PlaySight, a visual simulation training system for sports, founded in Israel, is changing the way people train. And their biggest success so far has been in tennis.
Why tennis? The seed for the idea of PlaySight was planted when the founders, CEO Chen Shachar and CTO Evgeni Khazanov, were watching Khazanov’s daughter practice tennis. Shachar realized the training methods being used were woefully outdated. Market research also showed that while tennis ranked second to last (right in front of boxing) in adopting technology-based training, there was nevertheless there was sufficient demand to develop a product for this sports sector; they also believed it to be worth the investment.
Thus, Shachar created a video/analytics system for all levels of tennis. They first established a partnership with the University of Georgia Bulldogs tennis team, and they used customer experience to improve their product. According to Inc., Shachar explained, “We also are always gathering insights from our customers and feeding them back to our product team—it is a constant innovation loop that […] drives our product and improvements each and every day.” The desire to create the best possible product, and not short-term high profits, that has prompted them to turn down several unacceptable investors and instead choose Greg Norman and Verizon Ventures.
While primarily specializing in tennis, PlaySight also provides training systems for over 20 sports, including basketball, ice hockey, and soccer. Basketball fans are a growing clientele, especially in high schools. They also provide training programs “for the USTA, Golden State Warriors, UNC Tar Heels, and over 50 other NCAA programs.” And, according to Shachar, they are already expanding their reach beyond Israel and the United States: “Internationally, we have industry leaders in sport across Australia, the UK, Western Europe, Asia and of course Israel.”
PlaySight is positioned to play a major role in visual simulation training systems for sports. With their foundation in tennis and their early penetration into other sports, PlaySight is poised to dominate the court.