At one point, Tennis was easily one of the most popular sports in the world.  The famous expression, "Tennis, anyone?" was a common statement as pretty much all tennis courts were filled all the time.  While it still has a very loyal following, it has since been surpassed by Golf and other sports.

 I was reading about how some sports (like Golf) are looking for ways to attract younger audiences (Check out this story about how golf holes may become the size of a pizza).  Their theory is that people get too frustrated with the current game and they are looking for ways to make it appeal more to the masses....

One of the ways that people in the sports industry is trying to increase its appeal is to make it easier through the use of improved technology.  Going back to Tennis for a minute, the game has become much easier for many through the use of bigger racquets and improved materials used (try hitting a ball with one of the racquets on the left that John McEnroe is using vs. one of the newer ones on the right).

Now, the game is about to change as it starts to incorporate some M2M solutions to allow people of all levels to improve their game. 

Here's two examples of how M2M-based solutions are changing the game:

1. Tennis courts that are smarter than you

Using a new system (called PlaySight Smart Court), “smart courts” are able to deliver an incredible amount of information that can help your game.  One example is how it can track the movement of all of your shots, broken down by the type of shot (such as the slice that I have on my backhand).  It will tell you where you were on the court, where the ball landed (to let you know where your aim is off), the speed of the shot and how deep in the court you are hitting it.

By learning more about how your shots are moving in a game environment, coaches are better able to focus their drills on where the weaknesses are.  As an example, you may have great accuracy on your forehand, but if the shots are too shallow, it may allow your opponent to attack with more efficiency.

Plus, it will stop the arguments of whether a ball was in or out!

2. The racquets are getting smart as well

Wow, racquets have come a long way.  They have evolved in many ways (from becoming larger/lighter/stiffer to now becoming much smarter).  A change to the rule books this year has permitted players to record information during a match and what better way to do it than with the tool that actually hits the ball.

Companies like Babolat have incorporated accelerometers and gyroscopes that one day will provide valuable information about things such as the speed of the racquet (at ball impact), the position of the racquet and what kind of stroke was hit. 

So, to link back the smart court analogy, your coach can determine that you are consistently hitting your backhand out of the court (both too deep and to the right).  Once they make this determination, they can zero in on feedback specifically on shots that you hit on the backhand.   He can see that you are consistently hitting the backhand with too much racquet speed (as an example).  If you are a right handed hitter, too much racquet speed would result in balls being hit too far and likely too far to the right (as you are making contact with the ball too far into your swing, causing you to pull the shot).

This would allow the coach to make the change to tell you to sit back in your swing a bit.  Now, could a well experienced coach notice this in your swing without this equipment?  I would think so, but like anything else, it gives better, more reliable information which tends to lead to better decisions.

Bottom Line

Sports like Tennis and Golf tend to always be at the forefront of sports technology, so it is not surprising that top professionals are incorporating M2M solutions into their training.  It doesn’t compensate for many other things, such as conditioning, mental focus and knowing the fundamentals of the game, but it does provide information that can allow someone to get just a slight edge….and that is often the difference between winning and losing!

As always, Novotech is ready to assist with your M2M needs. Whether you’re looking to control, track, monitor or back-up, Novotech has the solutions and products you need. View our Line Cards and let us know how we can be of assistance.

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