Welcome to the perfect place to discuss anything and everything related to HIGH-TECH TENNIS.

Comments regarding our ongoing anonymous research project will be included,
as well as anything else we think is interesting.


Monday, February 20, 2012


It you've been following the battle between Wayne Bryan (representing players, parents, and coaches) vs. Patrick McEnroe (representing USTA PD) concerning a variety of issues related to junior tennis, you know things are really heating up. But from what I can see, it's not even close...In fact, it's WB-4, PM-0.

Over this past weekend, we traveled to Daniel Island, SC for a junior tournament. The weather forecast was 100% accurate (for once) and Sunday's 100% chance of rain did just what it was supposed to do (which was completely wash out the day and the tournament, unfortunately for all) but Saturday was beautiful and we saw lots of smiles and lots of good tennis. Danny and I were extraordinarily busy (our customers requested matches at the the main site AND at the three alternate sites), but I had the opportunity to speak briefly with 4 parents of junior players in the Southern Section. These parents know we not only care about their videos but we care about their juniors... So, here's a report FROM THE TRENCHES:

1. We've known this mother of two juniors (older daughter, younger son) from Hilton Head for at least five years. We'd barely finished greeting each other before she said she just COULD NOT UNDERSTAND THE USTA!!! She told me she was thrilled with Wayne Bryan's letter and that she herself has written a long letter to the USTA because she is so upset about the reductions in draw sizes and other changes to tournament schedules. Thankfully, her daughter is on her way to college but her son still has a few years to go...

2. We've known this father of two juniors (both girls) from Hilton Head for at least five years. He was having a friendly chat with another set of parents from Columbia (we've known their 15 year old since she was just 10) and when I greeted them and asked what they thought about the battle, I learned that they had no idea it was even happening. As I briefly explained it to them, the father from Hilton Head shared that he LOVES Wayne Bryan!!! He also told me he'd spent time recently in south Florida and that a high-level coach at the USTA told him there was NO WAY they were going to develop any top players anytime soon.

3. Next, I chatted with a mother of three (14 year old girl, 10 year old boy, and 18 month baby) from Cary. She was VERY frustrated by the changes that she felt they were forcing her son to play quickstart even though he practiced with his older sister using regular tennis balls on regular sized courts. She was VERY interested to know about the Wayne Bryan letter (she said she was so thankful that someone was speaking out) and she planned to google it as soon as she could. Along with her extreme frustration at not having any choice when it came to her 10 year old son, she expressed the opinion that tennis was almost too expensive for them, even though she and her husband both work.

4. Last, I chatted with a mother of four (three girls and one 8 year old boy) from Alabama. A busy mother of 4, she told me she'd barely had time to follow the situation, but admitted she was a little confused because though she saw the benefit of quickstart for her son, she was very glad that 2 of her 3 daughters didn't have to play quickstart because she felt it would have been bad for them. She said it was her strong opinion that all kids are different and what works for some does not work for others...in fact, it's a waste of time for others.

So that's all I had time to gather from the trenches at a junior tournament on Saturday. I have said before and I will say again that I could kiss Wayne Bryan ON THE LIPS to thank him for using his big voice to speak out on behalf of junior tennis players. I certainly don't claim to have any answers to the many, many issues surrounding junior tennis...but we attend 30+ junior tennis tournaments each year and I can assure you that we hear this stuff constantly from 99% of the people we know. Obviously, there is a significant problem somewhere and I should hope someone is paying attention. I hope that, yes, but I don't really expect anything to change anytime soon.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What's Up? LOTS!

As you probably already know, Danny is the camera and the tennis BRAIN behind HIGH-TECH TENNIS. Sure, I'll hang a camera IF I HAVE TO--but I'd much rather not--and OH I DO ADORE ROGER, who's having a tough weekend at the office, for sure...but otherwise, I think tennis is just o.k. (certainly waaaay better than baseball....zzzzzzz).

