Tried: Tennis training with Apple Watch and iPad

Before Angelique Kerber was allowed to swing the racket in Paris or Melbourne, she spent years analyzing and improving her game in every detail. The SwingVision app wants to make it easier – for amateur players, professionals and also coaches. In the run-up to the French Open, COMPUTER BILD tried the tennis app SwingVision during a test training session in the legendary tennis hall “Tennis de la Cavalerie” near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Christian Just and SwingVision co-founded Swupnil Sahai in the tennis hall “Tennis de la Cavalerie”.

Christian Just during tennis training in Paris

Christian Just during tennis training in Paris.

Tennis de la Cavalerie: changing rooms

Historic tennis locker room in the “Tennis de la Cavalerie”.

From Tesla to the tennis app

The story of the app begins in 2014: Swupnil Sahai was working on his doctoral dissertation in New York when the Apple Watch was unveiled. As a passionate tennis player, he had the idea of ​​having his shots automatically recorded by an Apple Watch. That same year, the first version of the swing tennis app pops up. But the most important innovation step will not follow until 2019: Sahai had worked for Tesla as part of the development of autonomous driving with the detection of pedestrians and vehicles using artificial intelligence (AI), when it occurred to him: something similar would not work work for tennis? Not before said than done: Today’s SwingVision app for iPhone and iPad was created. It works with the app on the Apple Watch and uses a camera to record all shots and balls on the court. Apple’s fast “Bionic” processors (from A13 / iPhone 11) offer enough power for the evaluation. In the test, the SwingVision app was used on an Apple Watch Series 7 and an iPad Pro.
SwingVision on Apple Watch

Apple Watch displays some statistics directly after the game.

Tennis tracking for everyone

Even before SwingVision, there were systems for recording and evaluating the players’ performance and the tennis ball court on the court. Hawk-Eye, also known from football, has been used in many tennis tournaments for controversial line decisions for a very long time. But this is a hugely complex system from an arsenal of multiple cameras to tens of thousands of euros. With SwingVision, on the other hand, an Apple Watch and a current iPhone or iPad as well as a stand in addition to the app are sufficient. iPhone or iPad is behind the player, from where it catches the balls on the entire court with a single camera. The Apple Watch on the wrist records the direction and speed of the stroke as well as the heart rate with its position sensors.

SwingVision app: iPad adjustment on the stand

The SwingVision app helps with the adjustment so that the iPad camera also captures the entire square correctly. Alternatively, an iPhone fits on the stand.

Get on the field

Before it can start, the player who is willing to learn first straps the Apple Watch around the wrist of the striking hand, i.e. usually changes from left to right. Changing the wear side in the general clock settings is not necessary for the tennis app. And once installed on the iPhone, the app automatically ends up on the Apple Watch. On the watch, the special “Meridian” dial is selected first.

Tamir Dossiea aka Coach T.

Despite the app, a real coach is helpful. The test training was led by Tamir Dossiea aka “Coach T.”, otherwise community manager at SwingVision.

Coach T with Apple Watch and Swing Vision on the dial

“Coach T.” with Apple Watch and Swing Vision on the dial.

COMPUTER PICTURE department head Christian Just stood the test Tamir Dossiea alias “Coach T.” to the side, otherwise community manager at SwingVision. His recommendation: Relaxed breathing is important for good performance. The Apple Watch therefore encourages pre-match breathing exercises. To start the game of tennis itself, there are two modes to choose from: training and match. Video recording starts on iPhone or iPad before the game starts. In the training game, the Apple Watch then recorded speed, ball rotation (spin) and type of shot, such as backhand slice. After training, the videos can be called up in the SwingVision app on the iPad, where there are further detailed evaluations (see photos). Videos and all analytics are automatically sent to the cloud and can also be accessed from there using the Mac app. However, no internet is required for the evaluation on iPad and iPhone.

SwingVision app: game analysis on iPad

Video and game analysis can be called up on the iPad after training – the analysis takes place on the iPad, which requires at least an A13 Bionic CPU.

CEO Swupnil Sahai analyzes game data

CEO Swupnil Sahai analyzes game data. He sees it as SwingVision’s mission to make knowledge and experience from professional sports accessible to all.

Evaluation in the SwingVision app

Evaluation in the SwingVision app: data such as stroke type and speed are displayed.

Who helps SwingVision?

And what to do with the evaluations? Experienced players recognize weaknesses in the game here and use the data to measure progress. This can be difficult for beginners, especially since they must first learn the basics before they can correct mistakes themselves.

How much does it cost?

The necessary hardware (Apple Watch, iPhone, stand) is often already available. The app itself can be downloaded for free to an iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad – there is also an app for Mac for later evaluation. Two hours of game tracking a month is free. If you want more, you need a Pro subscription (from May 2022 for 154.99 euros per year or 26.49 euros per month).

  • Very high work pace
  • Long battery life
  • Memory cannot be expanded
  • Very expensive

  • Convenient operation
  • Regular updates
  • Short battery life
  • Only compatible with iPhones

Conclusion: How well does tennis training via app work?

SwingVision’s technology works extremely well and can help ambitious players perfect their games. Beginners, on the other hand, should invest their money in tennis lessons first – because even in the test, before looking at the app, there were the first important tips straight from “Coach T.” personally.

SwingVision for iPhone / iPad

Participation in the trip was supported by Apple. You can find our standards for transparency and journalistic independence at www.axelspringer.de/independence

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