The advent of Facebook Live has opened up some new exciting possibilities using technology in sports. On its very simplest level people can now broadcast live off their phone or tablets https://www.facebook.com/livemap/# can give you a view into all sorts of events- at the moment it is possible to view Rio 2016 as well as a Rock and Roll competition in Hamilton. On a personal page you can simply tap on update status and then select the Live Video icon. It is very simple at that stage to write a quick description and describe the audience you are aiming for.Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 7.14.09 am.png

As with all of the internet there is a real range of material available from Facebook lIve, I think there is a massive opportunity for Sports clubs, schools and indeed coaches to share sessions and events using Facebook Live technology. In terms of professional development there are some golden nuggets available on Facebook as well

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F798870680170078%2Fvideos%2F879154222141723%2F&show_text=0&width=560

 

There are also some top individual athlete and coach pages – with information from their own training sessions and insights into their personalities and the hard work they have to do to get to the top of their sport. Often much of this footage is taken in exactly the way that I have described above the cameras on current phones and tablets easily provide enough quality for this type of broadcast.

In terms of value to your club or school there are massive opportunities for linking both with your parents, previous players, old boys and sponsors through using streaming as a tool to engage them in your club. if your event is one in which you can stay close to the action then all you need is your phone in order to record and stream to Facebook Live, with a little creativity this can include interviews with captains, footage from changing rooms and celebrations, even a halt time insight from the coach.

However, the quality of this footage is paramount in engaging those who you stream to – it is very difficult to watch some dots in the landscape and actually engage with a sporting event. In order to use and stream from a video camera you need to take the footage from your camera and then into your stream- this ensures top quality footage. I have written a step by step process to achieve this below.

OBS and Facebook LIVE

I look forward to seeing many video streams from New Zealand and please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like some help with the process described above.

Jim Dickin

jimdickinnz@google.com

@tech4coaching

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Video is a massively important tool in developing your coaching. Using video with your players can give you the opportunity to break down a technique side by side with your player in front of the screen and talk through aspects of the performance which can be improved. In the same way a coach working alongside a mentor can examine and improve his or her coaching style – even self-critiquing using video often leads to massive coach improvement.

One advantage of the new devices we have available is the ease of videoing a coaching session, using a phone or tablet it is very easy to employ an injured player or perhaps a parent to video your session. One issue though is keeping the audio consistent throughout, while being able to see your session is great it is really useful to be able to hear what you are saying too.

Check out this recording to see what I mean:

 

 

Very simply to add the audio file I use a voice recorder app, on my iPhone this is Voice Memos but each platform has a very similar app and a pair of earphones with a mic function.

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By using the microphone attached to these earplugs, and a paperclip to keep the mic in place I am able to get an audio recording of my training session.

 

 

Now I am able to sync these two files using iMovie, you may have noticed that I clapped in the first few seconds of the video, this gives me a perfect sync point to marry the video and audio file.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 6.00.47 AM.png

 

My completed video includes the audio file taken from my phone as well as the video of the session itself, giving me a perfect tool for self review or even more effectively sharing with a coach mentor. This removes the need to purchase expensive microphones but still allows you to take effective video of a training session without the camera being intrusive in the session.

 

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if I can be of any help at all in terms of coaching with technology, my contact details are below. As ever I am very keen to field any questions that you may have about this article or any other aspects of technology in coaching.

 

Jim Dickin

jimdickinnz@gmail.com

@tech4coaching

All I Want For Christmas

Posted: December 14, 2015 in Tech in coaching

At the recent Connecting Coaches conference I was asked by a course participant what new technology could be used to help coaching. As ever the answer remains that the most important aspect of all coaching is your relationship with the athlete, a simple phone with a video camera is also a great tool. In my perfect world however, these are some of the new technologies which I think can make a real difference or I find exciting in terms of technology that can be used in coaching.

iPad Pro

From a coaching point of view this could really lighten your travel bag. The ability to use the iPad pro as a laptop replacement with a keyboard and the apple pencil to input data mean that you do not need to travel with multiple devices. The huge screen will give an opportunity to share video easily with your athletes, while the high quality video camera will mean that you can gain high quality footage to base your coaching on.

