Until I got the QLIPP Tennis Sensor, I had no idea how fast my serve was.
I know, I am no Milos Raonic.
First serves that clock over 230 kph and second serves that hover around the 200 kph is not my thing. For that matter, I don’t hit the squash ball at 283 kph either, like Cameron Pilley does.
Having recently watched Milos demolish nineteen-year-old American Jared Donaldson at the Rogers Cup, I had a renewed appreciation for speed. So, with my newly acquired QLIPP, I set out to do some tests of my own.
If you haven’t heard about QLIPP, here’s a quick overview.
QLIPP is a tennis sensor developed by Donny Soh and team at 9 Degrees Freedom. It acts as the dampener on your tennis racquet and syncs with the QLIPP app on your smartphone. Once charged and turned on, it measures your strokes by type, speed, sweet-spot accuracy, spin, etc. It is designed to work with Android and IOS devices including the Apple Watch. It also incorporates a video functionality that can be used to record your game for visual stroke-by-stroke analysis. Here’s a review from Gadgets & Wearables that provides more details about the QLIPP Tennis Sensor.
QLIPP.com lists it at US$109.00 including shipping.
The QLIPP was originally developed for tennis. So, I decided to use it with my tennis racquet first.
Attaching the QLIPP to my tennis racquet was a bit of a challenge. The video demonstrating the “how to” did not have audio which made it harder than it needed to be. The 60-lbs string tension of my racquet did not make matters easier. However, after the first couple of times, I was able to attach and remove the sensor with minimal effort.
I did not have any issues charging the QLIPP while it was attached to my racquet. This appeared to be an issue for some of the earlier users.
The thing I like about the QLIPP is that it is unobtrusive.
At 8g, the QLIPP was barely noticeable on my tennis racquet. The blinking light on the QLIPP can be a distraction if you forget to turn it off in the app settings. I missed it the first time, which triggered a fair amount of curiosity among players who wanted to try it out. The app does have a guest setting that allows others to try the QLIPP without mixing up the results with that of the of the primary owner of the device.
Once connected, and set to “play,” QLIPP appeared to seamlessly register each stroke and provide real-time output through a Bluetooth connection to the app on my phone. After playing a set, I checked my stats. QLIPP seemed to be mixing up some of my strokes, especially between forehand shots and serves. The sensor only picked up eight of my serves during the session. Clearly, some improvements needed here – either for the device or, my serves.
My fastest serve was registered as 141 kph and my fastest forehand shot showed up at 142 kph.
My strokes were approximately 100 kph slower than Milos’s!
Granted that he is over thirty years younger and nearly ten inches taller; but, 100 kph?
So I decided to switch to squash.
Attaching the QLIPP to my squash racquet was a breeze.
I had no problems playing with the QLIPP attached to my 130g Karakal squash racquet. If you are super sensitive to the weight of your racquet and routinely use one in the 110g range, you may have issues with the QLIPP. Perhaps you can use it as a weight training tool in addition to its sensor functionality.
Once again, QLIPP kept mixing up my forehand shots with serves and vice versa. Obviously, QLIPP was looking for tennis strokes, and there I was hitting rail shots and drops with underspin. However, it did pick up on the speed of my strokes.
My fastest shot was tracked at 175 kph. Over a 100 kph behind Cameron Pilley’s record. My only consolation was that I was hitting the squash ball with more power than I was hitting the tennis ball. If you play both the games, you probably know that is to be expected.
QLIPP for squash will need to account for a few differences between the two games.
For a start, dampeners are not popular with squash players. Attaching the sensor to a squash racquet may need to be done differently. Some of the stroke types that it measures – serves, volleys, and topspins are more relevant to tennis than squash. Also, from strokes point of view, a measure of underspin would be nice to have.
As I headed to the club bar, I wished that I had a device like the QLIPP while I was learning to play. It could have made a difference to the way I trained and learned from the feedback the gadget gave me.
But for now, I am going to give up on speed and focus on finesse.
QLIPP cannot measure finesse. At least, not for now.
Disclosure: The QLIPP Tennis Sensor used by me was a complimentary sample that I received for review purposes. The opinions and thoughts above are completely my own and are based on my experience.