Imagine if you could see a recording of every match you played, watch it from various angles and share a video with your coach and fellow players. This is the future of everyday tennis and it has already arrived at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar and, quite possibly, a court near you!
For us it's early days - we have set up an account and played our first mini-match on a Playsight enabled-court, but this ground-breaking technology has actually been around a few years now and is beginning to find its way on to more and more courts in the UK.
We tried Playsight at the Rafa Nadal Acasemy by Movistar in Mallorca where most of the hard courts have the system installed. In this instance, the court was covered by three cameras, one from the back of the court and the others providing baseline coverage (some courts will have many more cameras adding to the amount of data collected). To use the system, you need a Playsight account and to download the app to your smartphone. To begin the session, you scan the QR code from the sign on the court. Choose the type of session: warmup, practice or match, hit start and start hitting.
We successfully recorded our match which allowed us to review it later in full. Watching yourself is a fascinating way to compare reality with what you think you are doing and you can soon see why Playsight has been lauded as a coaching aid.
But in theory at least, Playsight can do much more. Although we haven't mastered all the set up yet, the AI that underlies the technology should be able to identify and track stroke types - backhands, forehands, etc - and collate data for statistical analysis. It also allows you to share video clips and even add your own match video.
For the player, the service is free, but setting up the system is a major investment for court owners and so far in the UK it is the larger clubs and corporates, such as David Lloyd Leisure that have made the leap.
We are going to stick with Playsight and will report back later on how we are getting along with it. Meanwhile, we would like to hear from you. Have you used Playsight or are their other pieces of play-orientated technology that are helping your game? Contact us by email or use the contact form to share your experiences.