We each have our strengths---
and CAMERAS and TENNIS are not mine.

I'll admit it...I'm still a little confused about all the buttons on the cameras and I've made so many mistakes that I still get a little freaked out when I have to deal with them.
No, the cameras are definitely NOT my thing.

And when it comes to tennis, I've always liked it but I've never played it and don't intend to start now, lol. I'm NOT coordinated, I'm not athletic, and I don't normally even notice (or give two hoots about) which players are left- or right-handed, have one- or two-handed backhands,
use Babolat or Prince or whatever, etc., etc., etc.
No, the tennis part is definitely NOT my thing either.

But in case you're thinking I just sit around all the time and watch Danny work, I am here to tell you (like I always tell him):
There is much more to HIGH-TECH TENNIS
than just pressing the RECORD button!!!

FOR INSTANCE, keeping up with reduction in draw sizes and other schedule changes that just magically APPEAR with no notice whatsoever has become practically a full-time job. If you think that's frustrating to you, just imagine what it would be like if you depended on this income to pay your mortgage!!! But nobody ever said it would be easy - and nobody was right.

Of course, we've worked way too hard to just let our business self-destruct...So we're making some changes, which is not easy and is not fun...but it's necessary. BIG THANKS to those who are sticking with us and following our ongoing dramas...

HIGH-TECH SPORTS VIDEO: We are definitely branching out... We're not just for tennis anymore because ALL athletes in ALL sports deserve the chance to use video to their advantage. Meantime, we didn't work our brains out for 6+ years to just walk away from all that we've got going...so it's gonna take some time but we're definitely expanding.

HIGH-TECH TENNIS CLUB: We are definitely launching this... I've been excited about this and planning for it since early November. The BIGGEST reason you should care about being a club member is because it is exclusive and it gives you lots of fun benefits---including DISCOUNTED VIDEOS. They told me it would be ready to go DEC 1st but then the holidays came so I thought maybe JAN 1st but again I was wrong. Then FEB 1st...sigh. If you've ever had someone host or help you with your website, you understand. :(
It's coming---just don't know when.

HIGH-TECH TENNIS TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: We are absolutely doing this... In fact, our inaugural event is scheduled for April 14-15 at Top Gun Academy in Louisville, KY. Take a look at our website for complete details but we're really excited about this! We've developed this concept to offer junior tennis players the ultimate experience to improve their game, compete on a high level, and have FUN with their peers in a safe environment. Players play and coaches coach-HOW COOL IS THAT? Best of all, this is based on YEARS of feedback from players, parents, and coaches...

HIGH-TECH TENNIS CALENDAR FOR 2012: It's kind of unreal to sit back in the comfort of paradise and put our calendar together. I mean, just IMAGINE scheduling 30+ tournaments on YOUR calendar!!! :) And don't forget that 25+ of them are played within about 9 months out of the year!!! It's kind of fun, though because every year, we keep the GOOD tournaments, drop some of the DUDS, and add some NEW ones. Keep in mind that the events listed are just targeted - they're not confirmed at this point because anything and everything can change. Still, it's pretty overwhelming. Oh, and don't you dare forget that it'll be 100 degrees for much of the summer!!!

HIGH-TECH TENNIS "KISS MY @&% CARDS": We are soooo sick of those who would accuse us of doing something illegal or immoral. We have never attended a tournament without first obtaining approval from the tournament director, we have researched this topic to death, and we will now post or distribute these cards as needed:

are subject to being videotaped.
We provide a valuable service to
help tennis players play better tennis
by recording videos for
Our services are very popular
with the overwhelming majority of
players, parents, and coaches.
Due to privacy issues, we do not
identify the players in our videos
and it is perfectly legal to
videotape or photograph
anyone or anything
while on public property.
Have a nice day!
Danny and Julie Thiets

GREAT THANKS to you for your amazing support. We clearly couldn't live this dreamy life without you...and we hope you know that we truly do appreciate the privilege of playing a small part in the development of your junior tennis player. We think of you as our friends, not just customers, and we hope you know how much your support means to us.

