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TECHNOLOGY

Rapid technological advancements have been given birth to during the past decade. Such technological developments cover an immense diversity of things in tennis. The most apparent technological development at tournaments includes devices that trace where on the court the ball lands from a serve or on line calls. Other technological developments that have been invested upon revolve around match analysis.

[Electronic Tracing of the Ball]
[Match Analysis Technology]

ELECTRONIC TRACING OF THE BALL

With increased media coverage of tennis tournaments, technologies have been developed to trace the trajectory of the ball. The tracing of the ball can be broadcasted by tennis coverage commentators to their television audience. Examples of such innovations include the “TM Eye” at Canada’s Roger’s Cup Tournament and “Shot Spot” at the U.S. Open Tournament. This technology can record the path of serves and depict the location at which a ball lands(figure 8). Many have debated that this technology should be used to assist in officiating calls, due to its precision. If the data captured by this technology is deemed as “legally official”, there may be a reduction in discrepancies between players and the officials on ambiguous line calls. Unfortunately, this technology has not yet been recognized by any tennis organization to assist in officiating calls.

Electronic Tracing Precision (originally-created graphic)
Figure 8; Electronic Tracing Precision
Here, an electronic tracing devise would be able to precisely determine that the ball is just clipping the line and should, therefore, be considered in. However, the ball is moving so fast that the chair umpire might think that the ball landed out, resulting in player-official discrepancies.

MATCH ANALYSIS TECHNOLOGY

Technological advancement in match analysis can allow more effective acquirement of different pieces of information. The acquirement of this information will enable tennis coverage commentators, coaches or physiotherapists to conduct biomechanical analyses of player movement, tactical evaluation of the player’s actions, technical evaluation of the player’s technique and statistic compilation. Statistic compilation is very valuable as it allows players to view their performance in a more analytic manner. Through more analytical eyes, tennis players will be able to target the areas in which they need to improve upon.

Development of an input system
Development of an input system for data is quite difficult. One of the first pieces of match analysis technology included a QWERTY keyboard where codes were assigned to each function. The major problem of the usage of this system was that an individual would need to spend much time learning how to use the complex system of codes. Another one of the first pieces of match analysis technology used a microcomputer. The major disadvantage to the usage of this system was that the microcomputer operator would only have the ability to take note of one tennis player at one time, due to the fast pace of the game. Finally, the “Concept Keyboard” was invented in Great Britain and the “Power Pad” was invented in Canada at he UBC Notational Analysis Centre. Both of these systems were much more user-friendly and required less training. This was due to the fact that the systems were programmable to be tailored to the user, were touch sensitive and could be include a graphic depiction of the court. Later, systems that required even less training were introduced. S. Taylor and M.D. Hughes had invented a voice-activated data entry system that did not require any expertise in data entry. The IBM Visual Basic program could also be used to create a system of data entry where users could input regular English language and click on buttons to enter information. Despite this system’s ease of use, the clear disadvantage of this system is its lack of expedience, as the user must use their hands to both type on the keyboard and click with the mouse.

Copyright © 2005 Iris Wong, Grade 11, Queen Elizabeth High School, Calgary, Alberta
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