Tennis

Babolat play and connect – data from your tennis racket

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Babolat announced last week that they are developing a tennis racket, prototype to be shown first at the Roland Garros, that will store data about your swing and “flow”. They released very little else about its capabilities, but Eric Babolat, CEO, commented:

“Innovation is only valuable if it advances the game of tennis to the benefit of the greatest number of people, in 1875, Babolat invented the first strings for tennis racquets. More than 135 years of innovation and progress later, I am proud to present today our vision of the tennis of tomorrow, brought by our Play & Connect racquet.”

Babolat play and connect tennis racket

The planned launch date is 2013, so hopefully we will hear more about it then, but if the sensors integrated are similar to accelerometers then we can expect positional, velocity and acceleration data of the racket during use. It will be interesting to see how they separate a stroke with general play (probably through the accelerations and velocity), how they average the data over a particular stroke (so will it tell us the speed of a forehand smash, baseline shot, dropshot?), how the data will be presented to the public in a meaningful way (is it better to hit it faster? I doubt it because the racket would need to go at a specific speed to hit the baseline, any faster and it would overshoot) and how this will affect performance characteristics such as weight, vibration, sound and so on. Sensors will soon be in every sports product we use, but the hardest part is making sense of the data which is extracted. Sometimes position, power and speed are not necessarily the key parameters to look for. Understanding Babolat’s vision for the “flow of data” is intriguing and I am interested as to the market – competition or training. Would people buy a training racket? I don’t know but looking forward to finding out.

Article by Bryan Roberts

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Adidas tennis training shoe

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

http://www.tennisidentity.com/

Adidas have launched a tennis training shoe called the CYD reflex. Retailing for around $100 in the US, this shoe was specifically designed for training rather than competition. With specifity of sports equipment design developing, it is surprising more tennis shoe companies aren’t developing match- and training-specific shoes.

Accoridng to tennisidentity:

“Normal running and gym shoes are not designed to withstand or support the sudden movements required in tennis training and so the CYD Reflex features Speedcut, an adidas technology designed to reduce the forefoot strain of extreme side-to-side movements so players can maintain speed and performance while reducing the risk of injury. The shoes are built with adiTUFF to withstand abrasion by tough-on-footwear hard courts. The Torsion® System stabilizing technology gives the overarching support of the CYD Reflex, providing the midfoot with enhanced control, support and fit to adapt to whatever surface you are training or hitting on. It’s a little like a seat-belt for your foot.”

For more information please visit their blog.

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HEAD introduces new footwear line

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

head shoes

The new line incorporates the HEAD CXG™ technology which provides comfort, shock absorption, decreased foot fatigue, stability and motion control. A combination of turned polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon and saran fibres are shaped to form an interlocking coil structure within the sole of the shoe. The coil is then encapsulated within a resilient polyurethane form. When the foot makes contact with the ground, the coil fibres compress and absorb shock. As the foot reaches the end of its stride, the coil structure produces an upward force, much like that of a resilient spring.

For more information please click the link. Images and information reprinted from HEAD

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What causes tennis ball wear?

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Very rarely do we ever see a tennis player approach a serve before studying the ball’s appearance and feel intently. Is ball wear part of the game or should manufacturers aim to maintain ball performance throughout match-play, like in so many other sports?

Steele (2006) established a framework for identifying the key areas that contribute to wear. In brief, racket impact conditions, repeated impacts, precipitation, cloth construction and natural pressure loss are some of the major causes. Wear is primarily associated with a reduction in the coefficient of restitution and altered flight aerodynamics. However important differences in appearance, feel, rebound angles, friction-ball-turf interaction, ball mass, centre of mass and carcass stiffness, should also be considered and have yet to be investigated in full. Current optimisation techniques include changes in fibre type, fibre thickness, rubber stiffness, and porosity.

Following extensive interviews with players, a literature review and analysis of ball characteristics in play, Steele (2006) captured the effects of each of the characteristics named above on ball properties, particularly ball mass lost and coefficient of restitution. Improvements in racket technology offer customisation and a tailored product. Elite players often use high stringing tensions to promote increased control over power. Also, better understanding of conditioning programmes have improved fitness and strength increasing impact force and speed from the racket head. However, this is to the determent of ball performance; an increase in ball speed also increases the rate of ball mass lost causing wear.

String type and ball weave are further racket and ball properties that can affect the rate of ball mass lost. Natural gut induces wear significantly quicker than monofilament polyester whilst needle felt weave increases mass lost compared to sateen weave. Water resistant dyes, used to reduce ball water retention, significantly decrease initial mass losses whilst the rate of mass lost is unchanged. Finally a drop in internal pressure was shown to reduce the coefficient of restitution.

Ball wear as an area of research is still in its infancy; however with further understanding players can have the confidence to select any ball to achieve the appropriate response.

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HEAD/Pennto unveil its new line of tennis racquets

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

TAGS: Tennis

HEAD/Penn, a leading manufacturer of superior racquet sports equipment, is set to unveil its new line of tennis racquets – The Star Series on May 3, 2010. The three racquet series features revolutionary new technologies that help provide more power, more control and more comfort. Each racquet features a unique look and appeal which evokes the true spirit of a Champion racquet.

The racquets were developed by legendary tennis players Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf who worked with an elite team to produce racquets that will maximize your performance on the court, no matter what your skill level. Perfect for beginners and advanced players that want to play like the pros, the Star Series racquets range in price from $180 – $250.

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