Precision and power, the features most required by padel players



Jordi Piedra explains that the Testea Padel laboratory that management scientifically analyzes aspects such as power, control, ball output, the sweet zone or the manageability of a paddle tennis racket to offer information that helps players make their choice.

(22-8-2022). From his experience scientifically analyzing the characteristics of padel rackets with laboratory tests, the engineer and manager of Testea Padel, Jordi Piedra, points out which are the most appropriate features for each type of player.

Starting from the basis that paddle tennis is a precision sport, the first thing that a racket should provide for the practice of this sport is, according to the manager of Testea Padel, Jordi Piedra, precision. However, this engineer immediately specifies that “power draws a lot of attention to the player and he will always take it into account when choosing a racket”.

Jordi Piedra is the manager of Testea Pádel, the first and, at the moment, the only laboratory specifically designed to analyze the quality of paddle tennis rackets and their behavior in the game. Created five years ago, this research center develops its work in the facilities of the Polytechnic University of Valencia with the scientific team of the entity’s AI2 Institute of Automation and Computing.

Piedra, who is also the owner of a paddle club and coach, indicates that each player will need one racket or another depending on their type of game and physical constitution. Testa Pádel seeks to scientifically analyze aspects such as power, control, ball output, the sweet zone or the manageability of a paddle tennis racket to offer information that helps players make their choice.

Hard or soft blades

“On a scientific level, the explanation is more complex, but we have sought a simple and clear language to be able to reach and help the player,” says Piedra. Thus, they distinguish between four categories of rackets making a balance between power and control: hard touch, medium/hard touch, medium touch and soft touch. The point is that the harder the touch, the more power it provides but the control decreases. And vice versa: soft touch paddles offer less power but more control.

The engineer observes that the hitting precision will not be the same in a “pro” player than in an amateur player; the first can have precision with blades that are heavier, with bigger heads, with a smaller sweet zone.

On the other hand, an amateur player needs the racket to be manageable, with a wide sweet zone that does not penalize when it is not hit in the center, and that does not vibrate a lot because his physical constitution will probably not be the same as that of a professional player.

However, Piedra states that each player can be different and that an amateur player will not necessarily have better sensations with a soft-touch racket, nor will a very experienced player necessarily prefer a hard-touch racket.

As far as differences between men and women are concerned, Piedra assures that the same shovels are valid for both genders. The choice will depend on the physical constitution that allows you to use more or less heavy blades. Regarding this, he is in favor of brands offering blades of different weight forks.

Work with the main brands

Testea Pádel is an independent entity of the paddle brands, but according to the manager they work with more than a dozen of the most outstanding brands in the sector, carrying out quality controls. Among the parameters they analyze are durability, resistance to breakage or that the manufacturing is homogeneous.

Piedra assures that the laboratory tests they carry out do not contain subjective components, as is the case with game tests by players. As he adds, the analyzes allow “to obtain an objective number, which gives an important guarantee to the brands, since they can work with data to improve their collections of blades”.

However, the engineer observes that brands, logically, use marketing resources to reach the largest number of players and in his speech “all rackets may seem perfect”. Piedra insists that “there is no ideal racket for all players, if you are looking for a racket with a lot of power you will see other attributes such as control or manageability diminished.”

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