May 2016

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T he University of Iowa men's and women's tennis programs have a new toy. e Hawkeyes recently fitted the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex with PlaySight Smart Court technology, a video component with live streaming capabilities that has transformed their home court into a fully interactive practice and competition site. "Live streaming available indoor and outdoor will allow for worldwide access to every NCAA collegiate match, ITA Regional event, camps, clinics and junior championships," said Mark Hankins, the University of Iowa sport administrator for men's and women's tennis. Smart Court technology is relatively new to college campuses. Ohio State and Northwestern were previously the only Big Ten Conference schools to have a system that compiles statistics commonly used by professionals. "e comprehensive teaching analytics and evaluation tools are state-of-the-art," Hankins said. "is provides our coaches, teaching professionals, and student-athletes with the most advance system in tennis." Web streaming has become commonplace in professional, college, and even prep athletics, but three-dimensional technology that follows the ball with the help of six cameras working simultaneously takes a financial commitment. e Hawkeyes' fundraising efforts started with a sizeable donation from Ray Benton, a former UI tennis player and CEO of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland. "I am pleased to help the Hawkeye tennis teams have access to this cutting-edge sports technology," Benton said. "PlaySight will provide valuable data to assist our teams." e men's tennis team used the Smart Court technology for the first time April 8, and the next day they were using the video evidence and analytic data as tools for self-evaluation. "We went back Saturday morning and watched the matches and picked up points and moments in those matches where we did good things and places we need to improve," said UI men's head coach Ross Wilson. "It's definitely a great teaching tool and hopefully it helps our players continue to develop their games." UI women's head coach Katie Dougherty said the technology provides real-time feedback on the practice court and puts the Hawkeyes on par with the country's elite programs in terms of technology and streaming. "It provided tons of information that we can use right away," Dougherty said. "We can do video replay immediately and put the analytics of tennis at our fingertips."

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