Professional tennis players now sparring on Centre Court at Wimbledon have likely scrutinized every part of their game – from stance, to serving strength to baseline maneuvers — with a team of coaches at the ready. But what of the average tennis fan hitting the court a few weeks per month?
PlaySight Interactive Ltd. is a pioneer in the emerging market of affordable, consumer sports analytics systems. PlaySightTM Smart Court is a real-time and after action review system. The technology is affordable, easy to set up and use and it is designed for tennis clubs across the world.
Our vision was to bring affordable advanced and modern “After Action Review” (AAR) technology to the club level, feasible until recently for high-profile events only. We aim to globally revolutionize not only the coaching process in all ball sports, starting with tennis, but also to enhance the game experience making it more challenging and fun.
The company recently closed a $3.5 million investment round from a group of high-profile private investors, including Novak Djokovic, Billie-Jean King, Bill Ackman, Dr. Jim Loehr and others. The new capital will fund a global rollout of PlaySight’s “Smart Court” technology for recreational and elite tennis, as well as research and development on applications in other popular sports beyond tennis.
The Smart Court technology is already installed at a number of prestige venues including Roland Garros in Paris (home of the French Tennis Federation), Queens Club in London, Stefan Edberg’s academy in Sweden, Holland’s Laurense Tennis Academy (the training center for legendary coach Sven Groeneveld) and Ramat Hasharon tennis center in Israel. PlaySight has close to 40 Smart Courts installed globally, including 19 in the United States and recently installed its first collegiate court at The University of Georgia. The company expects to hit more than 100 facilities across Florida, California and New York in 2014 – reaching up 4,000 courts in the next four years.
“PlaySight has the potential to revolutionize the game of tennis as well as other sports through bringing the same sophisticated analytics available at the highest levels sports at a price point that makes it accessible to clubs and players of all levels around the globe,” said Mark Ein, CEO of growth investment holding company Venturehouse Group, and a participant investor. “Through this ‘video-gamification’ of sports, PlaySight will make the game more fun and appealing to new and casual players while providing an incredibly valuable training tool for the more frequent player.”
With just four HD cameras PlaySight Smart Court provides a complete solution of real-time and after-action review with complete debriefing solutions, auto stats, bio-mechanical analysis and 3D tactical game management.
The players’ activity and motion during the entire match/training are automatically recorded, analyzed and uploaded into PlaySight.com—a social network for players/athletes where they can review their performance and share it with their coaches, friends and family.
PlaySight brings a new generation of coaching, debriefing and statistics tools, so all performance can be accurately measured.
Affordable Sport Analytics – Game Channing Technology
Today, tennis comes second to last in the list of sports using sophisticated analytics (MIT Sloan Sport Analytics Conference 2012) We strongly believe that a sports analysis platform feasible on every tennis court, with the ability to accurately analyze and immediately share a player’s performance during and after match or training will revolutionize the game of tennis. Furthermore, affordable PAT (Players Analysis Technology) as an integral part of every tennis court and tournament will enhance the playing experience making it more fun and challenging to all players and viewers.
Tennis can become the leading sport in adopting advanced technology fundamentally changing all the aspects of the game, training and coaching, as well as playing and reviewing matches as follows:
• Revolutionizing Training & Coaching
Analyzed visual feedback from match play or training is essential for players’ progress and development. Today’s tennis training methods do not go beyond what can be capture by traditional techniques—eyeballing the players as they move and play.
Most tennis players have never received any visual feedback. Players who engage in dozens of matches throughout the year rarely get to see themselves playing. They have no immediate means to view and share their performance with others. Furthermore, most tennis clubs today don’t even have video equipment on their premises.
Affordable PAT should be routinely available on every tennis court at all levels from the early stages. PlaySight SmartCourt cost around $10,000 to set up, plus fees for usage — and doesn’t require dedicated operators for use.
Some clubs provide PlaySight as an included free service while others charge around $10 per use. Players and coaches, at all levels, will receive automatic and instant on-court biomechanical and 3D tactical feedback with no prior preparation, as an integral part of each match and training session. This feedback should include video, 3D display, statistics, game management, decision making, anticipation, patterns and structured review according to the match events. Players, coaches and mentors will receive better feedback based on recorded matches and training drills, thus significantly improving the technical and tactical performance of the players as well as the ability of the coaches to track and analyze their progress.
No doubt that having advanced PAT as an integral part of the daily training of players, at all levels, will substantially improve tennis players’ achievements.
• Revolutionizing Officiating
The lack of umpires in most tournaments, especially in junior’s tournaments, causes many problems such as bad calls, cheatings, frustration, parents’ negative involvement, etc. Having reliable and available line-calling system in every tournament as a standard requirement, will radically solve this problem and eliminate one of the factors that discourages players to play competitive tennis.
• Revolutionizing the Way the Game is Reviewed – Low-Cost Production
Today, due to high production cost, only central courts in selected high-profile tournaments receive media coverage.
Affordable PAT will enable events’ organizers with “low-cost production” tools providing media coverage and interesting content from more courts in each tournament and covering a much larger number of tournaments. PAT in tournaments should provide high quality video, 3D display and automatic statistics from each court to enhance viewers’ experience above and beyond any traditional broadcasts.
Inserting PAT into tournaments worldwide will increase the exposure and popularity of the game of tennis.
Chen M. Shachar is the Co-Founder and CEO for PlaySight Interactive Ltd. With extensive experience in state-of-the-art 3D based simulation, visualization and training systems. Prior to founding PlaySight he was the CTO at Rontal Applications.