Tennis is a GAME, not brain surgery, and junior players are CHILDREN, not mini-professionals.
Junior tennis is a JOURNEY, not a DESTINATION...


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Are All Tournaments Terrific? um, well, not really

Have you ever wondered how we select which tournaments to go to? Props to the late Andy Rooney-RIP...

I remember 6+ years ago when I discovered the Tennis Link website for the first time. WOWOW! There were tournaments EVERYWHERE. Quite literally...here a tournament, there a tournament, everywhere a tournament!!! If we'd wanted to, we could have gone to a tournament in my home state of MN, in Danny's home state of NC, and in pretty much every state in between. But how would we ever decide WHICH ones to go to?

Hmmm. Now that was the million dollar question! It was also the question for which we had absolutely NO answer!!! As in every other aspect of our business, we couldn't exactly google it...we had to LIVE IT to LEARN IT. We went through many trials and made more errors than we'd ever care to admit.

Back then, we knew almost zero about junior tennis...Sections? Levels? Open? Closed? Uh-uh..We really didn't know anyone or anything except this: we saw athletes in almost every other sport reviewing game film and using video technology to improve their performance...and we saw that no one was doing it for tennis...and we knew we were on to something.

A Brief Look Back

We went to our first tournament in January 2006 ONLY so we could get acquainted with the tennis community. We never in a million years expected to be going to even one more tournament (not to mention 25+ a year). Oh, but we thought "Just wait until they see what we can do for them!!!" We really thought coaches would be lining up to take advantage of our technology. What a great idea! We'd buy and learn this expensive, time-consuming stuff so they didn't have to. They could hire us once a week, once a month, or once a year and we'd help them become better coaches because they could concentrate on the coaching and we'd concentrate on the technology. Working with HIGH-TECH TENNIS, these coaches could SHOW their students instead of just TELLING them how to improve! What a great way to demonstrate the value of their instruction!

Except things didn't exactly work out as we'd planned. Not even close. In fact, we were almost out of business before we were even in it. So we had to regroup - and fast. Fortunately, a mother at that very first tournament really wasn't that interested in the fancy-schmancy Dartfish video analysis we were so excited about...but she was VERY interested in having us record her daughter's match. VOILA! We were so busy trying to sell cadillacs and all they wanted was volkswagons!


As I mentioned, we discovered the wonderful world of Tennis Link and we didn't know which tournaments to go to...so we tried to go to them ALL. SERIOUSLY. We went to a tournament almost every single weekend for almost one whole year. Can you imagine?!? We went to tournaments in Belton, SC and St. Augustine, FL and many, many places in between. The only thing we were REALLY successful at in those days was in identifying the tournaments to avoid!!! Oh my...There were many, many times when we didn't even earn enough money to cover our gas.

YIKES...We learned some really hard lessons the really hard way --- but fortunately, we don't have to repeat those lessons because we've learned from our mistakes and today, we have a pretty good understanding of what we're doing and where we're doing it, LOL. We are very proud of our excellent repuation and we work to protect it in every way on every day. We know that one of THE most precious things we have is amazing relationships with amazing people. This is truly INVALUABLE to us. I'm talking about people who understand what we do...AND WHY. We are committed to making video technology available to help EVERY athlete improve his or her performance.

