PlaySight Interactive’s SmartCourt technology is the newest toy for tennis players of all levels, allowing players to track performance, watch 3-D tactical review, instant video analysis, and review all statistics while on the court. This technology allows players to join for free and, as a member, track, share and compare activity on the website on and off the court.
PlaySight, a new Israeli start-up, just announced a $3.5 million investment from famous tennis players such as current No. 2 player in the world Novak Djokovic, legend Billie Jean King and coach Gordon A. Uehling III, as well as several others. The new capital will fund the company’s SmartCourt technology for recreational and elite tennis players, and will fund research and development on applications for sports other than tennis. PlaySight CEO Chen Shachar said in a statement:
“We are very proud to have such a powerful group of investors who share our vision of bringing elite player technology to the grassroots and club level. . . . When we developed this technology, we saw an opportunity to create an affordable, easy-to-install, could-based system for athletes of all levels to improve their game.”
SmartCourt utilizes five cameras and a courtside kiosk that players can see while on the court, enabling them to check stats such as forehand errors, total movement on the court, and the height of a ball over the net. This unique insight gives players a chance to make necessary adjustments more quickly. The technology system can be installed in tennis facilities and private courts.
Currently, SmartCourt technology is not widely available. Only 21 courts in the U.S., mostly in New York and New Jersey, offer this experience, in addition to locations in France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Israel. SmartCourt technology is already approved by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and installed in Roland Garros in Paris, Queens Club in London, Stefan Edberg’s academy in Sweden, as well as at the University of Georgia’s tennis facility. Plans include installing more than 100 in the U.S. and around the world this year. PlaySight also hopes to apply its technology to other sports such as basketball, football, hockey and other field sports.
A few competitors exist for PlaySight, but none appear to yet deliver as well as SmartCourt technology. Racket company Babolat released a new racket for $399 that captures data and displays it on electronic devices. Another start-up, ProTennisCoach.com, allows players to engage in live chats, watch instructional videos and receive online analysis of their technique for $99.50 annually; players can also pay an additional fee starting at $150 for the option to send a video to one of the coaches for live chat and analysis. Darren Cahill, one of the site’s partner coaches and an ESPN commentator, states that with this add-on, he can break down any part of a match.
This new boom in coaching tools and software makes it easier than ever for amateur and pros alike players to see what their strokes really look like and to improve them.