Le padel is a mix between tennis and squash. However, the physiological demands of racquet sports are not yet sufficiently analyzed. And especially those of padel.

Focus on the physical and physiological requirements necessary for padel which will make it possible to suggest the training and evaluation orientations of the players of padel future years.

  1. Subjects

These are ten amateur paddle players playing at least twice a week (approximately 2 hours of play per week), all of them right-handed men. They are aged 6 to 21 years old.

  • Average age = 34,6 ± 7,99 years
  • Size = 1,81 ± 0,11 m
  • Weight = 78,1 ± 27,49 kg
  • BMI = 23,89 ± 1,92 kg / m²

These 10 players voluntarily participated in this study. Before participating, they read and signed an informed consent for this purpose.

  1. Instruments

The study was carried out on 16 games, always on the same day of the week (namely Saturday) and always around the same hours (start of the games around 15 p.m.) so that the influence of circadian rhythms on the variables of the study is always the same (Atkinson and Reilly, 1996).

Indeed, on the physiological level a certain number of functions which have an influence on sports performance evolve according to a circadian rhythmicity. Thus, certain central (heart rate, oxygen consumption, ventilation) or peripheral (musculo-articular flexibility, muscular strength) factors undergo variations during the course of a day. The best performances are generally recorded in the afternoon (between 15 p.m. and 18 p.m.). It therefore seemed to me wise to carry out the measurements during matches made between the middle and the end of the afternoon. Especially since the peak of adrenaline secretion (stimulating hormone) is during the afternoon.

The players always played with the same pair. Each match was played in 2 winning sets. Each player played with their own racquet, which is usually used. All balls were identical (of the brand Head padel).

  • Global positioning system (GPS)

The distance traveled and the speed of movement were recorded via Suunto Ambit3 Peak GPS watches attached to players' wrists. To be able to record the signal, the matches were played on grounds outside the Padel Bailly Noisy Tennis Club.

  • Heart rate (HR)

Using the heart rate monitor of Suunto Ambit3 Peak watches, heart rate values ​​were recorded every second. These values ​​have been classified into six categories that correspond to percentages of maximum heart rate:

FC1 (<50%), FC2 (50-70%), FC3 (70-80%), FC4 (80-90%), FC5 (90-100%) and FC6 (100-120%)

  • Assessment of perceived effort

The measurement of the perceived effort was made using the Borg scale during the minute following the end of the match.

The Borg scale or the measure of effort perception (RPE) is a quantitative measure of the perception of effort during physical exercise, introduced around 1970 by Professor Gunnar Borg. The measure is a rating on a scale of 0 to 10 attached to different words of appreciation: effort "very light, difficult, painful ...". This global measure, based on the person's physical and mental sensations, takes into account physical condition, environmental conditions and the level of general fatigue.

It is widely used in sports training to assess the intensity of an exercise or competition and to deduct the training load. If the measurement is subjective, it has been shown to be correlated with many physiological parameters: heart rate, accumulation of blood lactate, ventilatory threshold, etc.

  • Lactate level

It was measured using the “Lactate Pro 2” lactate meter from Praxisdienst. 0,3 µl of blood sample was taken from players' fingers at the end of each match. The measurement was carried out by a registered nurse.

In addition to the measurement of the heart rate, the measurement of lactate is frequently used in sports preparation. Since lactate is a good indicator of aerobic or anaerobic metabolism in muscle, the value of lactate can be used to determine if the training load is appropriate for the athlete.

3. Results

Table of data analyzed during the study :

Distance per match(M)2127± 589
Duration of matches(S)3250± 532
Average speed(km / h)2,39± 0,20
Maximum speed(km / h)14,8± 1,21
Average HR(beats / min)139± 9,68
Max HR(beats / min)189± 7,3
FC1(<50% Fc max)0,37± 1,4
FC2(50-70%)24,21± 18,52
FC3(70-80%)39,12± 20,28
FC4(80-90%)29,72± 15,20
FC5(90-100%)6,43± 11,87
FC6(100-120%)0,15± 0,29
lactate(mmol / l)3,08± 1,69
Borg10(points)5,12± 1,92

In this table, we note that the distance traveled on average per match by the players is 2,1 km. The duration of the matches was 54 min.

In terms of speed, on average it was 2,39 km / h with an average top speed of 14,8 km / h. Heart rate averages 139 beats per minute. Over 50% of the heart rates seen by players during a game are within <80% of their maximum heart rate.

The lactate, measured at the end of the match, is 3,08 mmol / L on average. Similarly, the perceived effort measured through the Borg scale is 5,12 points. This corresponds to an activity considered to be hard.

Table showing the percentage of the average distance covered during a match of padel depending on speed :

In this table we see that of the total distance traveled, about 81% are achieved at a speed less than 6 km / h. In comparison, only 2% of the total distance traveled is achieved at high speed (> 12km / h).

Table showing the percentage of average time spent in a match padel depending on the speed:

This table shows us that more than 90% of the playing time is spent at less than 6km / h by the players during a match. Time spent at high speed (> 15km / h) represents 0,01% of total playing time.

Let's see the conclusions.

Matthieu Lebourgeois is a sports physiotherapist and physical trainer. He takes care of players of padel lover of re-athletic rehabilitation and practices padel regularly at leisure on padel. Matthieu fully intends to test himself in competition and show his talent!