Digital technology, data and player development in tennis – Part 1
“Most of the world will make decisions by either guessing or using their gut. They will be either lucky or wrong.”- Suhail Doshi
We live in the stream of information. Or more correctly -‘We live in the stream of data.’ Countless pieces of data hit us every second, and our brain more or less methodically try to make sense of it.
We often use terms data and information interchangeably. However, there is a difference between them. Data is not information; data has to be collected and only becomes information after analysis. Or as Daniel Keys Moran says – “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.”
The extent to which data is informative to someone depends mostly on the need for it and once acquired, the quality of it. Something that we already know doesn’t provide as much information to us as something completely new, especially if the data is important for the future actions.
This article is about tennis, the optimal development of players in tennis, and new technology, Armbeep Tennis Performance Analysis System, which helps us collect more and better data, required for the optimal development of tennis players.
BREAKING DOWN THE COMPLEXITY OF TENNIS
For years the sport of tennis and the development of elite or high-performance tennis players have been a hybrid between science, sport, business, and magic. Tennis has by default always been a little bit of sport and a little bit of business. Curiously, sports science, even now, has never been very high on the list of priorities for tennis coaches. And that is where the magic comes into play. Whenever elite tennis players perform something that seems out of this world, the consensus is that they are extremely talented, and also that they probably possess some magical skills, something unexplainable, almost mystical, that help them perform that way.
The best coaches understand that there is no magic and that correct goal-setting and ultimate planning, with roots in sports science, are the keys to success. Long gone are times when it was enough to be a naturally talented little chap and practice three times a week to be among the best in the world. Nowadays, high-performance juniors and elite tennis players practice four to five hours a day and follow strict fitness and diet regimes. Nothing is left to chance anymore. But why is that, and especially long hours, and a lot of repetition necessary?
· By definition, the sport of tennis is an open acyclical sport, which means that situations on the tennis court mostly never repeat themselves. Shortly, if the situations never repeat themselves we never hit the same shot again – every time we hit we practice a new shot. That is trouble for your brain because your brain can’t learn much from just a few different situations; also, it can’t generalize which is the base for high-quality decision making and execution in tennis.
· Tennis is also a complex system with the infinite number of variables. (If you are not familiar with the term, then the simplest way to explain what complex systems are is by using the famous Aristotle’s quote – “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Not only the obvious parts but also the underlying connections between them create systems where the outcome can seem unexpected if we don’t take into account those underlying connections between them as well).
EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE
The base of knowledge is, ultimately, enough experience. In real life is many times enough to do something one time to gain enough experience about it. Not in tennis though. As we said before, tennis is a complex system with the infinite number of variables. Every time tennis players hit, they hit a new, different shot. Shot they have never hit before. Shot they will never hit again. Differences can be small but they exist. So how can we turn this variability into something that at least from afar resembles repeatability? To get things at least a little bit in order your brain has to cluster all this jazz, all the decisions, executions, and outcomes. Don’t worry how your brain will do it, your brain is not afraid of the high volume of data. It has been designed to process everything we throw at it and much more. More repetition just means more data for your brain to work with, to cluster it, and to create useful information. That is why players need a lot of repetition. With more and better information it possesses, your brain generalizes better, therefore makes better decisions and delivers better execution; and vice-versa, with not enough data and data-based information, not only the decisions but also the executions can be quite inaccurate. One can’t have information without data, remember? And one can’t have ultimate information without ultimate data.
However, the amount of (data generating) repetition must be optimal! Without enough repetition, players are not challenged enough, while too much repetition can hurt them physically or mentally. And to paraphrase Suhail Doshi, without necessary practice data we will be either lucky or wrong when developing a tennis player. So how to generate for development of tennis players relevant data?
ARMBEEP TENNIS PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS SYSTEM
That is where Armbeep Tennis Performance Analysis System comes into play. Armbeep Tennis Performance Analysis System helps monitor, assess and analyze practice or match data. It is a helpful tool when we need to optimize the practice loads and determine the appropriate daily, weekly and monthly amount of repetition during practice, among other things. It’s a feature packed system that collects all kind of tennis relevant data before, during and after a tennis activity. Some of the data it collects:
The total number of shots – Have you ever wondered if your practice plan is optimal? If your players hit enough? Or maybe too much or too little? You can’t tell unless someone counts those shots for the players. With Armbeep Tennis System is easy to track the number of shots per practice or match.
The active time of practice or match – Tennis coaches usually know the total time of the practice. But they don’t know how much of that time players hit. With Armbeep Tennis System you can accurately measure the active time of practice.
The length of rallies – Statistics from WTA and ATP Tour shows that most of the rallies are over in less than four shots. With Armbeep Tennis System is easy to plan and create more realistic practices.
It’s easy to extract important information from all the tennis relevant data that Armbeep Tennis System provides. This information will consequently speed up the players’ knowledge acquisition – therefore, they will develop their game and reach higher levels of play faster. And, finally, they will also be less prone to injuries.
The results should follow.
See more about Armbeep in action and how Armbeep could help you.