Tripod for iPad

The large size of the iPad pro makes a mounting system a must, particularly when using the video camera aspect. This iShot G7 tripod mount will enable you as the user to gain good quality footage and be able to display this footage quickly and conveniently  by attaching this stand to any existing tripod.

GoPro HERO4 Session

An extension of being able to gain good quality footage is also available with the GoPro HERO4, the smallest GoPro camera yet allowing some great footage for coaching as well as the addition of a highlight button to speed up your editing of coaching sessions. This camera will enable you to gain a different viewpoint when coaching, imagine attaching it to an athlete for a training session and then reviewing decisions they have made together while being able to view from his viewpoint at the same time.

The Lily Camera

Drone cameras have introduced a new capability, you can set the camera to follow you while you take part in your activity. While many of these cameras are not fully released as yet they are certainly exciting although still very expensive (around $1500 US), I am afraid I may have to wait until these become a little more realistic in price!

Polar M400

There are many different smartwatch and personal fitness tracking type products available now, the Polar M400 combines the ability to measure heart rates with a GPS to measure your training sessions accurately. The watch can also sync wirelessly  with the Polar Flow app, which can give you indications about your training intensity and recommendations about the amount of activity you should complete each day.

Hudl technique

Still my absolute go to in terms of coaching with technology, best of all the basic app is free and an outstanding tool for every coach in every sport. It is also well worth checking out the website for some excellent examples of coaching using the app http://get.hudl.com/products/technique/

 

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I very much enjoyed presenting at the Sport NZ Connecting Coaches conference and the opportunity to meet many NZ coaches right at the top of their sport. As ever I would welcome contact from anybody who would like to discuss their use of technology in coaching and would like to wish all my readers a Happy Christmas.

jimdickinnz@gmail.com

@tech4coaching

Apps for Coaching- Update

Posted: October 12, 2015 in Tech in coaching

Since I last wrote an article re apps to use in coaching there have been a number of developments, new apps, new devices and new capabilities. At school we have a great new set up in the gym with an apple tv connected to a projector meaning I can easily and quickly connect my iPad and project my screen into the gym.Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 8.14.25 AM

This gym setup gives great scope for Apps that delay video. I have discussed these before with my favourite being Bust a Move Video Delay, this splits the screen into four with each part of the screen being able to set up with a different time delay.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 8.15.24 AM

A limitation of Bust a Move is the lack of being able to record the screen. As such while a student/ athlete is able to watch the footage back there is no ability to save that video. ReplayCam will offer the same ability to delay the feed (although only on one screen) but additionally you are able to record the footage. With the new set up in the Gym I have been using this App extensively, recording students gameplay and them viewing the screen to watch their own possessions of the ball.

Ubersense and Coaches Eye have both had extensive developments . Ubersense has had a change of name and is now known as hudltechnique. Check out this article as to best practice when using hudltechnique: Top 10 ways to Technique

As well as acquiring Ubersense and changing the name to Technique, HUDL have also purchased SportsCode and GameBreaker programmes. This may well lead to some really interesting developments, imagine being able to take footage from SportsCode directly into Technique (Ubersense), I am looking forward to the innovations which look likely to happen in this area

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GamePlan is another app that has been extensively used, initially in the USA, but this year has been adopted by many Super Rugby teams. GamePlan gives you the ability to create a bespoke portal for your team. As an administrator you have complete control over what you can share with your players. The app is password protected with the administrator having the ability to control and revoke access should a player lose their iPad. You can share with each of your squad footage from your most recent games as well as schedule details, wellness details and any other documents you choose to share with the team.

As well as the ability to share footage you can add video that has been coded and your players have the ability to add their own comments, as such this becomes an interactive vehicle between players and coaches and all delivered straight to their iPads.

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Coachseek (http://www.coachseek.com) is a really interesting app for computer and iOS devices that organises your coaching business. As a coach this gives you the ability to take online bookings and payments. As such your schedule is up to the minute organised and any potential athletes looking for coaching services can instantly see when you are free. The app can take payment from athletes and will also give reminders and take rolls for you. As a New Zealand company they are easily contactable for support and have a lot of success, particularly in monetising coachingbusinesses. For individual coaches who are looking to put their business together I believe this service is well worth a look.

