Tech Savy Hawkeyes Going Global

April 15, 2016


Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.


IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s and women’s tennis programs have a new toy.

The 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 indoors and outdoors will allow for world-wide 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 schools to have a system that compiles statistics commonly used by professionals.

“The comprehensive teaching analytics and evaluation tools are state of the art,” Hankins said. “This 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.

The 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 very valuable data to assist our teams improve.”

The men’s tennis team used the Smart Court technology for the first time on Friday, 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 some good things and places where 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 some of 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 puts the analytics of tennis at our fingertips.”

The Hawkeye women have been on the road since the final week in March, and Dougherty said the players are excited to finally play in front of a world-wide internet audience for the first time at home this weekend.

“This will be the first time we’ve had live streaming and what better way to debut it than with the No. 8 team in the country in Michigan on Friday,” Dougherty said. “We’ll use it again on Sunday and we expect to play both matches outside this weekend, which will be great because it’s the first time we’ve been outside in the Big Ten.”

The Iowa women host Michigan today at 2:30 p.m. (CT) and Michigan State on Sunday at 12 p.m. The Hawkeye men face Purdue tonight at 6 p.m., and host a doubleheader Sunday against Indiana (12 p.m.) and Chicago State (5 p.m.). The PlaySight live stream can be found at

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