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We are going to start this article by saying squash, as a sport, has failed to adapt to the 21st Century. Tennis (ITF) have adopted technology in the game that improves entertainment, umpiring and match play.
Today, Racketware are changing all that with the launch of their Racketware Squash Sensor - the first dedicated squash specific wearable sensor and tracker.
Racketware is a handy squash tracker and sensor that clips on to the end of your racket, so that you will hardly know it is there, and sends all your stats to the app via bluetooth.
There's a lot of data that can be transferred from the Racketware sensor to the Racketware app, including match and training swing stats especially in LIVE mode (perfect for you and your coach).
But where Racketware is unique, is that it can give you match stats. Over time, and playing the same opponent all the time, this type of technology will make you a better squash match player. You will know your opponents weak spots and your strong shots.
Well, we delve into the deep end and talk about the squash match stats Racketware collects and shows to you, the player.
This is pretty much the time you spend on court with the sensor, regardless of what you are doing.
In a match scenario, it will include the warm up and any shots played prior to the start of the match. Similarly, it will include any shots played after the match up to the point that the sensor turns off again and the session ends.
In a normal match you will spend quite a bit of time not playing rallies: possibly more than you spend in rallies!
Match pace can be adjusted as a tactic during play, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent.
We adjust for the strength of each shot, and the time spent in rallies and the accelerations experienced in the rallies. Then it is adjusted to your personal profile accounting for your age, gender, and weight.
When we add these up for your lifetime totals, we count them in mcals (mega calories) - where each mcal is a thousand kcal.
The longer the match the more calories you will tend to burn - but this is not always the case. Some matches are easier than others.
So it does not matter how long the match is - it's a measure of how hard you are working. Typical values are in the 5-9 range for an easy match, and 9-12 range for a hard match.
The shots counted are those taken by the player with the sensor - this metric does not include shots made by the opponent.
In the current app. version it will include rallies that ended with a let or a stroke. It will not include zero shot rallies: which are those in which your opponent serves the ball out, or in which you fail to make a return of serve.
In general rally quality comes down the bigger the difference in ability between you and your opponent.
Problem is, after you play your last shot the rally may continue for a while. It might end straight away if you put the ball out of court for example. Or it might continue with your opponent hitting the ball and you making a run for the ball but just not quite getting there. So we add half of the average gap between shots to the end of each rally to get the total rally time.
Squash is nice in that if you win a point you serve the next one. This is true even between games, and also at the end of the match.
At present, we can't detect lets: we will count them as a normal rally. Strokes are fine as they are a normal way you can win or lose.
It doesn't matter to our calculations if you win because your opponent doesn't get to the ball, or if you win because they put their reply out of court: in both cases its chalked up as a win for you. We think this is reasonable, because your shot won you the rally one way or the other: either directly or by forcing a mistake from your opponent.
We tell who serves by looking for ball bounces shortly before the first shot of the rally. Many people do this instinctively so it's no burden - but you can help make your win / lose data accurate by making sure you bounce before you serve.
Aside from this, it can be hard to tell a serve from a receive - so the results will be less accurate if you don't use the bounce method.
So it answers the question: "if I'm going the end the rally with this shot, what are my chances of winning it?"
So it answers the question: "if I'm going the win the rally, what is my best shot for doing it?"
So it answers the question: "if I'm going lose the rally, what shot type is the most likely cause?"
So it answers the question: "where do most rallies end?"
Keep in mind we measure the racket head speed (at the sweet spot of the racket face) not the ball speed. It's difficult to measure the ball speed without knowing how fast the ball is travelling into the racket and what the angles are.
In any event, racket head speed what you as a player have produced - so its actually a more relevant value when you are thinking about your swing and your play.
Sounds easy - but it's not as simple as it seems!
Players do lots of things with their rackets during a match: they bounce the ball on the floor and off the side wall, they pass it to their opponent, they take a few practice shots in between games or while waiting for their opponent, there's the warm up of course, and often the ball will be picked up off the floor using the racket.
So there are lots of things that could count as shots, but aren't really part of play.
So we do a lot of work to find and exclude the warm up, and to remove all the shots that don't actually form part of rallies, and the things that aren't shots at all. So you are left with the actual shots you played as part of the match.
Of course you can help here too - avoiding playing shots in between rallies helps the most: especially shots that follow closely on from the end of the rally.
This is will get more accurate as our algorithm develops and we learn more about you.
Racketware is a revolutionary technology that is aiming to change the face of squash. If you are a coach or player who wants to takes squash seriously, then you must embrace technology in this era of data. Purchase below
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