Bringing tennis to the information age through recordable stats and identifiable metrics seems to be the next frontier in recreational tennis. We have published now a number of reviews of individual products.
Essential reading: The battle of the tennis sensors – who is winning
In this article, we provide you with a short round-up of the full range of tennis gadgets and trackers on the market today.
Sony’s Smart Tennis Sensor is a small Bluetooth tracking device that is fixed to the bottom of your tennis racket. It tracks your performance, dishing it up on your mobile device via the related app.
Through highly sensitive wave and motion detection, the sensor can pick up multiple swing types such as topspin forehand, slice forehand, volley forehand, topspin backhand, slice backhand, volley backhand, smash and even attack-style serves.
Sony partnered with several big names in the tennis industry, including Wilson and Yonex, to ensure that the sensor fits securely onto their rackets. A comprehensive list of compatable rackets is available on Sony’s website.
Users are able to see detailed data of their swings, which are accompanied by both statistics and heat mapping. Shot metrics, swing types, serve styles, and more are all identified. The information can also be shared on social networks through the app’s social features.
The Live Mode video function records each shot data together with actual video footage! This is perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Sony technology – and distinquishes it from the other connected racket technologies.
Babolat connected tennis rackets come with a sensor embedded in the handle plus a matching app that syncs via Bluetooth, recording details of your playing performance. You are also able to chart your progress toward various skill levels and, if you are brave or just a very good tennis player, you can compare your performance in the community section.
Inside the grip, the Babolat Play Pure Drive has an accelerometer, gyroscope and piezoelectric sensor. The accelerometer determines the direction of the racket while the gyroscope tracks its rotation. Through the ball impact locator feature, the piezoelectric sensor analyzes the vibration of the racket to inform you of the racket’s “sweet spot”. And from there, other components such as the microprocessor translate and record the data and send it to the app. The racket connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, and to your computer via a USB charging cable.
The detail, if we are happy to accept it is largely correct, is fascinating. There are numerous broad categories to digest, including time the ball is in play, longest rally, shots per minute, and even an estimation of energy spent. Then you can delve into individual strokes—forehands, backhands, serves, and smashes—to see how many you hit, and then go even deeper to see your power, spin, and proficiency. It’s a lot of fun to take apart.
Using the included racket mount (which can be used with more than one racket) or pro mount (which is taped to a single racket of your choice)— Zepp captures over 1,000 data points per second, and wirelessly sends the information to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.
The device tracks forehands, backhands, serves and smashes, including the power generated with each stroke or over the course of a whole game. Zepp also measures top-spins, slices and flat shots and records the amount of time you spent actively on the court. The statistics show you how often you are hitting the ball in and around the sweet spot.
The 3D serving feature is basically a top-down, side-to-side rendering of a player’s serve. It is probably the sensor’s coolest feature and one that sets it apart from the Babolat and Sony tennis sensors.
Adidas miCoach is a bit different. It doesn’t monitor your swings, instead it helps you track your movement on the tennis court. Simply attach the lightweight Speed Cell to your shoe and hit the courts.
The miCoach turns your mobile devices into a data-crunching performance analyzer. Either using the miCoach training plan or simply tracking your matches or workouts, you will get detailed feedback after every session.
The Speed cell measures, speed, distance, stride rate, and max speed. It stores up to 7-8 hours of workout data and clips on to any pair of shoes. The app allows you to select a training program and get coached every step of the way.
You can share and compare your tennis stats with your friends or the entire world via Facebook, Twitter or email, and get in-game rewards for your real-life workouts. Send them to miCoach.com where they will be compared with stats from tennis players from all over the world. Its compatible with all shoe makes and models.
The Babolat Pop is the world first connected tennis wristband. The device was created in collaboration with French tech outfit PIQ in late 2015.
BPOP collects data about players’ performance, including forehands, backhands, smashes, volleys, serves, spin, racquet speed, shots, playtime, activity score, PIQ score, best rally and rate (shots/minute). The unique PIQ scoring system combines your swing speed, spin and style (the “fluidity” of your stroke) into one number that you can use to track your own game.
Once you have paired your POP with a smartphone, you can play connected with any tennis racquet. Simply put the wristband on your dominant wrist, slide in the sensor and start tracking your game.
The device includes a 9 axis sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer. It comes with a built-in Lithium battery which can be recharged with a Micro USB charger. The wristband is made of breathable neoprene, and it is a one size fits all affair.
Qlipp is one of the lightest sensors on the market. It attaches to any racket to track your game while at the same time acting as a dampener. A team called 9 Degrees Freedom raised nearly $100,000 on Indiegogo in 2015 to develop the device.
