A new gadget to deliver data
By Ryan Woodring
Product Specialist at Holabird Sports
Over the past decade, people have consistently been getting more connected. From fitness monitors to sleep trackers, people now collect data about every aspect of their lives, including their exercise. In early 2013, tennis got in on the action with the first ever “connected” racquet. Now, Sony has delivered a new gadget that’s poised to take connected tennis to a new level.
Sony has partnered up with Wilson, HEAD, Yonex, and Prince to create a Smart Tennis Sensor and accompanying smartphone/tablet app that tracks and displays an assortment of informative statistics, including number of shots, impact location, swing type (topspin, slice, volley, etc.), swing speed, ball speed, and spin. The sensor connects to the app via Bluetooth and offers a few simple ways to consume your data.
If you have someone willing to give you live feedback based on your stats, the app can be used in Live Mode—or Live Video Mode if you want video, too—to monitor data in real time. If you don’t have a coach present, you can use the sensor in Memory Mode to store up to 12,000 shots and sync to the app later for in-depth review.
The sensor’s core tracking and data features are excellent, but the simplicity of the app set up and sensor installation really enhance the overall experience. And the simple fact that the sensor is easily interchangeable between any of the compatible racquet models means it’s no problem if you break a string mid-session—simply move the sensor over to your spare racquet and you’re back on court within a few minutes.
It is worth noting that since the sensor locks-in at the bottom of the grip, it does technically change the balance of your racquet ever so slightly. Players with a very low grip—especially on serves—may also “notice” the sensor’s presence. I was unaffected, but more astute players may notice the difference.
All told, the Sony Smart Tennis Sensor is a great step forward for connected tennis technology. Not only are the core features superb—perhaps the best I’ve tried—but it’s also versatile and very easy to use. Casual and serious students of the game alike should find plenty to like.