Recap: TBD Tennis Innovation Week
TBD Tennis Innovation Week October 27-30, 2021
Fernando Segal, president of the Segal Institute and organizer of the inaugural TBD Tennis Innovation Conference, is passionate about tennis and life-long learning. The Segal Institute is committed to advancing the sport worldwide through enhanced coaching by nurturing innovations and utilizing technology to promote a vigorous environment for growth. This conference explored human development, educational platforms, coaching, marketing, and revenue generation.
The SI has once again partnered with TennisONE in organizing this four-day, groundbreaking conference of eighty-five plus presentations. Once registered for a reasonable fee on the TennisONE app, participants will continue to have access to the videos for the next thirty days.
Tennis must innovate to grow. To create the future, we must revisit the past. In 1873, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield invented the rules of the game and pioneered lawn tennis. In 1877, the Championships Wimbledon were contested for the first time. His vision and commitment motivated the SI to organize TBD-Tech, Business & Development.
Henk Abbink: Using new technologies in the prevention and recovery from tennis injuries.
Abbink, President & CEO of Green Chi, employs innovative, non-invasive, regenerative technologies that in tennis, could heal injuries faster or perhaps prevent them. The goal is to live longer and healthier. For Abbink, it is possible to slow-down biological aging. The key is klotho – the most potent anti-aging agent ever discovered. In development at BioLeonhardt Whole Body is a bioelectric body suit–BODSTIM-that would deliver bioelectric signals to enable the body to regenerate and repair itself. For more information, please visit www. leonhardtventures.com
Bill Burgos: What tennis can learn from the NBA. Burgos is the head strength and conditioning coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Burgos promotes a collaborative approach focused on sports science and injury prevention. Having fun drives the culture as does disciplined training. Incorporating technology into athlete education is an ongoing endeavor. Fan engagement and creating an experience are paramount and tennis clearly can benefit from this approach. With trust, players become more receptive to information. Small disciplines lead to big results and tech provides data for developmental protocols. Basketball compliments tennis; Martina Navratilova trained with Nancy Lieberman to improve her cardiovascular fitness and agility for a competitive advantage.
Randy Master: How we learn from tennis leaders and legends creating content for tennis future. Master is the chief business development officer at Bleachr LLC/TennisONE. Tennis Innovation Week applauds the innovators who are repositioning tennis with cutting-edge technologies while celebrating past pioneers that advanced the sport. Tennis was slow to embrace tech no doubt due to its fragmented state. Bleachr is committed to growing the sport by engaging the marketplace in revolutionary ways. The app has been enthusiastically embraced by fans and industry leaders. During covid, Master began hosting shows-Changeover Chats. To date, he has filmed seventy-nine with legends of the game who witnessed history and its myriad innovations. For more information, please visit the TennisONE app.
Dimple Takkhar: Is the future of tennis superhuman. Takkhar, a tech expert and founder of TrillionVue Advisors, wondered if it was possible to focus better, think clearer, and learn quicker. The mission is to find solutions to ultra-complex problems. Tech often provides these solutions, and they employ AI, VR, and data analysis towards this end. Elite players and coaches should pay greater attention to tech; if you are not looking forward, you are lagging behind. Haptic technology uses tactile sensations to learn. Nootropics are cognitive enhancers to improve mental performance while wearables are fitness trackers that utilize skin-to-brain technology. In tennis, this might encompass a specialized racquet handle or glove enabling players to learn a complex sport in less time. For more information, please contact email@example.com
Sarah Stone: Coaching women’s tennis. Stone, WTCA (Women’s Tennis Coaching Assoc.) CEO asserts that tennis must innovate to grow. Her primary objective is to attract and retain female students. Women were prodded to play like men, but they cannot. Coaching must be geared towards women; keep them in the sport and returning to your club. Communication is key in retaining female students. Open communication leads to trust. Hire female staff and use female professional players as role models to emulate. Network with other coaches and share best practices, innovations and create an inclusive environment. For more information, please visit www. sarahstonetennis.com
Emma Doyle: Creating a culture of curiosity/the future for tennis coaches. Doyle is a Tennis Australia high-performance coach. It is vital to create and maintain a culture of curiosity. The mantra-I am learning-is the pathway to curiosity. Must incorporate curiosity into coaching for it is a superpower. Human beings are innately curious. Coaches should be curious, life-long learners. Our curiosity and ingenuity will enable us to persevere alongside machines. Coaches must nurture curiosity within their players. Create safety in vulnerability and trust yourself and your team. The opposite of curiosity is comfort, stagnation. Ask curious questions for they are the answers! For more information, please visit www. emmadoyle. com.au
Beti Sekulovski: Female player development. Sekulovski is a high-performance coach and founder of Down the Line TV. Young people are visual learners. Provide them with a visual development plan which will bestow confidence. Communication is key and ongoing. How one delivers criticism is crucial. Some players are more receptive than others so coaches must tailor their delivery. Data analytics must be age-specific; twelve-year-olds do not require advanced statistical data. Data should be available to all coaches, not just those training elite players. Passionate coaches are needed at all levels; provide opportunities for them to further their development. Mentor, educate, and share best practices. For more information, please visit Down the Line TV on YouTube.