"All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents."
John F. Kennedy

We ask for absolutely nothing but access to an electrical outlet and the opportunity to enhance these tournaments by adding value AND fun for players, parents, and coaches alike....but our customers are often stunned to realize that we sometimes have to PAY A FEE for the opportunity to provide our services to you at tournaments. All tournament directors are different - some want $750 up front, some want 25%, some want something in between - and we always stress that we're responsible for all expenses but we have to control our costs in order to keep our prices as low as possible. As I shared with a tournament director just yesterday, we are comfortable with any of the following arrangements:
  • Many TDs charge us nothing (and some even comp our hotel room) because they recognize we are an amenity that makes a good tournament better.
  • Many TDs ask us to provide complimentary video recording for certain players (either from their academy or for those players who might not have financial resources to take advantage of video).
  • Some TDs ask us to provide a complimentary tournament video they can later use to promote the tournament on their website.
  • Some TDs ask us to contribute 10% to the county.

So...just in case you ever wondered, which I doubt you ever have...Now you know how we choose which tournaments to go to: We avoid TDs who are more interested in what's in it for them than in what's in it for the players.

"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
Arthur Ashe

Sunday, January 8, 2012

YOU TELL ME: Got Ideas for the New Year?

Since this was our 4th consecutive Kentucky in December, it seems a tradition has been born:) and now that we've had time to catch our breath, it's time to digest what just happened. For one thing, the back-to-back tournaments (formerly known as the Winter Southern Closed + New Year's Classic) will forevermore be referred to as
We celebrated a quiet Christmas (the very best kind) and left early the next morning for our 26th TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR...coincidentally the longest trip on our schedule - 7+ hours to Louisville - and we arrived just in time to set up and greet excited players as they checked in. SO FAR, SO GOOD - lots of "Happy Holidays!" - "Was Santa good to you?" - and like that.
The Christmas spirit in full force...You knew that wouldn't last.

And it certainly didn't. The tournament director got an earful DURING CHECK-IN from an angry mother who was very upset about scheduling issues that she felt gave her daughter's opponent an unfair advantage..mind you, she was referring to a potential match-up that MIGHT have occurred three days later (and of course it didn't even happen). What the...oh geeez! Then the tournament kicked off and things went downhill pretty fast...An all-time low was when a furious father yelled at Danny for a full HOUR!!! He was angry because his son was not playing well and he insisted that he needed to protect his privacy rights...blah blah blah. He argued with the tournament director, threatened to call the USTA (go ahead), and told Danny he appreciated our video service (really? this from a former customer, believe it or not) but he insisted we needed permission from BOTH parents before we recorded any match. Since he clearly had no intention of purchasing the video (and he already knew his son's opponent was not going to buy it - he'd approached them too, unbelievably), he DEMANDED that the camera come down...and he finally got his way. We have certainly researched this topic many, many times and we are NOT doing anything wrong...but just try convincing ballistic parents of that. 

I was in tears - Danny wasn't crying of course but you better believe he was very upset. It was about much more than the $55...The man was essentially questioning our integrity and implying we were doing something illegal or immoral. WOULD YOU BE SERIOUS, MAN - nothing could be further from the truth!!! I can't tell you how hurtful and disheartening it was to be repeatedly insulted in that way. Of course this man wasn't the first and unfortunately he won't be the last.


Next, a father approached us to ask if we'd object to him recording his son's match (what were we supposed to say?!? Can you bring your own steak to Ruth Chris steakhouse and sit in their booths and use their silverware while you eat?!?) and we watched as a parade of parents strolled by with video cameras (to hang their cameras beside ours, though they were not permitted to do so) - one father even went so far as to angrily shove me out of his way as he went to hang his camera (which he was not permitted to do)...

I understand it's a free country (hey, I'm all for freedom) but....well, when you factor in 7 straight 16+ hour days for 2 people covering 4 separate sites and recording 250 matches (while selling 50% of them), well, it's easy to see why we're reconsidering what the @#@#% we're doing and why.

So as we begin our SEVENTH YEAR of this crazy business, we're asking for YOUR help.
Just pretend you could tell us what to do.
You can't, of course:) but if you could, what would YOU do???
You would think that we wouldn't have to deal with this CRAP anymore---but you'd be wrong.

Please keep in mind that we get virtually NO support from the coaches, NO support from the tennis association, NO support from academies, NO support from anyone.

