How Important is getting the first point in Kabaddi?

In tennis winning first point means you are more likely to win that game [obviously, this statistic doesn’t hold true for Djokovic]. In football also the team which gets the first goal wins more often than not.

There is a general belief that a lead gives a player/team added confidence that can help to raise their game – a momentum effect. So, in the mind of many commentators, the sooner a player can get ahead in the game, the better. Especially in a game like Kabaddi where getting a point not only gets you ahead but the other team size decreases by one as one player goes out.

There is a general belief that a lead gives a player/team added confidence that can help to raise their game – a momentum effect.

But how much of an advantage is there to winning the first point in a Kabaddi game? And how much of this advantage can be attributed to momentum, where player/team raise their game when they are in a winning position? How much does this momentum effect help in a team game?

Here we address 2 questions,

  1. What advantage does winning the 1st point of the match have on winning the match?
  2. What advantage does inflicting the 1st ALL OUT have on winning the match?

To gain some insight into this, the analytics team at Messy Fractals looked at the importance of the first point in Season 2, 3 and ongoing Season 4 of Pro Kabaddi.

Especially in a game like Kabaddi where getting a point not only gets you ahead but the other team size decreases by one as one player goes out.

Is it jinxed? Or just a coincidence! Neither.

What about momentum?

Momentum is in fact a very important topic discussed in all of sports. Within games, people tend to say momentum can really change the outcome of the game.

The advantage of the first point is a combination of the strategic advantage of having a lead in the game and the possible added boost in performance that comes with the momentum of being ahead in the game. To determine what amount of a player’s first-point advantage is owed to momentum, the data analytics team estimated the advantage that the team scoring the first point and secures the first all out of the opposition team more or less wins the match in most of the cases.

Some cases the momentum effect worked in such a way that the team got a hefty lead before the other team could even score, running away with the match in the first 10 minutes. For instance when underdogs Bengaluru Bulls faced Dabang Delhi for the first time this season.

If we see the situation of the first point, either by the raiding team or the defending team, what it does to the seven man team setup is that it skews it in such a way that one team has 7 players and the other with 6 or lesser which not only raises the confidence of the team getting the first point, but also demoralizes the other.

This results in the favors tilting slightly in the favor of the team getting the first point. But we should also take into account the fact that for a better team, the probability of scoring the first point is higher as their chances of winning any point will be higher than that of the weaker team under most of the circumstances in Kabaddi.

Winning 1st point increases win probability

Inflicting 1st all out almost certainly means team will win the match

From the graph it is clear  that the team inflicting the first all out in a match definitely have an upper hand over the other team. The top teams of Season 2 like U Mumba and  Telugu Titans have 100% conversion rate after they inflict their first all out as they dominate the match from thereon

READ MORE : Kabaddi Strategy | The Narwals

The Psychological Edge

There are two scenarios in which a team can get a point; through raiding and by defending.

Let us take the raiding point of view, the raider goes in, mind you teams usually send in their best raider for the first raid,he feels not only responsible to bring back a point but also has the huge pressure of expectation o his shoulders from the coach and his team mates. So he is under immense pressure! He goes in! Gets the point!

Again there is a diversity of scenarios we can go through like how he got the point (touch point, bonus point or fault from the opposition team). Let us assume that he got a touch point. Mentally he is pleased with himself for completing the task; the responsibility given to him by his team. He will also gain that confidence which scientifically is just a rush of dopamine and adrenaline in some cases . This gives him the confidence to go for more raids, score more points for the team and adds to the team morale.

A continuous positive feedback loop favourable for the team winning the first point. Even more so in the case of an all out

Now let us take the scenario where the defense gets the point. Here the point is scored through a team effort, even though one person initiates the move, without the support most of the tackles would not be successful. On a team perspective the effect psychologically is much higher as more players feel that proper momentum effect.

Let us consider a match in season 3 where a relatively weaker and young Bengaluru Bulls where they got a psych advantage by getting Kashiling Adake out in the first raid done by Surjeet Narwal. This gave the Bengaluru Bulls such a huge morale boost that they went on to win 9 points on the trot and secured the first all out as well and first win as well.

Team wise Analysis

For each team, what is the  probability of win after they win the first point in Season 2 & Season 3

First Point
Team Season 2 Season 3
DD 50% 33%
BB 33% 50%
JP 50% 60%
TT 45% 63%
PP 60% 67%
PU 25% 75%
BW 20% 80%
UM 89% 100%
Overall 50% 68%


For each team, what is the  probability of win after they inflict the first ALL OUT in Season 2 & Season 3

Team Season 2 Season 3
BB 80% 40%
DD 57% 50%
PU 33% 57%
JP 71% 75%
PP 78% 78%
BW 75% 100%
UM 100% 100%
TT 100% 100%
Overall 79% 75%

Season 3

It was surprising to see that the first point analysis came through exceptionally well for season 3. The match might be tight or dominated by one team, either way the team getting the first point won more than 67% of the time. 8 out of nine times in the first few days of Pro Kabaddi Season 3, the results have favored the team getting the first point.

In the first minute of the game, we can tell with 68% confidence which team is going to win!!

For further analysis, we could look at the effect the second and third point has on the result as well as whether the first point also has a causation effect.But for now, we could easily say that the first point definitely has a correlation with the winning or losing.
All of this could be summed up in five words!

Well begun is half done!

One thought on “How Important is getting the first point in Kabaddi?”

  1. Lucky says:

    A pretty good analysis on the Pro Kabaddi!!
    I would love to try it out!! Kudos

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