I am not sure you have heard about the tennis pointer, but it is a training tool developed by Jiri Bartos who used it to coach top boys player Jonáš Forejtek.
The video of Forejtek hitting with the tennis pointer went viral so there was apparently interest around this tool which pretty much looks like a large wooden spoon with a tennis grip. Bartos decided to make a business out of it and you can now buy the Tennis Pointer from MSV and Functional Tennis. They are all handmade in the Czech Republic.
So I have been playing around with tennis pointer for a while and I can understand the lure. The idea behind it is to improve the contact point, force you to work on your footwork and the ball toss of your serve. It comes in two sizes, 10+ (up to adults) and one for kids (6-10 years of age). It is easy to swing and for you to impact the ball in a good way you need optimal timing.
Does it work?
Yes, in my opinion, this tool works well to force you to work on your footwork and contact point. The racquet face is so small, it barely covers the ball, which means you need to really watch the ball and stay active with your feet. It takes some time getting used to, but after you have hit with it for 30 minutes, picking up a normal racquet feels relatively effortless. And that is the whole point, I guess.
I didn’t find the tool so appealing to hit with personally. The feel on contact with wood against the ball feels a bit harsh to me and it does create a weird “thwock” sound. I would have preferred a softer impact material, especially since I have a sensitive arm. There is the legendary “God racquet” from Prince with a 20 sq inch head size that is pretty much a normal racquet with a tiny surface (that strikes me as too small though). And there is the Toalson Sweet Area racquet, which is a normal racquet with a 60 sq inch head size (comes in two weights: 280g and 320g). I haven’t tested either of them, but a strung hitting surface appeals more to me.
This is a nice tool to improve your tennis. I think kids can really benefit from using it as they groove their strokes. For regular weekend warriors or intermediate recreational players, you will need a lot of patience to practice with this thing. It took me a while to get a rally going (and I can easily play with a wooden racquet). The concept is great and I believe in it, but I personally prefer a strung surface on impact. I also think it could have been slightly larger and heavier in its current form, but maybe I just lack the skill and patience :)
Did you try this tool or any other similar tools? What did you think about it?