Soccer team in a huddle

Data-Driven Coaching To Revolutionize Women’s Tennis

August 7, 2015 by Ryan Somers 28

“A standard tennis match between two players creates an average of 60-70,000 records.” – Quentin Clark, Chief Technology Officer, SAP

Big Data is everywhere, we’re surrounded by it. Yet it’s useless if it’s not logical, not insightful, and not actionable. So how do businesses know when they’ve found a winning partnership? When solutions are created that can harness the power of Big Data, visualize it in a simplistic way, and provide all of those insights in an instant. This is the recipe for success. But it’s far from a cookie-cutter process. In fact, an out-of-the-box solution will often fail to satisfy the appetite for success if it’s not tailored to quench the needs of the user. This is why co-innovation is the secret ingredient to a winning partnership.

SAP and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) recently went live with game-changing technology to revolutionize the way matches are played. And for the first time ever in professional tennis, WTA players and coaches can access real-time performance data during live match play. You’ve read it correctly. During the on-court coaching breaks, the coaches can literally walk onto the court, with a tablet, to deliver data-driven guidance for the player to embrace – by exploiting opportunities that would’ve otherwise gone unnoticed.

SAP Tennis Analytics for coaching could be the difference between winning and losing. Examples of this solution powered by SAP HANA Cloud platform include:

  • Side-by-side comparisons of the full list of match stats for both players, updated every 15 seconds
  • Scoring data that analyzes player’s service performance, success rate in closing out a game while serving, and number of break points saved
  • Tracking data which shows player’s serve direction and placement on the court, contact point for returning a serve, and placement of rally shots

Imagine having access to software powerful enough to find data patterns in the blink of an eye. These are insights that no player or coach could possibly see. But the vision was clear from the start. On top of that, customized weather friendly tablet cases were created with hi-tech 3D printers. Even the screens and colors within the app were optimized to eliminate outdoor elements, like glare from the sun. Jenni Lewis of SAP, who first envisioned this technology, graciously recognized the tremendous efforts of the development community, and their co-innovation with the WTA. Truly a team effort and interestingly enough, the majority of SAP developers leading this project are predominantly female. Created by women, for women.

The on-court technology platform has been diligently tested, enhanced, and updated. And thanks to the agility provided by the SAP HANA Cloud platform – continual enhancements can be updated with ease. Further, this cloud technology enables SAP Tennis Analytics to operate, across the globe, as players travel to each tournament around the world. Coaches will have the opportunity to use SAP Tennis Analytics at six additional WTA events in 2015, and other tournaments slated for 2016. And soon enough, this powerful technology will find a home alongside the tennis racquet and sneakers, as one of the most important pieces of tennis equipment for the superstars of the WTA.

Check out www.sapsponsorships.com for more, and follow me @airsomers and on LinkedIn.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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