To use it, simply turn on the sensor, the bluetooth on your device, and launch the app. Your session is now being recorded in real time. It is worth noting that you do need to bring both your Qlipp sensor and your smartphone into the court in order for your measurements to be recorded and saved. However, your smartphone does not have to be near as the sensor has a detection range of 40m- 50m (whole court).
The device measures every part of your stroke (forehand, backhand, and serve), including ball speed (it uses the rackethead speed to derive the estimated ball speed), spin (top spin, slice, flat), and sweet spot accuracy of each shot.
After the session, you can play back and review every stroke in slow motion (if you have switched on the video function), allowing you to gain more insight into your technique. You can even set the device up to call out stats during the game. And, for added convenience, the company has recently launched an Apple Watch app.
Pivot, a Silicon Valley sports company has entered the race with its own tennis tracker. The company’s successfully raised funds on Indiegogo.
The Pivot tennis tracker promises to improve a player’s game by recording 360 degree motion, preventing injuries and collecting statistics on a wide range of performance metrics including footwork, body position, elbow bend, knee bend, and more. While current products attach one sensor to a tennis racquet, Pivot uses multiple sensors to recreate joint and body movements. The sensors attached to different areas of the body or clothing.
The device records full body movements by leveraging multiple 9-axis sensors and proprietary data capture software. Each sensor has an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer to process up to 1000 data samples per second. You can watch back the action and see the analysis on the companion app. The technology alerts players of improper technique to prevent patterns that cause chronic injuries.
How many times have you forgotten the score of a tennis match? Has this ever caused an argument with the opponent? Thankfully, there is a wearable now that remembers the score so that you don’t have to.
The watch like device keeps score when playing golf and tennis and also has a generic scoring mode that can be used for other sports such as soccer, running, biking, volleyball, and many more. The tennis mode provides point-by-point scorekeeping with set view, match summary, serve indicator and tie-break scoring option.
The Pro can also be used as a standard watch. The time mode shows time, date, seconds with 12/24 hour mode option. The watch features a backlight and is water resistant up to 3ATM. The Pro has got a replaceable 3 Volt Lithium battery and contains a “hibernate” mode to conserve battery life as well as a low battery indicator. It comes comes in three different sizes; small, medium and large.
Pulse Play is a smartwatch for tennis, table tennis, badminton, and squash. Similar to the Score Band Pro, this is a device that keeps track of the score on both yours and your opponent’s bands. You just need to remember to tap the wearable every time you score a point. This is another Indiegogo funded device.
Scorekeeping starts with a click of the button on the band, which sends the point to the app and the Pulse Play cloud. After recording the point, the score is relayed to your opponent’s app and wearable, so that everything is in sync. At the end of the match, the app records the final score, which is aggregated into the players match history and calculated into each player’s ranking.
In order to expand their user-base, Pulse Play have created smartwatch apps for both the Apple Watch and Android wear. If you are a lucky owner of one of these devices, you can simply download the app and use it on your existing smartwatch.
The band comes in a number of different colours. It charges via micro USB in about three hours and has a very long battery life.
Babolat and the French tech outfit PIQ have recently launched another tennis sensor. This $179 neoprene wristband comes on the heels of the $90 Babolat Pop wristband, its less sophisticated cousin.
Similar to the POP, the ‘Babolat and PIQ’ comes in the form of a lightweight wristband-mounted sensor that records your stats. PIQ says its device tracks data using 13 different axes and includes NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy. Despite the differences in price and features, PIQ says both models share the same user community.
To use the device, place the tracker inside the wristband, turn it on, and play. ‘Babolat and PIQ’ will then track many metrics of your shots including velocity, height, air time, G force, amplitude and trajectory. Best of all, the information can be seen on the wristband display in realtime. With a press of a button, you will find details on your serve speed and shot analysis. The display gives you instant feedback, giving your playing experience a new dimension. For more detailed stats, head over the the smartphone app.
PIQ’s sensor is actually a multi-purpose unit that’s adaptable to other sports. In fact, the company recently launched golf, kite board and ski applications. They all use the same core unit, but sell with separate accessories.
There are a number of other less known devices which attach to the butt of the racket to track your game. This includes the Boblov Usense Intelligent Tennis Sensor (view on Amazon), Coollange Tennis Training Aid (view on Amazon).They are typically more limited in features but come in at a lower price point. It is fair to say that you can expect a less rich app experience and the precision of these sensors will compare less favorably to mainstream products.