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Finally I really encourage every coach to have a look at varsaty.com. This platform is completely free and gives you the ability to share clips with your players, once you upload a game you can use the online interface to create clips and then to initiate coaching conversations with your players. In the FAQ on the website they guarantee that this site will remain free and I am sure it will be a real asset for coaching and initiating coaching conversations with your players. Check out the screenshot below, the coach has taken clips and then shared it with the players whose icons you can see below each clip – it is well worth having a look.

As you can see there have been a number of app developments and as with everything in technology it is a continuously moving feast. On September 9th new iPhones, a new Apple TV and possibly a new iPad were announced, as ever the app developers will then begin work on creating yet more apps! Please do not hesitate to share any more apps that you think I should check out – I can be contacted via the links below.

jimdickinnz@gmail.com

@tech4coaching

SiliconCoach

Posted: October 12, 2015 in Tech in coaching

Siliconcoach Pro 8

Siliconcoach is a New Zealand example of excellence in technology in sport. A real forerunner of video analysis the company was founded in 1997, and is still based in NZ. They have a very wide scope for their products including rehabilitation, PE teachers biomechanics analysis, bike fitting and gait analysis as well as traditional video analysis.

They have recently announced that Siliconcoach Pro 8 is shortly to be released with some exciting new features. In particular I enjoy the ability of the programme to take video from every source and easily upload it to a central web page for analysis. This addresses one of the key issues that many people have of reliance on a certain platform, with Siliconcoach you are able to use an Android, IOS as well as video cameras, GoPros even a still camera with video capability. This video footage can then be uploaded to a central web page for analysis and easily shared within your ‘zone’.

silicon coach1

A zone is simply your domain for sharing your analysis video with your team or athletes. As you can see from the diagram you have the ability to open your analysis up to as many or as few of your athletes as you would like. This can be very useful for a team discussion or perhaps one on one feedback with certain athletes.

Athletes and Coaches can then contribute to an online discussion around this analysis. This creates a situation in which a video is being used as the basis for discussion and can be massively valuable. It is often easier to illustrate to players your frustration as a coach by this use of video, this will give your athletes a new appreciation of the game.

It also fits really well with the NZ coach approach as players can make their own analysis in a process of guided discovery instead of the coach being the all knowing oracle!

As well as the online capabilities of Siliconcoach live and the ability to begin an in-depth analysis session via an online forum there is also improved video analysis tools in the Pro 8 version. For clarity these two products are designed to be used side by side, using the pro tools to do some in- depth analysis which can then be viewed when you are physically with your athletes or uploaded into the cloud capabilities of SC Live. Pro8 can capture HD video which means you have top quality video on which to base your analysis. Depending on the hardware capabilities of your computer you will also be able to import dual HD feeds giving you the ability to analyse from different viewpoints.

siliconcoach3

Coupled with some very advanced measurement tools that give you the ability to measure distances and angles on your video and drawing tools to illustrate your analysis to your athletes this creates a very powerful tool indeed. The ability to move the video on Frame by Frame means that it is easy to isolate deviations form the perfect technique, particularly when synched and viewed alongside a perfect model . This ability to compare videos also means that you are able to illustrate to your athletes progressions they have made by using an earlier video with the present day one. This can be a massive motivation for all athletes.

A new feature in Siliconcoach Pro 8 is the incorporation of the Time warp feature into the programme. Previously this was a separate feature but it is now incorporated into the programme. This gives you the ability to delay a video feed for a specified amount of time meaning an athlete can perform a skill and then come and review that skill alongside you.

As well as these features you have the security of an active support forum with the ability to make contact to somebody in New Zealand to offer help in ensuring you get the best use of the product. For any further information about Siliconcoach Pro 8 you should contact Graeme Burborough graeme@siliconcoach.com who will be able to discuss your individual needs.

This is certainly a product that I use both within my school teaching, it is particularly useful for NCEA Physical Education, and in my coaching. Timewarp was actually the first time in a coaching session that I used the tool of video directly with my athletes, and I still believe this is a massively powerful tool and one that every coach should be comfortable in using.

Jim Dickin
@tech4coaching

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

Smartphones in Coaching

Posted: October 12, 2015 in Tech in coaching

Tech 4 Coaching

Smartphones in Coaching

This is the first of a series of blogs about using technology to assist and improve your coaching.  I look forward to any comments and contact from coaches on using technology in sport. In this article, I am going to discuss the use of your phone and smartphone apps and how they may be useful in coaching at all levels of sport.

