By the Numbers

About a year ago, I got an iPod Touch which, for someone without a Smart Phone, is kind of the next best thing.  And then I discovered the world of Apps, specifically tennis apps.

My favorite is one I happened to download for free called TennisStats.  It allows me to track my son’s matches in terms of first and second serve percentages, winners and errors, percentage of net points won, and aggressive margin.  And, it tracks the stats for both players so you develop a player history and profile of opponents.  Mostly, though, it gives me something useful to focus on while my son is on court.

This past weekend my son played in his first tourney in 8 weeks.  Before the tourney, his coach emailed me and asked me to report back on my son’s performance.  There were three things, in particular, that he wanted to know:

1. How well is he competing?
2. 1st serve percentage?
3. Any obvious or significant visible weaknesses?

The first and third item are subjective.  They required me to pay close attention during each match and watch my son’s body language, movement, and facial expressions.  The second item, though, is entirely objective, and my little stats app came in quite handy.

After each match, my son asked to see his stats so he could see where he performed well and what needed work in his next match.  I emailed the stats to his coach who was able to text my son with any necessary tips or advice.

The stats programs are pretty simple to use once you get the hang of them.  For me, it’s helpful to be able to focus on the objective elements of my son’s matches so I don’t get caught up in the subjective ones.  If you have a favorite stats app that you use, please share in the Comments box below.  If you haven’t tried keeping stats yet, I highly recommend it – it’s healthier than Xanax!

And, p.s., my son won the tourney!

One Comment on “By the Numbers”

  1. after publishing this piece, i asked my son’s coach what he learns from the match stats and how the stats help him as a coach. his answer:

    I first look at the total match stats. Looking at his 1st serve percentage to be 65% or above. Also look to see how aggressive he played (winners vs unforced errors). Your app breaks down unforced errors by forehand or backhand which helps me determine his weaker side for the match. I also look at how many times he attempted to come to the net and how successful he was.

    More interesting for me is the comparison of all the above stats when breaking it down by set. Questions I hope to get answered by following up with him are:

    1. Did he have a good start to the match?
    2. Did he close out the match comfortably?
    3. If significant discrepancies in stats from one set to another, what happened?
    4. I would also ask questions about nerves/anxiousness etc. based on the stats?

    One stat that some other apps have include the percentage of return made off of 1st and 2nd serve and even placement of serves and returns. You may want to look into an app called Pro Tracker.

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