Iowa State tennis uses new PlaySight technology


Andrew Smith/Iowa State Daily

Playsight is a new technology for the Iowa State tennis team. It tracks each athlete’s practice and gives stats to head coach Armando Espinosa’s phone. 

Andrew Smith

The Iowa State tennis team has welcomed plenty of new starts this year.

The Cyclones went through the most successful start in school history. They also just unveiled the Bruce Mckee Indoor Tennis Complex, a multi-million dollar facility specifically for Iowa State tennis.

In that facility, Iowa State was outfitted with a program called PlaySight, which revolutionizes how Iowa State practices and improves on a day-in and day-out basis.

“On court, the system provides instant visual and analytic feedback for quick improvements,” Jeff Angus, marketing manager at PlaySight, said. “This is key for college athletes who have very busy schedules and limited practice time.”

Simply put, PlaySight is a camera-based technology that tracks players individually to show progress and improvement on a moment’s notice.

“Before, we would tape practice, and we would have to go back to the tape and show them. With this (PlaySight), it’s actually right there,” coach Armando Espinosa said. “After you see something wrong you can stop it right there, there are five cameras, so five different angles are produced and the computer does so many different things that we can’t do.”

The players have even taken notice of the new technology. They are more excited than ever to get more practice time in.

“It breaks down literally every point of your match,” sophomore Erin Freeman said. “The fact that we can have a practice then go back and look on specific things we need to improve on and just to be able to see what you need to improve on is awesome.”

PlaySight has been rapidly expanding in collegiate tennis, with more than 40 NCAA programs currently using the software.

“At the end of the day, we are just offering athletes and coaches a tool to get better. It is up to them to put the work in,” Angus said. “We do believe that we are revolutionary in terms of bringing elite sports technology to the masses though.”

With this level of technology, Iowa State tennis has some lofty expectations in the offseason in regard to improving.

“With the technology, I think we expect to see a little bit more improvement over the summer,” Espinosa said. “As of right now, we’re trying to maintain.”

Not only does the program improve players, but it also saves time and energy and gives the coaching staff an efficient way to use players’ time.

“There were random players who would sit and chart matches,” assistant coach Olga Elkin said. “This gives us a really good way to utilize our time better. Rather than sitting and charting, we can really look at the bigger picture. We also don’t have statistics as to where the ball lands, speed and height so it’s a huge tool for the players.” 

Even off the court it can help programs succeed by giving them an edge when it comes to recruiting.

“We have had coaches tell us that PlaySight has helped them win more and attract recruits,” Angus said. “We have had players tell us that PlaySight has helped them improve faster. For us, this is the ultimate goal.”

With all the advancements the Iowa State tennis team should be getting better and better. With the best school start in history the Cyclones look to use the new facility and PlaySight to their advantage.

The bar has been set for the future of Iowa State tennis. The university has bought in and has given it the tools necessary to reach that goal and become an elite program. 

“College tennis is an incredible product full of great stories, players and rivalries,” Angus said. “We are excited to help be a part of taking that product and generating the attention and awareness it deserves.”