Carlos Salum: Ultimate tennis coach, teacher, brand ambassador, and innovative leader. Salum, a coach for thirty-five years, is also a manager, innovator, and mentor of start-ups. Dennis Van de Meer and Jim Loehr were highly influential coaches that brought tremendous innovations to tennis. For Salum, “a peak performer is a flexible, versatile, creative and resilient thinker.” Imagine, improve, inspire, and ignite for success creates a living legacy. In his estimation, Andy Murray possesses these qualities. What is, can be, will be, shall be. He advocates a growth mindset that embraces challenges and designs solutions. The tennis ambassador and leader creates an exceptional environment for growth. Participate in life-long learning, be consistent, and lead with action for the benefit of tennis. For more information, please visit www. saluminternational.com
Jolyn de Boer: Top 10 insights/solutions to embrace for a better tennis world. de Boer is the founder of Racquet Sports Alliance with twenty-five plus years in the industry. The silver lining was covid; tennis boomed during the pandemic because people could socially distance themselves. During this time, three million people of all ages started to play. How do we retain them? Tennis is no longer about the perfect backhand; it is about being convenient, fun, social. Research has demonstrated that tennis extends one’s life by ten years and can be played well into one’s nineties. There are not enough young coaches and those currently working need to pivot and adopt new tech to retain players. de Boer proclaims the metaverse is coming; a single, persistent virtual environment shared by all. Virtual sports are developing at a fast clip and have ushered in a new era in the world of electronic games and sports. Like-minded, future thinkers, problem solvers. For more information, please visit www. racquetsportsalliance.com
Jiske Griffioen: Now is the time! Griffioen, from the Netherlands, is a four-time wheelchair tennis grand slam champion and two-time gold medalist. She has been playing for twenty-five years and in singles and doubles, achieved a career-high ranking of #1. While she and others benefited immensely from innovations in wheelchairs and techniques like the inverted backhand, she is keenly aware that the sport must continue to innovate to evolve. Wheelchair tennis utilizes the same court, net, racquet, and balls. The primary difference is the ball can bounce twice, and the second bounce can be outside the court. More research, especially in nutrition, is necessary since wheelchair tennis players do not burn as many calories as able-bodied players. Sponsors are needed to help offset the cost of manufacturing tennis-specific wheelchairs for such a small segment of the population. Follow her on Twitter @jiskegriffioen
Tim Russell/Dave Mullins: ITA–Becoming an independent global leader in the sports world. Russell, the CEO and managing director of the ITA, works with Mullins, the COO, to advance tennis at the college level. The ITA – inter-collegiate tennis association – is a coaching association as well as a governing body. They establish the rules and rankings, stage regional and national championships, and educate/certify coaches. ITA innovated by introducing no-ad scoring. They utilize tech and social media to connect with players, coaches, and fans. Their mission is, “serve the sport, advance the sport & return the leaders of tomorrow.” Tennis for America is a 3-year pilot program in which players collaborate with under-resourced communities across the country for one year. For them, the only constant is change. For my information, please visit www. wearecollegetennis.com
Page Love: Latest in sports nutrition for tennis performance from sports dietician with the pro tour. Love is a sports dietician and consultant for the ATP and WTA and has served on the USTA’s sport’s science committee for twenty-five years. She provides the latest in sports nutrition to the game’s elite for peak performance. She has navigated all the fads and trends like plant-based diets, gluten-free diets, dairy avoidance, and hydration. While most players are eating and drinking for optimal health and performance, some are deficient in key nutrients and electrolytes. Her primary role is to assist in recovery and rebuilding muscle. Adequate protein is essential for preventing injury, recovering from injury, and alleviating muscle weakness and fatigue. Love has created a sport-specific nutrition kit for coaches available on her website www. nutrifitga.com
Kristin Geer: Uniting tennis through technology. Geer, CEO of TennisONE, is filled with inspiration and passion as Bleachr moves the sport forward by uniting the tennis community through the TennisONE app. While attendance at tournaments and tv viewership continue to decline, the TennisONE app, through tech, captures and retains new fans. The fan experience is paramount, and the app facilitates acquisition, engagement, monetization, and retention. By listening to fans, they pivoted from tournament-specific apps to one app –TennisONE. The app provides scores, stats, interactive draws as well as news, ticketing, food pick-up, and in-seat food delivery. The app integrates tournaments, so fans just need one app for all things tennis, 24/7, 365. The app, built by fans for fans, won best digital technology for 2021 from Sports Technology Awards and won the 2020 Innovation Award from the Tennis Industry Association. For more information, visit www.tennisone to download the app.