I can't imagine giving up (and I'd hate it if the 99% who love what we do lose out to the 1% who make our lives miserable) but in spite of our best efforts, there may just be a reason nobody else is doing this...and unfortunately, TENNIS may just be the only sport on earth that isn't ready for technology.
Oh, yes, of course the best players with the best bank accounts are ready and they're already doing this and more...but the average tennis player?


Monday, August 22, 2011

As HIGH-TECH TENNIS Turns - August 23


HI and thanks for reading!!! Another month has passed - bet you thought we melted - and you'd be ALMOST right. :-) WOWOW! This summer has been the hottest in recorded history...and it has reinforced something I already knew: We simply MUST find a way to work smarter, not harder. I don't know about you (LOL) but we are not getting any younger. And 12+ hour days with triple-digit temps and/or extreme triple-digit heat-index with NO break? They are NO JOKE.

Sorry about that :( but no more whining...Time to get a grip and tell you all about the exciting details of our exciting lives, LOL!!! This month is AWESOME because YAY-we're on BREAK!!! This is not the kind of break where we're just kicking back, eating bon-bons (have never even seen a bon-bon, have you?), but we're on a FIVE-WEEK BREAK from the constant tournament trail and oh, how sweet it is!!!! Still, we know how important it is to recognize the people who help to make our lives to wonderful so we're ready for some SHOUTOUTS! Ready? :)

We kicked off the month with a trip to - where else - NORTH CAROLINA. It seems like we spent practically the entire summer in North Carolina (first Cary, then Winston-Salem, and this time Charlotte) but there are worse places to go, right? :) Besides, there were a few extra-special things about this trip: 1) we were invited to be there (ahem---so much more than I could say about most tournaments in Georgia), 2) we got to see/spend time with Danny's sister in the Charlotte area, and 3) we got to meet lots of nice people at the beautiful Olde Providence Racquet Club. GREAT THANKS to TD Randy Chamberlain and everyone at OPRC for being so nice to us but this tournament fell between two supernational tournaments and we were quite exhausted before the fun even began in Charlotte. Not sure we'll do it again next year, but we'll see how things go...
The more things change at the G12 National Hard Court Championships at the wonderful Windward Lake Club, the more they stay the same---which is to say YAY-THEY ARE ALWAYS AWESOME!!! This was our 4th consecutive year there and each year has been better than the previous...We miss Cannon, and we miss Patrick, but the one and only Greg Grover did a perfectly FINE job as tournament director this year. There is a reason why Windward Lake Club is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL tennis facility with THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS tennis academy in Atlanta. So GREAT THANKS to TD Greg Grover and Club Manager Amy Riley, as well as the whole cast of characters at Windward! We are very proud to be part of all the cool stuff that goes on out there and we LOVE being treated like part of the family. They recognize that we are an AMENITY to make their great tournaments BETTER...It means more than we can say.

While reading the bathroom wall (more accurately, while reading an announcement that was posted on the bathroom wall, LOL), I saw that HIGH-TECH TENNIS was offering video services at the 18 & Under tournament at Windward within hours after the G12 Hard Court tournament finished. WHAT?!?!?!?!? OH NOOOOOOO. But soon after I read it, I took a call from a father who was thrilled at the opportunity to purchase a video for his son---WOW. So after all Windward does for us, how could we possibly say no?!? GREAT THANKS to our great friend and one of our all-time, all-time favorite coaches: TD Torrey Hawkins for supporting HIGH-TECH TENNIS in every way on every day.

Wow - for a short month, this was a long list of thanks...and we're very thankful to one more person who recently brought us a GRRRRRRREAT new opportunity that we think the junior tennis community is gonna LOVE but we can't reveal it just yet. STAY TUNED-it's gonna be good! 

