| By Steven Kaplan

The $399 Babolat Play Pure Drive was showcased at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. This racket features tiny sensors embedded in the handle to measure swing consistency, power, spin and just about everything else that happens between the racket and ball. This information is instantly sent over a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone App. 

I love it because quantifiable tennis information has the potential to be useful. I wrote a blog last year about John McEnroe's commentary that Rafa's heavy spin was a "feeling" that players had when returning his groundstrokes.

High-speed photographic studies reveled that it was more than a feeling, it was measurable and now information such as this is accessible to anyone (well at least anyone willing to spend $399 for a racket).

I'm not sure that every player will take the information revealed by this technology and use it to improve. It's going to take some astute analysis to make this racket more than just a fun toy.

Still, this innovation can be a powerful learning tool if used appropriately, and is an exciting progression in tennis science.
 

Steven Kaplan

Steve Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation, and executive director and founder of Serve &Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally- ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.