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Why Using Video Can Make you a Better Tennis Player

By Josh Graves, Head of Sales, Racquet Sports at PlaySight

We have heard the stories of Steph Curry and Kobe Bryant spending hours and hours after practice in the film room. We see quarterbacks on the sidelines reviewing video during the game immediately after a scoring drive to better understand the defense’s weaknesses and understand what worked and didn’t. We see golfers analyze their swing meticulously with video technology to see how they can get that extra percentage point of improvement. We see video-review used in the World Cup and professional leagues around the world to ensure officiating is as accurate as possible.

So why aren’t we using video and analytics in the tennis world more often to improve the level and enjoyment of our sport?

There appear to be two main reasons holding back the integration of video into the sport of tennis, especially compared to basketball, football, soccer and other sports:
  1. Technology is still relatively new, and it’s taking time to integrate it with tennis facilities, academies and clubs, and to develop proper business models that justify the investment.
  2. Figuring out how technology fits in alongside tried-and-true “old school” coaching methods.

PlaySight is working on developing the ideal solution for tennis facilities, academies and clubs to solve both of these issues.

Let’s start with the point number two: “old school” coaching. PlaySight has developed features and products that are meant to only add to, not take away from, any existing teaching methodologies. Let’s say you’re working on mental and physical toughness with a player. The drill is a 2-on-1, running the one player side-to-side for 10 minutes, playing “out” balls with no break. How could technology help in this situation? When the player appears tired after five minutes and the coach tells them to keep their chest up, and the player responds “it is!,” what’s better than showing them on video at the end of the practice how they were slumped over, looking dejected and tired after five minutes of the drill, and telling them that when they play a long point in the match, they can’t let that happen.

This is just one example of how the “new school” PlaySight system can fit in with old school drills and teaching methodology. Now, let’s say you want to get more analytical – the next time you do the drill, you can keep track of exactly what percent of the player’s balls went into the court, or how many balls she or he hit deep, or how the speed of the player’s shots changed over the course of the practice. The possibilities are endless, but it all starts with simple video review.

With regards to the first point of integration and investment, PlaySight now has a full product suite – the SmartCourt PRO, PLAY, and LIVE – available at different price points and with specific features and functionality for different types of tennis facilities, pros and ultimately players. From video lessons to monetizing tournament live streaming and match recordings to increasing member engagement, tennis facilities all over the world are adding direct and indirect new revenue streams through technology.
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