© Ella Ling

EFL_0899

Babolat Play & Connect: Q&A

   
Babolat are renowned for innovation so it was no surprise to see them come up with a new racquet design. However, in Babolat Play & Connect, they have produced something they hope could revolutionise the way players compete and train. We asked them to explain what it is, what it does and how it can help.
How will this technology benefit both professional and amateur players?
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How do players use the information to improve their shots?
Today, there is no such communicating racquet that offers players—no matter their playing level—specific data on their game. It is, however, something all players, whether they are beginners or competition players, really need. Babolat Play & Connect is a concept that opens a wide array of possibilities for all tennis lovers, who will be able to obtain concrete information about their game and share it:
1-       INFORM: “Babolat Play & Connect” permits tennis players to obtain pertinent information for analysing their game. For example, the qualification of strokes (forehand, backhand, serve), ball spin, the position of the ball on the string bed, power during play and service speed are among the types of information that the sensors will relay. Information regarding the duration of the session, the length of play and the intensity of play will also be available. The range of possible data collection is very large.
2-       IMPROVE: Players can set goals, follow and compare data daily, weekly and monthly. The raw data and data points are a new source of information for coaches or instructors and also for players who will be able to analyse their game. Further developments could include: storing the best results and performances (for staying motivated!), receiving tips from a coach or having advice about equipment, etc.*
3-       SHARE: The advantage of having a connected racquet is that players can post data on a dedicated social network, either for challenging their own performance, playing just for fun or for sharing information. There is a whole online community that will be able to show, challenge, advise and even compare themselves to the pro players of Team Babolat.
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Could you explain how the technology works?
Babolat has positioned sensors in the handle of the racquet. There is no difference in weight compared to a standard model. These sensors are able to record a flow of data about the game:
- qualification of strokes (forehand, backhand, number of strokes, time of play, intensity, consistency)
- ball impact
- power
- spin
Once the training session or match is over, players can transfer and read the captured information on a computer or smartphone with a wireless connection or USB.
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How long has it taken to develop this technology?
The idea was born 10 years ago. But the technology was not ready then. We have been waiting for the advancement of electronic technologies, especially regarding thesize of the sensors. We have been heavily focused on this project for five years.
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What input have Rafa Nadal and other professionals had in this process? What did they want from Play & Connect?
Apart the data they get during matches, the pro players lack information about their game. They never had most of the information that Babolat Play & Connect can give them. That’s why they are interested in this innovative racquet. We had some test sessions with Rafa Nadal and Toni Nadal during the development  process to get their feedbacks. We have met them in Manacor last February. During the further steps of the development, we are going to have the racquet tested by other members of the Team.
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Have the professionals been surprised by any of the data from Play & Connect?
More interested than surprised. They have tested it during a short session at Roland-Garros.
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How important is it for Babolat to innovate?
Innovation is part of Babolat DNA!  We are a specialised brand, we live for and from tennis, since the company was started. Our objective is to always provide players with more efficient equipment to make them enjoy more their game or improve their performance. By observing the players and their game, Babolat is able to anticipate their needs, and provide them with innovations that will make the game evolve.
Babolat invented the first tennis strings in 1875, one year after tennis game was invented. Since then, many innovations have been released: from the first electronic stringing machines to the Woofer, the first system that makes the frame and strings interact when hitting the ball, providing more precision and more sensation; to the Babolat tennis shoes whose cutting edge technologies have been developed in partnership with Michelin.
   
  • wes

    when can we preorder it?

    • b

      the release date has been postponed because of stock reasons it probably won’t be available for preorder