IBM Pilot Tennis Coaching Aid With LTA Centre of Excellence

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Wimbledon, Engl - 22 Jun 1998: ... IBM, Official Supplier of Information Technology to The All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships, is working with the Lawn Tennis Association's (LTA) National Training and Coaching Department testing coaching software to assist the development of British tennis players.

The computer program is based on the statistics software developed by Wimbledon and IBM for The Championships, which produces match and player statistics used by television, the media and players.

Coaches collect a player's match data using a specially designed keypad linked to an IBM ThinkPad laptop computer. Information on each point is analysed by the specially developed computer program. At the end of the match, coaches are able to print out a comprehensive report detailing the players service, returns, tactics, points and strokes.

The coaching software provides a wealth of data that can allow LTA national coaches and their players to understand better a player's match performance, strengths and weaknesses.

The pilot is taking place at Sutton Junior Tennis Centre, an LTA Centre of Excellence where top LTA coaches Mike Walker, Rob Antoun and Jason Goodall are already working with a number of up-and-coming players including Hannah Collin, Abigail Tordoff and Heidi Farr, all of whom made the last 16 at the Wimbledon Girls' Singles event in 1997. These players are all part of the Rover Junior Tennis Initiative.

Mike Walker, LTA South East Area National Rover Coach and responsible for developing the LTA Centre of Excellence at Sutton, commented: "This is a real opportunity for us to improve our players training and performance. It will enable us to set and measure match performance targets related to the effectiveness of a player's service, return and tactical game. Saying a player should attack the net more, or be more aggressive with
their second service, for example, has more value when you can measure and quantify their effectiveness."

IBM has been assisted during the development of this product by Keith Sohl, IBM's Tennis Consultant and Managing Director of Sutton Junior Tennis Centre. "IBM's intent is to show how technology developed for Wimbledon can be adapted as a coaching aid for performance players and coaches." he said. "We hope that our project with the LTA will provide real benefit to their players."

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