Nearly everybody has a mobile phone of some sort and these can be a great tool in coaching. From the obvious use of communication to basic use of the video screen I believe they have become irreplaceable for all coaches today. Within my coaching I made a distinct decision to begin to use my smartphone which I will share with you below.  At the end of the 2011 season the management team of the University Rugby Club did a review. The season had been relatively successful – the team had reached the semi-final of our competition and lost to the eventual winners. The review was complementary, however, in self review

I questioned whether my coaching had directly improved any of the players personal skills. Some players had improved as a result of age and experience, many achieved representative teams and progressed to higher levels but the harsh reality was that I didn’t feel I had directly coached specific players. I had implemented systems and managed the players within those systems, I ensured that players understood their role in the team and encouraged their contribution but had I changed, or more importantly improved, the technique of a player directly through my coaching?
The decision was made to introduce an individual skills session at the start of Tuesday training each week utilising video to make this more efficient. Players performed skills drills either personal work ons or drills negotiated with the coaches and video was taken – using an assortment of video devices owned both by players and coaches and then the use of the video analysis apps, Coaches Eye and Ubersense.

ubersense

Video Analysis Apps- Coaches Eye and Ubersense.

Which of these two apps you use comes down to personal preference and what type of Smartphone you own- I believe the features are practically interchangeable thus your decision becomes more about cost and accessibility. Coaches Eye is available for both Android and IOS devices where Ubersense is only available for IOS – however, Ubersense is free and there is a cost associated with Coaches Eye.
Ubersense is only available for IOS devices and comes with all of the various upgrades as part of the download – at no cost, as such I have found athletes are more likely to engage with the app. Someone without a smartphone is not excluded athletes and fellow coaches without the app can still receive and view the videos that you have made.
Within the apps your athletes/ injured players/ assistant

coacheseyeCoaches Eye showing use of drawing tools

coaches or yourselves can video the player taking part in a skill. This skill can then be reviewed using a slow motion fly wheel either side by side with the athlete or after training and then shared with the athlete via email. You are also able to compare this video with other athletes in your team or even professional athletes. Videos can be downloaded from the internet and added to the app as well as taken in real time. Both Coaches Eye and Ubersense are now trying to extend their community feature – people can opt to share their videos for comment around the world and download videos from the community, often of top athletes performing the skill you are coaching.
This gives us the opportunity as coaches to ensure that we are improving our players, with the ability to review video of their skills and comment on their performance. We then share these comments with the athletes either face to face or via the app/email/facebook/dropbox.

BlackFerns

Coaches Eye showing use of drawing tools, This image, taken from a video I made on the run, shows the utilisation of smartphone technology whilst I was coaching at a Black Ferns training session.  We were using the tech to ensure that the athlete understood visually the coaching guidance I was providing.

I am very keen that the use of technology should not interfere with the relationship between player and coach and believe the use of these apps can promote this relationship while also giving the player invaluable visual cues about improvement of their technique – surely the aim of coaching in the first place. In particular I do not want to lose the vital human component of coaching and see technology as a tool in the coaching toolbox, not as a replacement for sound coaching.

I urge you to attempt to incorporate one of these apps into your coaching workflow and look forward to contact from you as to how you feel the process has gone. Certainly, it introduced a different emphasis in my personal coaching and a really positive reaction from the players involved, I regularly use ubersense in both rugby and athletics as well as my PE teaching. It would be great to build up a battery of NZ relevant videos to share from the Sport NZ community both from coaches exchanging opinions on players technique and an opportunity to view some perfect models of NZ’s best performers. This would also be a great resource for coach education, and address the problem in NZ of large travel times. Comment below if you have any interest in helping build up a battery of resource videos and I will set up and share a dropbox folder with videos in.

As I continue to write articles on technology in sport I am interested in what the coaching community would like to discuss, I would welcome your input into this. As an extension to this article I will share via my twitter feed a number of other apps which I regularly use in my coaching process and look forward to discussing these further and in particular having new apps recommended through the comments section of this web site or via twitter.

I can be found and contacted on twitter @tech4coaching and emailed at  jimdickinnz@gmail.comand look forward to feedback and interaction with coaches from NZ and the rest of the world.