Heatmap Analysis to Differentiate Diverse Player Types in Table Tennis: A Training and Tactical Strategy Development Potential

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(1) Background: Computer-based analyses have been widely used to study aspects of various team and racket sports. However, such analyses have so far eluded table tennis, except in special competition forms, under fixed laboratory conditions or have only tracked the ball. The aim was to detect a basic, global, positional behavior, independent of the score. (2) Methods: We investigated the player position of professional male table tennis players with respect to handedness (right/left), playing system (offensive/defensive) and racket holding (shakehand/penholder) to determine the applicability of automated analysis systems. We used existing video data of competitive matches (N = 198 sets; 2006–2020) and transliterated them into an x–y coordinate system. From this, we were able to conduct a heatmap analysis for different types of players. (3) Results: The comparison between right- and left-handed players resulted in a significant difference in the positioning of the x coordinate (D = 0.5663; p = 0.001). Both groups positioned themselves on average in their own backhanded half of the table (Re: x = −0.22 m, Li: x = 0.39 m). (4) Conclusions: Our results have yielded valuable insights into the importance of analyzing positional behavior in a differentiated manner depending on handedness, playing strategy and racket holding posture.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1139
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 14.01.2023