No Longer Your Father’s Tennis Racquet
Over the years, tennis racquets have evolved tremendously. The material used for the racquet has been the most visible change. Gone are the days of the wooden racquets used by Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe. Today’s racquets mainly use graphites and carbons. However, not only has a racquet’s frame changed, but also what the racquet can do has changed thanks to technology.
Finding the Right Racquet
There are many tennis racquet options on the market today. It can almost be overwhelming, but now technology can even help you find the racquet that is just right for you. HEAD recently introduced the HEAD Tennis Racquet Finder, which is an IBM Watson-enabled tool that uses artificial intelligence to select the optimum racquet for you. You simply answer multiple choice questions about gender, age, experience level, etc., and using an algorithm a match percentage is calculated after each question. Then the tool selects the top three recommended racquets for you.
The racquet selection process is just the first phase where you may encounter technology in tennis. Your racquet itself can be a high-tech instrument. With sensors, tennis racquets now can provide much valuable data that can help you to improve your game. Currently, most of these sensors are not integrated. Below are a few of the offerings in the market today:
Integrated Sensor Offering Babolot Play is the first tennis racquet that offers a sensor integrated into the handle. This sensor analyzes data based on three dimensions: power, technique and endurance (i.e. a player’s pulse). You can review this data as well as share it with other players on social media via the Babolat Play community. Its newest feature even enables reactions from pro players, which you then can share on Facebook. The sensor also provides statistics on where you are hitting the ball on the face of the racquet, along with RPMs and energy.
Removable Sensor Offerings Sony offers a removable option called the Smart Tennis Sensor, which is compatible with Wilson, Head, Prince and Yonex racquets. You simply attach this sensor to the end of your racquet handle, inside a small trapdoor. The built-in motion and vibration sensor analyzes your every stroke. With Bluetooth® technology, the results are beamed to your smartphone so you can view them instantly. This data can be compared with other Smart Tennis Sensor data that is gathered from other players all over the world. In addition, it offers a unique feature that allows you to synch your performance statistics with video taken on an Apple or Android smart phone.QLIPP is a newcomer to the world of tennis, being founded in 2014. It offers the lightest removable sensor that is compatible with any racquet, and also doubles as a vibration dampener. This sensor reads shot type, speed, spin, and ball contact accuracy. It even measures where you hit the ball on your racquet and how often the “sweet spot” is hit. If you have your smart phone within 50 meters of the sensor, it will enable the mobile device to “shout out” key shot data.Zepp Labs offers a sensor that measures 1,000 data points per second and provides stats on the total number of shots and time spent on the court. It also tracks the speed, spin and a player’s type of shot. This sensor is compatible with any type of tennis racquet.
Today’s technology not only ensures you select the optimal racquet, but also helps you improve your game. Turn your next game of tennis into a more informative session with one of these technology options. You may find it fun to compare your tennis playing performance against others around the globe, and share your findings on social media.
Source: "Tennis Pushes the Technology Limits", Tennis Industry Association website