SORRY THIS WAS SO LONG, but as always, the greatest GREAT THANKS goes to YOU, our wonderful customer friends. We couldn't possibly do what we do without your ongoing kindness and we always appreciate your amazing support. We recognize that is a real privilege to be involved in the development of your junior tennis player --- and living this dreamy life ain't so bad either! :) For example, for the 2nd year in a row, I'M GOING TO NYC TO SEE ROGER!!! YAHOOOOOOO for that!!! Oh and after that, our video cameras will be looking for YOU on the tournament trail! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Satisfied Parent! :)

"Our college recruit video looks sooooo good!
Thank you for all your work on this!
We will certainly do our best to spread the word about
Mother of 17 Yr Old Junior from Mableton, GA (and Repeat Customer Since 2006, when we prepared College Recruit Video for her other son - who plays baseball!)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

As HIGH-TECH TENNIS Turns - July 23

HI and thanks for reading!!! WOW---Once again, it's been almost a MONTH since I posted what used to be a weekly update filled with exciting details about our exciting lives, lol!!! Wait--I did share some observations about some awesome directors at some awesome tennis camps...That's because no matter how busy we are (and WOW O WOW-are we busy!!!), we know how important it is to recognize the people who do so much for us. We're shouting out some big names this week...Ready? :)
GREAT THANKS to Dave Power and the entire staff at the wonderful Windward Lake Club. One of the best things about being self-employed is choosing the people with whom we spend our time---and we choose Windward! :) We spent 3 fun days at the US Open Southern Qualifier over the 4th of July weekend! We saw some great tennis and we had a great time...GOOD LUCK to the players who earn wild card entries into the US OPEN!!! Oh, almost forgot-we even caught up with our friend Luke Jensen, one of our earliest supporters! It sems like just yesterday when he enthusiastically said "YES!!! WHAT YOU'RE DOING IS FANTASTIC AND I LOVE IT!!!" GREAT THANKS, Luke--You should listen to him--he knows a thing or two about tennis! :-)

Mobile is always a home run for us..and we were surprised that the Regional Segment the following weekend fell somewhat flat but GREAT THANKS to TD Scott Novak for the warm welcome. I guess we had to save our energy for the following weekend because we hit it OUT OF THE PARK at the National Clay Court Championships in Winston-Salem (what's with all the baseball references? you tell me, lol!) This was our 4th consecutive year and it just keeps getting better...so GREAT THANKS to TD Chris Cagle for recognizing the value of what we do....We sold an unbelievable 102 videos over 6 days at the tournament so we know we're making a difference and we LOVE that...which brings me to another point...

While chatting with parents in NC, I shared our excitement about being invited to a tournament next weekend in Charlotte. People are shocked (I'm talking S-H-O-C-K-E-D) to learn that some tournament directors actually expect us to PAY for the opportunity to enhance their tournament. Oh, if they only knew!!!
Why do you think we spend so VERY LITTLE TIME in Atlanta???
"I thought it was such a big tennis town???" "Well, lots of people play tennis, but ..." Trust me - nobody and I mean NOBODY - wants to spend time at home more than me (we live in paradise, remember?) - but we have VERY GOOD REASONS for avoiding most of the tournaments in Atlanta.
A mother from NJ summed it up perfectly:
"Any tournament that would charge you two for providing services that are so POPULAR would be a tournament I wouldn't want to go to!"
We're slowly but surely making better choices--ENOUGH SAID.

Also, GREAT THANKS to the growing number of college recruits who contact us for help with their recruit videos---LOVE THAT! Oh and don't forget it's been about 400 degrees almost every day for the past month or more!!! UGH.

SORRY THIS IS SO LONG :( But as always, the greatest GREAT THANKS goes to YOU, our wonderful customer friends. We couldn't possibly do what we do without your ongoing kindness and we always appreciate your amazing support. We recognize that is a real privilege to be involved in the development of your junior tennis player --- and living this dreamy life ain't so bad either! :) Our video cameras will be looking for YOU on the tournament trail! :)