“Sammy Speaks” is a 7 part blog series with South Asian Games Gold Medalist – Sathwika Sama. Over the course of the next seven weeks, Sathwika will share details of her journey/experiences in the international tennis circuit
Now that you all have gotten to know me a little better and realize that I would like an indoor tennis centre with great recovery tools, I wanted to throw a little masala in the mix called technology. A little birdie once told me that India has all the talent but not any of the technology. Fifteen years later, it annoys me to say that the little birdie is still right.
Below, I have listed some technological tools to help us buy the science for our Hindustan :
Basic video analysis is the hawk eye of analyzing and understanding the biomechanics of each tennis stroke. With the help of this exact video feedback, players can learn how to correct their mistakes and improve their techniques almost instantaneously. Slow motion and different camera angles today really help analyze each stroke precisely and to a new level. It also helps avoid potential injuries which may arise due to improper biomechanics. A basic coaching tool in any professional tennis academy abroad.
Ball machines are also a very common practice at most tennis academies. With the world currently in the middle of a pandemic, this piece of magical tennis technology makes for the perfect practice partner. Multiple automatic functions allow you to practice alone and replicate match strokes down to the tee. This tool has now even advanced enough to practice return of serves at up to 130 mph, not to mention topspin and slice from a variety of angles. This tool allows coaches to be with the player and focus on technical analysis while the ball machine acts as an opponent who just keeps returning balls without a stop. This ensures that players develop repetitive muscle memory.
Racquet customization is also of great benefit to the professional player. Even if it is the same racquet, every racquet you buy off the shelf can vary in weight by up to 30 grams. The machinery used in racket customization makes all rackets weigh and feel exactly the same. It can also help you attain more power by increasing the weight in the right areas and balances the swing weight of each and every racket to give you the perfect feel down to the last gram. Even one point differentiates a winner from a loser and if I break a string in the third set tie break, I definitely do not want a thirty-gram difference in my racket, especially after grinding for three hours in some of the world’s hottest destinations.
I hope all these points bring to light a few of the missing technological components in Indian Tennis today. We have seen some of these in very small pockets of India and I believe it is time we start seeing the money spent on these as an investment and not as an expense. Finally, my last point is that all of this modern technology has created a change in my thinking of the sporting world which is that athletes are NOT BORN anymore – they are MADE. Technology has made this happen to a large extent. I never said Sathwika Sama’s dreams were easy but if India can send a rocket to mars, we can definitely make tennis champions.
Let’s invest India. We already have a Cricket World Cup and few other sporting medals in Badminton and Hockey but I can assure you that a Wimbledon singles title will taste a LOT sweeter.
Keep smiling as the sun will shine tomorrow 😊
Have a safe weekend.