23 January

The scoreboard in your pocket

Last week we looked at the tennis scoreboards on the market and how you could save money by building your own. Bristol League player, Douglas Brain has gone one better and created his own scoring app. Will you help trial it?

Keeping track of the score in tennis without a chair umpire is no easy thing, so what if you could click a button in your pocket or on your wrist and keep tally on your phone of all the points as a tennis match progressed?

Software developer, Douglas Brain, who plays in the Bristol Tennis League, has created ScorePal to do just that. When Douglas saw our story last week, he got in touch - is this what we are looking for?

ScorePal is available to trial as an Android app in the Google Play store and we would like you to give us your feedback. The app works for a variety of sports, but we are interested in the tennis functionality. The app is designed to record each point of the game for both you and your opponent, to announce the score and to confirm completed games and sets.

Key features include:

• Records points, sets and games
• Announces the score and change of end instructions
• Customisable for different match formats (eg three sets or five)

Douglas, who suffers from ME, took up tennis again as part of his recovery programme, but soon discovered he had the same problem we all have: "I had a fair few conversations with my opponents where we couldn't remember the game score and one time we couldn't even remember who had won the first set!"

If you don't mind carrying your phone on your pocket, or have it strapped to your arm, the phone itself becomes the scoring device. Press the volume button twice on your phone and a point is recorded for you. Press it once and your opponent earns the point. Mistakes can be deleted using a longer hold on the button. Every time a point is recorded the phone announces the score - so it is a little like having an umpire on court. It even reminds you to change ends.

Matches can also be paired across two phones, but perhaps even more pleasing is the idea of the pocket scoring button that allows remote access to your phone and the app. Douglas has set this up to use flic buttons (available for around £20- £30, see right.)

"I've used the flic button when playing my wife - I hand over the flic button at the net after each game at the same time as handing over the balls." Using the flic button opens up the possibility of using the phone as the scoreboard and leaving it on the bench where it is visible to both players. It should also be possible to link ScorePal to an android tablet and eventually an iPad.

Douglas' tennis ambitions probably focus more on getting more points off his wife (Sarah is also a league player) rather than making his fortune from ScorePal, but we are all intrigued as to what the response to ScorePal from you might be. We would love you to test it in its current form and give your feedback. We are not expecting you to invest in a flic button, but you should get a good idea of the functionality simply by using your phone and the volume button to  record the scores. If you don't want to trial it in a match, use it as you watch the Australian Open (you can be Rafa!).

Use the form below to send us your feedback, email or use the contact form.

Scorepal is available from the Google Play store. ScorePal requires no account, no log-in, no payments, no subscription, and contains no advertising. 

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If you have downloaded the app and tried it out, let us know how it worked for you. If you haven't tried it yet, you can give your general feedback about the idea.
We want to know if players would for additional kit to make the ScorePal even more useful!