At this year’s WTCA New York Conference, we will welcome Adam Sher and Tim Bainton, two people who are making significant advancements in the world of tennis technology and analytics.
Adam is the CEO of AccuTennis, and he is working with Tim, among others, to bring to market AccuTennis, a game-based approach to tennis. AccuTennis uses computer vision technology to provide live feedback through player gesture controls and on-court displays. The program allows coaches to review match play and gives parents, players, and fans the chance to tune in from anywhere and watch court play.
The AccuTennis team also includes co-founders David Kliebhan and Andrew Hatstat. In 2014, Dave and Andy created the technology and hardware behind AccuTennis. Their initial objective was to automate the charting for Dave’s son’s matches because it was too costly and inefficient to hire a coach for that same purpose. AccuTennis’s vision evolved to provide automated match officiating, drill implementation, and streaming services. AccuTennis partnered with the WTCA in 2018 to grow an underserved market in women’s tennis, and to expand opportunities to use accessible technology and improve player engagement at all levels.
I had the opportunity to talk with Adam and Tim before their commercial launch at the New York Conference and to gain more insight about the new AccuTennis technology.
How is AccuTennis aiming to help grow the sport?
Adam: We want to develop technology for tennis that creates positive feedback loops that junior players recognize from other parts of their technology-driven lives. In this case, that includes real-time scorekeeping in games, drills, and matches and easily sharable highlights. We focus on providing great coaching and player experiences while the players are on the court, which is the only time to engage players and provide value. AccuTennis also needs to be affordable so that any facilities with tennis can access our technology. In addition, we need to provide enough value for tennis clubs to profit. We believe we offer a user-friendly, fun technology,that improves the bottom line and in doing so, we will increase player participation, member engagement, and club profitability.
Tim: AccuTennis is an affordable technology that will allow tennis players of all levels to enjoy game-based simulation. It is fun and easy to use! Club owners and teaching professionals will access analytics on their player and analytics on various elements within their business. These are things like cost of square footage, the revenue their doing on each course day, usage rates, etc., The benefits of the technology are similar to a three-prong system. It provides the experience for the consumer and player’s, the ability for the teaching professional to utilize the technology in order to help with technique, and it’s a way for club owners to gauge productivity. It helps with everything from how well the coaches are teaching, to how many kids are on the court, to how the players are learning and developing and so on.
Technology-based programs are continuing to become a growing market in tennis, how does AccuTennis differ from its competitors?
Tim: We have followed our competitors very closely and the issue with these programs is that there’s no data to support the cost. For a lot of the bigger tennis associations, these programs are easily accessible. But for many of the smaller clubs they can’t get a return on their investment. We believe that with AccuTennis the program is not only more diversified, but also significantly more affordable. It’s the first technology out there that’s going to be cost effective but also has the back-end analytics to the owners. Our competitors don’t have that and that’s a massive reason why many clubs can’t justify it. We will be able to provide live information that is driven towards occupancy, monetary gain, and member engagement. From my perspective, this makes the investment well worthwhile. We aren’t arguing that our competitors don’t have a great technology we just want to focus on how to make this type of program cost affective and accessible to everyone.
Adam: AccuTennis is adjacent to a few existing technologies but is distinct due to its price, accuracy, market focus, and user experience. In my experience delivering technology to health clubs, data accuracy and ease of use are the factors that determine whether clubs and members successfully adopt a technology. We make it obvious for our customers to see how much value AccuTennis delivers by focusing on accuracy and user-friendliness.
Another important differentiator is that we target tennis clubs because that is where juniors, who are driving participation growth, start. I see a lot of money being spent at the top of the sport, the 1% so to speak, top tier universities, academies, and professionals. This helps bring recognition to the sport, which is extremely helpful, but leaves the club level, which is where tennis thrives, unaddressed.
WTCA: What will your presentation include at the WTCA NY Conference?
Adam: Our overall theme is how technology impacts tennis club operations. Before AccuTennis, I ran a technology company that sold CRM and marketing automation software to gyms, health clubs, and tennis facilities. In serving over 2,500 clubs and over 10,000,000 members, I witnessed good and bad implementations of technology. I am excited to share some of the lessons I learned and discuss how tennis clubs, universities, and tennis academies can successfully apply what I learned. Naturally, I think AccuTennis should be an important part of a club’s technology stack.
Tim: I’ve attended a lot of conferences and the last thing people want to do is be sold to. We won’t actually talk about AccuTennis. Instead we want to focus on the relationship between coaches using analytics on the court to give better feedback to their players and how these analytics also translate to the back office to grow tennis. Adam and I believe that this connection will help keep more clubs open and make them more successful, but also help us increase profits and pay professionals more money. At the New York Conference, we will give a quick 25-minute, high content presentation that focuses on those two markers.
In today’s digital age, we are all well-versed on watching a video and dissecting a player’s technique. Adam Sher and Tim Bainton will focus not only on this concept and the need for analytics in coaching, but also will address why today’s modern tennis academy, tennis health club and coach owner should be incorporating these technologies to improve profitability.