, conversions are used by teams to control play. In fact, it appeared to Noel that teams have found conversions so effective that teams with a high majority of successful conversions will also have a highest number of failed conversions...and still win the game. In other words, winning teams will use lots of conversions.

But all conversions are not equal according to Noel. The key is to stay aggressive and on the offensive because only offensive conversions contribute to winning. Noel observed "that a team strong in offensively executed conversions would see a forced error in their opponent or score a point within two hits of their executed conversions."

On the other hand, teams with the most defensive conversions typically lose. Noel's observation was "some teams used conversions as a way to break up the play as a defensive tactic to get a strong offensive opponent out of controlling the play of the game. Sometimes these defensive conversions appeared to be executed in frustration or as just taking a chance to see what would happen."

The bottom line of this analysis is that aggressive play when on offense pays off with a greater chance to win.  

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