To become a better tennis player requires an ongoing dedication to fitness, practice, and strategy for players of any skill level to really excel. While group and private lessons are a boon for amateurs and professionals alike, it takes a pretty penny to stay enrolled over a long period of time. But in the age of smart sports, there are plenty of sensors designed specifically to help tennis players improve, both on and off the court.
From sensors embedded directly into the racquet to lightweight and easy-to-use wearables, the world of tennis sensors offers a wide range of digital coaches. Whether you’re looking to improve your backhand or just picked up a pack of neon yellow tennis balls and a racquet for the first time, this batch of smart tennis gear will have you getting your Rafael Nadal on in no time.
You’ll never have to argue over line calls again with this amazing smart tool that tracks the ball via tiny high-definition cameras, making every call for you. To operate the device, simply set it on top of one of the net posts and it delivers your choice of a light or sound cue to alert you if the ball was in or out. For example, a green flash indicates in while red tells you it was out.
Compared to professional ball-tracking systems — which can cost up to $60,00 — the In/Out gadget is a serious bargain at just $200. Plus, as a bonus, the device links to a companion app which shows you additional stats such as ball spin, speed, and movement.
Babolat Pop ($70)
Babolat has been around for over a century. In 1875, Pierre Babolat stretched a few natural guts to make the first tennis strings and a legend was born. By 1950, any player who was anyone wanted Babolat strings. Today, Babolat offers a line of innovative smart racquets but its latest release, Babolat Pop, takes its tennis sensor game up a notch.
Instead of the sensor integrating into the racquet, Babolat Pop comes in the form of a wristband players situate on their dominant arm. Everything from swing speed to spin and style is tracked via the wearable, giving users the ability to easily track habits and adapt their play style. Piq, no stranger to sport sensor industry itself, partnered with Babolat on the Pop and the finished product is an easy-to-use, lightweight sensor any tennis player — amateur, professional, or otherwise — will want to use day in and day out.
Sony Play Sensor ($200)
If you already have a racquet you love, adding Sony’s Smart Tennis sensor to its grip is like putting the racquet through its own set of private lessons. The sensors fit four major brands: Wilson, Yonex, Prince, and Head. To help even further, Sony lists each compatible racquet on its website.
Sony’s Smart Tennis Sensor records and reports the number of shots and their hit location, nine different swing types, swing speed, initial ball speed, and ball spin. The sensor itself is waterproof and dustproof and once fully charged, lasts roughly an hour and a half — battery life doubles when you don’t have Bluetooth activated. It stores up to 12,000 shots so you can use it without being connected to your phone and upload the data later. Or, if you have a smartwatch, you can see your stats immediately on your wrist.
You can view and share your skills, photos, and video via the iOS or Android app. The app also records video via the Live Mode function which syncs shot data with video so you can check your form and swing records. The sensor also works together with Sony’s Motion Shot app so you can take a photo sequence of your swing.
Zepp Tennis Sensor ($80)
Zepp also offers a racquet attachment that connects to an app via Bluetooth. The difference here is that it focuses on your form, allowing you to more easily see where you’d like to adjust your serve — assuming it needs adjustment. The sensor translates your motion into a 3D model of your swing which is viewable right on your smartphone, allowing you to easily review the data right away.
Zepp also tracks standard tennis stats like hit power, spin, acceleration and swing time, ball and racquet speed, and also analyzes the location of your hits to show strike consistency — i.e. How often you hit the ball with a given point on the racquet per type of swing. The sensor itself comes with a mount that attaches to any racquet, negating compatibility issues.
Qlipp Sensor ($99)
If you’re someone who loves to geek out on tennis stats, this racquet attachment tracks every aspect of your game, giving you ample data to comb through. You’ll have access to the type of shots you took and where on the racquet you made contact, along with statistics like speed, ball spin, and ball contact accuracy.
The device weighs a feather-light eight grams and fits on any racquet. Simply twist it on below the first string, directly above the bridge, and lock it into place. If you keep your phone on during the match, the companion app tracks data in real time via Bluetooth so you can keep up with your stats as you play. Best of all, on top of stroke analysis, it’s also a shot dampener that minimizes strain.
Pulse Play ($75-$125)
Pulse Play is a smartwatch — for once, nothing to do with racquets — that keeps score and acts as a digital announcer. With a click, you send your score to the cloud where it syncs with your opponent’s watch. It works for singles and doubles matches, as well as with badminton and ping-pong.
When paired with the Pulse Play app, it’s essentially like having an international online racquet sports tournament service right at your fingertips. The app helps you find matches, logs match history, and ranks you globally against other players. You will, however, need an internet connection with your watch to be able to ping the cloud. The Pulse Play even functions as an actual watch, giving it a useful feature outside of the tennis court.