Are we going to automate tennis lessons? Probably not yet, but some of the repetitive training is starting to robotize with products like the Slinger. A kind of big 15 km suitcase that incorporates a cannon system… for tennis balls.
If the upper part allows you to place shoes and rackets, the main compartment is in fact a magazine of balls which fall (thank you gravity) into four launch compartments. From 72 balls to achieve the greatest precision, to 144 balls in “loose” mode, the bag allows you to do without the coach / partner as well as the ball collector … for a while. Because there comes a time when you have to go get them.
Connection point to the sector required since the device which can send the balls from 16 to 72 km / h incorporates a battery capable of holding 5 hours – we would have preferred that the designer communicate on a number of launches at a given speed. Good point though: the built-in battery allowed engineers to integrate a USB socket to charge the smartphone.
The only technological disappointment lies in the absence of connected functions: if the device has a car-style remote control, it only allows you to start / stop the training and activate / deactivate an optional oscillator, which gives a little bullet effect. As it is, the power, frequency and elevation angle settings (+ 10 ° to + 40 °) are only configurable by physical knobs from the bag.
However, tennis practitioners who want to train seriously have a playing “partner” here who can rinse them off for 5 hours. Enough to work on your back without paying for tens of hours of lessons. To be perfect, all that’s missing is more remote control – via a smartwatch? – “shot” parameters. And why not, one day, a system that allows the suitcase to go and pick up the balls while you rest.
Price wise, the Slinger sells for 850 euros (without the balls, eh), which makes it the cheapest automatic tennis launcher on the market. And undoubtedly the most portable with its system of wheels and handle borrowed from suitcases.