Player DNA: Technical, Tactical, Physical, Mental

Published by Game Insight Group

What makes a player the player they are? This is the question at the heart of a new set of GIG stats known as Player DNA.

  • What is It? Player DNA breaks down a player’s performance into four key areas: Technical, Tactical, Physical and Mental. Using some of the richest data in the sport, GIG has developed multiple stats to score player performance in each of these dimensions of performance. These scores highlight the strength of a player’s skills in each area relative to their competitors.
  • Which data? We have pulled together multiple data sources to get the most comprehensive view of player performance. These data include point-level data describing the outcomes of every point in Grand Slam matches and tracking data describing ball and player movement throughout points in matches at the Australian Open. For all datasets, we focus on the period from2016 to 2018.
  • How do we score? Each DNA score rates how much better or worse a player performs in that specific area or skill relative to an average Grand Slam player. Because player performance is heavily influenced by the situation and strength of opponent, we adjust for both situational factors and the difficulty of their opponent. In other words, we use statistical models to compare players on a like for like basis.
  • Scores: DNA scores are from 0 to 100. A player who earns 100 has achieved the highest possible score on that measure, while an average performer will receive a score of 50.
  • Combined DNA Score: We combine all of a player’s component scores and then get an overall score for their combined performance by benchmarking against other players. Hence a player’s overall score is not simply the average of their component scores.
    • For example, Andy Murray scores well across all four areas of his Technical DNA (Serve 74, Return 89, FH 75 and BH 80) which is uncommon amongst his peers, making him a top player technically (Technical DNA = 91).

Read – GIG Player DNA methodology

TECHNICAL DNA

We look across the following strokes to rate how strong each player is technically:

  • Serve (First and Second)
  • Return
  • Forehand
  • Backhand

Each stroke is broken down into subcomponents:

  • Speed
  • Potency
  • Accuracy, Placement and/or Reliability.

1. Serve

  • First and Second Serve
    • Speed: rates a player’s average serve speed.
    • Placement: rates how close to the lines a player hits their serve.
    • Reliability: rates how often a player gets their serve in-play.
    • Potency: rates how often a player is able to use their serve to win quick points.

2. Return

  • Speed: rates a player’s average return speed.
  • Reliability: rates how often a player gets their return in-play given the quality of the incoming serve.
  • Potency: rates how often a player is able to use their return to win points.

3. Forehand

  • Speed: rates a player’s top forehand speed.
  • Potency: rates how often a player is able to win points with their forehand.
  • Accuracy: rates how often a player uses placement rather than speed to win points with their forehand.

4. Backhand

  • Speed: rates a player’s top backhand speed.
  • Potency: rates how often a player is able to win points with their backhand.
  • Accuracy: rates how often a player uses placement rather than speed to win points with their backhand.

TACTICAL DNA

We look at five components to rate how well each player is tactically: Rallying Craft, Attacking Balance, Spatial ControlTime Control and End Range Defence.

1. Rallying Craft

This measures how successful a player is at rally exchanges of 4 or more shots.

2. Attacking Balance

This measures how well a player balances risk and reward when looking to attack. A good balance would result in more winners than unforced errors.

3. Court Control

This measures how successful a player is when they have the space advantage. A player has the space advantage when they can play their shot from a central location and their opponent is out wide.

4. Time Control

This measures how successful a player is when they have the time advantage. A player has the time advantage when they have more time to play their shot than their opponent just had. This is more time for decision-making, positioning and shot execution.

5. Wide Defence

This measures how good a player is at defending from a wide position (end range’)when their opponent is central. The best players are able to overturn their opponents space advantage and win the point.

PHYSICAL DNA

We look at five stats to rate a players Physical DNA: Foot Speed, Power, Repeat Sprints, Agility and Match Endurance.

1. Foot Speed

This stat looks at players who are able to hit the highest speeds in a point and still have a successful outcome.

2. Acceleration

This stat looks at players explosive acceleration power when in a winning position.

3. Repeat Sprints

The Repeat Sprints stat measures how well a player can perform multiple running actions and still have the advantage in the point.

4. Agility

This measure assesses how well a player is able to quickly change direction during points and still be successful. A quick change’ is a highintensity change of direction.

5. Match Endurance

A player’s Match Endurance is measured by their win rate in Grand Slam matches 3 hours in length or more for men,and 2 hours in length or more for women.

MENTAL DNA

Winning the mental game is all about handling pressure. We break down a players ability to handle pressure into four componentsKiller Instinct, Grit, Clutch and Winning Edge.

1. Killer Instinct

This measure gets at a players ability to be clinical when they are in control of the match. The specific stat looks at how well a player is able to close out matches with minimal pressure faced during Grand Slams.

2. Grit

The Grit measure of mental performance focuses on a players mental doggedness. To evaluate player Grit we look at Grand Slam matches when a players back was to the wall and see how well they were able to raise the pressure of the match, keeping the match close even if it was ultimately a loss.

3. Clutch

A player who can raise their level in key moments is considered ‘Clutch’: they bring their best game when it matters most. To evaluate clutch we look at player’s pressure win rate (PWR) on serve and return and compare these rates to their overall win rate on serve and return. The higher the differential on serve and return, the more ‘Clutch’ a player is.

4. Winning Edge

Most matches are won by the player who wins more of the key points than their opponent. Being able to maintain a high edge in big moments over opponents takes more than talent, it takes mental strength. The Winning Edge gets at this ability by looking at a players PWR on serve relative to the opponents they have faced at Grand Slams.

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