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A picture paints a thousand words

Technology is advancing at such a rate, a little under ten years ago and the use of video in sport was reserved for the elite (and often rich).  Now it is easily accessible with people monitoring their own activity and performance levels on a daily basis and through You Tube a whole generation of experts have been able to get their coaching methods and views out there. I have heard of young footballers self-learning ‘tricks’ with the ball from You Tube as well as athletes learning throws and individuals developing their triathlon transitions through free access videos.  My own son’s, aged 10 and 12, use the internet to solve everyday problems and there are a whole new set of You Tubers who have become experts in their field.  

So how can we use video more effectively in our coaching practice?  A picture paints a thousand words; using a video to show an athlete what they are actually doing; using video to demonstrate a ‘cope’ or ‘expert’ model of performance enables the athlete to see what a skill, technique or tactical decision and set up looks like before starting.  Engaging in a hard first approach to coaching (showing what it looks like as a whole from a tactical and strategic perspective), is usually followed by ‘ah, that’s what you mean’.  That’s just the start of using video, it has the potential to encourage discussion, enhance athlete’s performance evaluation, reflections and move towards autonomous decision making and skill development.  Athletes can share their videos with each other and even use them on a delayed feedback loop for continuous access (when they want) in sports such as gymnastics, trampolining, cricket nets, court sport rallies and the athletic throws.

Video is a resource in the coaches’ toolbox and as such it needs to be planned for when and how it can be used in your coaching practice.  It’s handy to have access on your smart phone at any time, however just like any other aspect of the session it needs to be considered in your planning.  Why am I using the video?  What will the athletes gain from this?  How will I introduce this to the session?  What questions do I need to consider?  Are they using this with me?  Working with others?  Bringing their own phones?  And of course you need to consider the safeguarding implications of athlete’s videoing each other on their phones, re: consent and what you do with the video afterwards.  As a coach what is be benefit of using the video?  Will it help me achieve the session focus and objectives?  Will it detract from other aspects of the session?  Could in help enhance the athlete’s interpersonal skills, communication, help them make decisions and give each other feedback?

So how do you get started?  Hudl are a technology company who provide solutions for sports in this area.  They have developed a superb (and free app) for coaches to use in their sessions called 'Hudl Technique'.  Technique is one of a suite of technological resources they have to support coaches to be better.  It has great features including the options to record video, play back in slow motion, annotate over the video and share with your athlete and coaches.  It enables you and your athletes to review their performance, compare videos (athlete with a previous performance, overlay left and right side technique, compare against expert and cope models of technical development).  You can store your videos and filter by sport (if you coach multiple sports), even email them to athletes directly to review.

If you want to take a look? Click the picture below and see what it has to offer, download and introduce it to your coaching.

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Chris Chapman, Talent & Performance Development Lead Officer, Sports Coach UK

Follow: @Chrischappie