High-tech training at Bogota Racquet Club
For a student of tennis, reviewing form and technique, what went wrong and what went right on the court during a practice session or match, is smart. But when it’s the court keeping track (without human intervention) courtesy of a mind-boggling high-tech kiosk courtside, then you know it’s a SmartCourt.
The Bogota Racquet Club is the first club in the world to debut the SmartCourt technology on each and every court. (Its sister club, Tenafly Racquet Club, has the kiosks on two courts.)
While the technology is cutting edge, the execution is as simple as clicking a screen and swinging a racquet. There are no sensors on the player. The five cameras per court record every move, while the computer differentiates and auto tags each one and keeps track of the ball’s trajectory.
“It shows video at three different angles on the court, auto tags it, so if I want to see all the unforced errors in a match, it not only tells me, it shows me video,” says Gordon Uehling, owner of both racquet clubs and CourtSense, a high-performance tennis instruction academy at the clubs. “It also gives a three-dimensional view of where the ball landed, where you were in relation, how much distance you ran on the court.”
Any statistic a player (or coach) would be interested in is categorized: serve speed, ball direction, shot distance, point patterns, game statistics, even calories burned. There is no need for video editing or special knowledge of software. The machine does it all. Information can be checked immediately at the court, or later via any computer.
“You can watch the video and get all the statistics and keep the data over time, so you can compare yourself to yourself,” Uehling says. “All these insights give the player a lot of information, and more important, the coach, to help the player improve. It’s a new way of learning how to teach.”
Being able to watch on their own computers is also an incentive to the young players.
“I can see it at home and then work on things,” says 12-year-old Matthew Che of Tenafly.
“For me it’s the visuals,” says 17year-old player Brendan Butler of Chestnut Ridge, N.Y. “It helps me a lot, seeing myself stopping in certain positions, clocking my serve.”
Since the Bogota facility is now a Smart club, that changes the face of the 60 or so competitions held there each year. There will be instant statistics for all matches.
“Competitions within competitions,” Uehling says. “Things like the biggest serve, biggest forehand, biggest rally in the club.”
But you don’t have to be an elite player to benefit from SmartCourt; it’s just as helpful to recreational players. Uehling says he has students as young as 5 using it, and it benefits older players as well.
“A man in his 80s is tracking how many yards he is running,” he says. “That’s all he cares about.”
WORLD’S FIRST Owner Gordon Uehling with a SmartCourt kiosk. The Bogota Racquet Club is the first to have kiosks on every court.