You may not know it yet, but the future of coaching is already here.
At every level of the game, the best coaches have already figured out that using data, analytics, and video analysis is the way of the future.
Below, we’re going to show you the proof.
Then, we’ll show you a few ways you can start using data and analytics to become a smarter, more effective tennis coach.
Data-Driven Coaching at the Pro Level
Let’s start with the best players in the world.
How the Men’s World #1 Prepares for Every Match
On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic has set a new standard over the last several years, winning 4 of the last 6 majors.
He’s created such a wide margin amongst his opponents that he was actually favored over the field before this year’s US Open.
How is he using data?
He works with strategy coach, and Tennis Analytics partner, Craig O’Shannessy from Brain Game Tennis. Craig analyzes matches using our platform which helps him reveal numbers and patterns against every single opponent for the world #1.
This is an ideal collaboration, as Tennis Analytics is the world leader in tagging match data and extracting metrics that zero in on why players win and lose. Brain Game Tennis specializes in the analysis of that data, teaching the world’s best patterns of play to competitors at every level of our game.Craig O’Shannessy – Brain Game Tennis
Rising ATP Stars
Two of the fastest rising stars on the ATP tour are Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and USA’s Reilly Opelka.
Both of their coaches, Fred Fontang for Felix, and Jay Berger for Reilly work with Tennis Analytics platform to help these future stars of our sport continue to develop.
With Felix Auger Aliassime, we are using data and analytics to prepare tactically matches and also post-match feedback. It helps our coaching to be more precise, to talk less and watch more!Coach Fred Fontang
The Best Women’s Player This Year… Uses Data
On the women’s side, Bianca Andreescu has risen to #5 in the world, after ending 2018 at #152. She has been arguably the best player this year when healthy with two Premier titles at Indian Wells, and in her home country of Canada.
Of course, most recently, she won the US Open beating Serena Williams in the final.
Her coach, Sylvain Bruneau, is a big fan of analytics. He uses match statistics and video analysis to prepare Bianca for every match. So far in 2019, it seems to be paying off big for the 19-year-old.
Do College Teams Use Analytics?
At the college level, you might think that it’s more about recruiting. The evidence doesn’t back this up.
Last year, Texas won the NCAA D1 Men’s Championship. According to TennisRecruiting.net, Texas has managed only one top 10 recruiting class since 2014.
How did they win?
Head coach Bruce Berque uses match reports and video analysis to find specific strengths and weaknesses of his players. He then creates custom drills specific to each player so they can get the most out of their practice time.
Listen to our exclusive interview with the Texas head coach here.
2019 runner-up and 2018 D1 Champion, Wake Forest is also using Tennis Analytics platform for their players. Their recruiting since 2014 consists of only one top 20 class.
It’s clear that developing players using numbers is affecting the landscape in college tennis.
Do Junior Coaches Use Data?
This stuff hasn’t reached the juniors yet though, right? Wrong!
Many of the top junior coaches in the world are using data to drive the way they have their players practice.
Master Tennis Professional, George Zink has coached 7 junior players to national championships and is a frequent user of our match reports and video platform.
Remember Fred Fontang? He’s been coaching Felix Auger-Aliassime since he was 17 years old. He also coached Jeremy Chardy from the age of 12 until he became #31 on the ATP Tour.
How You Can Improve Your Tennis Coaching
At this point it’s clear, data-driven coaching is moving tennis forward. We believe in the next 5 to 10 years, coaching with numbers will be commonplace. The coaches and players who embrace this are getting a head start. The coaches who are stuck using the old methods of feel and theory are going to be left behind.
The best way to start is by changing your mindset when you’re watching or playing tennis. Start by studying the data, then looking for patterns and opportunities for your players.
You don’t have to get every single stat on every single match to start understanding the numbers behind tennis.
Here are a Few Ways to Get Started
Craig O’Shannessy writes for the ATP tour, analyzing the numbers he sees on the pro level. Read these columns and you’ll start working your tennis data muscle.
Craig has found that there are patterns common across all levels of tennis that you should know if you’re going to start coaching more effectively. For example, around 70% of all points are 4 shots or less.
You can also get started by filming just a few of your players’ matches and having our team analyze them for you. Our 5 Match Player Package can give you a baseline to start with, and uncover opportunities that you should be working on in practice.
Here’s an example. After getting back the stats for your player, you might see something like this.
What can we take away from these numbers?
In the ad court, your player is serving mostly out wide on their first serve. But they have a higher win percentage serving down the middle.
So, having them make this adjustment, will help them win more points against this opponent. It’s also clear that they need to practice their first serve in the ad court.
There is simply no way to see this without measuring, and the more matches you have, the more useful this data will become.
Many coaches don’t like to change, and I get it.
But again, you don’t have to dive into every single data point to get started. Start small with the basic, high-level numbers. Look at rally length or serve and return placement. Then you can start looking at serve +1 stats or ending shot data.
Once you realize how effective it can be, you’ll never see the tennis court the same way again.
Start Knowing. Stop Quessing.
Alex Semenik says
Are there any recommended charting apps for Craig’s methods/system? Maybe something he has constructed specifically for his system?
Tennis Analytics says
We’re actually working on this right now 🙂
Soon, players will be able to upload their own match video (like you currently do for Player Packages) and elect to use a new Brain Game – TA product. It will have reports that we are currently building in collaboration with Craig.
We’re hoping to have the new reports ready early next year!
However, we won’t have an app for this. Maybe at some point down the road…