Ann Grossman: Using the magic of tennis. Grossman is the president of the WTCA. She played her maiden US Open at sixteen and achieved a career-high ranking of #29. Coming from humble beginnings in Columbus, Ohio, Grossman was determined to share her love of the game and impact future generations. Along with Sarah Stone, they set out to put racquets in kids’ hands. She established Kids in Steam – a camp for low-income children that exposes them not only to tennis, but science, tech, engineering, art, and math - STEAM. She partnered with Keiser University to bring tennis and education to under-served kids. She never forgot the doors that were opened for her, so she strove to open more and expose as many children as possible to the transformative, magical, and healthy game of tennis. For more information, please visit www. kidsinsteam.com
Craig Tiley: Pure Innovation in tennis. Tiley is the CEO of Tennis Australia and the tournament director of the Australian Open. Human development, organization, and technology are primed for innovation. For Tiley, innovation is constant change; a continuous journey of improvement for you never arrive at your destination. You cannot wait for change you must create it. This is a challenge because most people are resistant to change. He surrounds himself with thinkers who challenge themselves daily. The biggest innovation he implemented is fan engagement; how they engage fans on-site and off. Fan experience is paramount. Tennis Australia houses an innovation department positioned to always challenge the status quo. Tennis Australia will keep evolving by innovating five pillars of strategic planning: music, food, kids & family, tennis, and tech/innovation. For more information, visit Twitter @CraigTiley
Collin Powers: Virtual reality for tennis skills acquisition. Powers is the CEO of Ellyra – real-time coaching from anywhere in the world. Most people use VR for video games, but it also can be used to improve skills. Little information exists on the use of VR in sports. In tennis, there is no research on how effective it might be learning the sport. VR sports technology has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people playing tennis from home. VR has been successfully employed in surgical procedures as well as in driver education. It has also been effectively utilized to ameliorate PTSD. Tennis is taught locally and while it has evolved over the last twenty years, methods of teaching have not. A focus group of coaches and players thought VR was the future of coaching because it provides accurate data. VR is inherently flexible since it can be played indoors anytime, anywhere and as a result, people spent more time using it. Results showed a 30% improvement in skill sets in addition to increased motivation and improved reflexes. For my information, please visit www. ellyra.com
Fernando Segal: Legacy-why we do what we do. Innovation must be integrated into tennis systematically, creating a continuous organizational process. The future of tennis is ours to create but for inspiration, we must look to the past and its pioneers. Billie Jean King, Rene Lacoste, Bill Tilden, Harry Hopman, Dennis van der Meer, James Van Alen, and Vic Braden are just a few of the legends that continue to inspire Segal. Passion and commitment lead to action. Industry stakeholders have the capacity to significantly change the sport. TBD Tennis Innovation Week is the first of its kind; a conference designed to discuss innovation in all its iterations. Innovation plus culture creates a culture of innovation. For Segal, “we can always do our sport better, innovation in actions is our legacy.” For more information, please visit www. fernandosegal.com and www. segalinstitute.org