March 14th, 2014
USTA Florida Game Changer: Babolat Play Pure Drive
The USTA Florida Game Changer series examines the leading tennis industry products, tips and industry insights. USTA Florida members get first access to the information, and can share using the hashtag #GameChanger. Share your insight in the comment section below.
If you’re in love with a racquet that feels like an extension of your arm, how about a racquet that is an extension of your…computer? Or smartphone?
This month’s Game Changer is the Babolat Play Pure Drive, the first mass market tennis racquet to integrate computer feedback via a sensor in the handle. The “Play” version of the racquet popularized by Andy Roddick will, like a great tennis coach, provide you with feedback to make you a better player and, like playing mixed doubles with your spouse, will give you unending feedback on what you need to improve upon.
Once you download the Babolat Play app for your iPhone, Android, tablet, notebook, or desktop computer, you’re ready to create an account and sync with your phone/computer via bluetooth or USB cable. The set-up process is pretty straight forward, and for visual learners, Babolat supplies online tutorials and walk-throughs.
“Creating a Babolat Play account was very easy and includes the ability to use a Facebook account to easily register and then share your stats out later to your Facebook friends,” said one USTA Florida staffer.
“You can sync with a phone or computer — syncing via a desktop requires the installation of the Babolat Connect desktop app, and I found it much easier to sync the data and save the session through the USB connection along with the Babolat Connect app. Once saved, the session and data were then available on both my account in the browser at www.babloatplay.com and the mobile app.”
You’ll find the Babolat Play app and website both easy to navigate, well organized and easy to use. But what you really going to want is the data.
You can find out how many times you’re hitting the sweet spot with various groundstrokes as opposed to off-center hits. Data is broken down into strokes — forehand, backhand, serves, etc. — with power, accuracy, and more categories broken out for each stroke.
You can analyze full matches, concentrate on refining certain strokes in practice, and compare your results with other Babolat Play users online.
Staff members had some quibbles that will likely be addressed when updates are made on the first-generation device — the size of the buttons on the butt of the racquet handle, some connection options being easier than others — but the end result is most definitely a Game Changer.
If not for the abundance of data that can change a player’s approach to the game, we’ll judge the Babolat Play Pure Drive by the number of staff that jumped like kids on Christmas morning at a chance to wield the racquet with a computer inside.
What is your experience or thoughts on the Babolat Play Pure Drive? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.