Coaching with GoPro

Posted: October 12, 2015 in Tech in coaching

Coaching with the GoPro

 

Gopro1

As coaches we spend a lot of time trying to put ourselves into the minds of our athletes and helping them to see the range of possibilities. Even with traditional match day video we can illustrate to them the options that were available and talk to them about the actions they chose but normally not until after the event. A potential coaching aid is the GoPro cameras and other similar POV cameras.

The great thing about the GoPro is the huge range of mounts that enable the camera to be used in almost every conceivable situation. From the end of a surfboard to the handlebars of a bike there are mounts available which mean we as coaches can gain meaningful footage, in US sports a lot of coaches have made use of helmet mounts to gain the athletes point of view. This page gives a range of GoPro accessories- even down to a dog harness!

http://www.basenz.com/brands/gopro-hd-camera/accessories.html

 

This means that the GoPro can become a useful tool for an athlete and coach, in a range of different sports, particularly those in which it is difficult for the coach to have input during the event. The GoPro can be viewed wirelessly on your tablet or phone so the coach can get a real time view of what the player is seeing. Have a look at this outstanding footage of a downhill mountain bike race.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY2AmohdZqA

While in the first instance it is great just to be able to view the talent and skill that goes into this sort of activity this would also be a great resource for a skilled coach – did your athlete take the correct line down the course?, where could he gain speed? Should he be approaching jumps faster and more aggressively?

The potential value of this footage is reinforced by more GoPro movies from the USA Skiing team. They can be seen on this YouTube clip using footage from chest harness, a follow cam and views from the side. They are reviewing this footage using an iPad which makes the footage even more relevant as it can facilitate a discussion between the coach and the player. There is even a portion of the footage where the coach is giving the skier real time feedback via radio as he reviews the footage wirelessly from her GoPro, from a coaches point of view he is able to have a real time conversation with his athlete, rather than wait until the bottom of the slope.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=133_gp8KhQU

These two examples from Skiing and Mountain Biking are just some of the many different possibilities. The limitation really for every coach is their own imagination and of course the rules of your particular activity. Certainly activities such as rowing and cycling could make great use of real time feedback in this way, imagine as a coach being able to see what your First Five can see or footage from a hockey or football goalmouth.

Further innovations using Point of view cameras are the recent ref cam experiments in Rugby, imagine as a coach being able to get this footage in game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=14&v=4lxXU-5rbPo

An American programme has put together a montage of their You Tube footage for the season, including coaching drills and speeches from their coaches. It is great to be able to see the player’s point of view and spot the coachable moments from their GoPro footage. The shot used at the beginning of this article was of some catching drills , the photo below is a moment in the video where the coach urges the player to “run the alley” .

gopro2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjHj93dSbXU

As well as using the Gopro as an all important coaching tool and a really innovative way to link with your athletes I believe that there are potentially real benefits to be taken here for coach education. From asking the American coach in the previous footage why he found it necessary to grab his players facegrill to reviewing your own sessions with your athletes alongside, with a mentor or even exposing yourself to the merciless YouTube comments section if you are especially brave.

Even more exciting and from the realms of science fiction is the AirDog https://www.airdog.com. A drone which follows any person wearing a specific wristband from a predetermined height and angle and to which a GoPro can be mounted. Imagine using this to review a coaching session or even the particular work rate of an athlete.

I would love to have contact from any coaches who have used the GoPro successfully in their own coaching and welcome any input either via email or twitter on the addresses below.

Jim Dickin

@tech4coaching

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