Sunday, 10 June 2007 18:50

Using video in your Coaching

Preparing to use video in coaching.
Preparing to use video in coaching.

Video is a flexible and powerful tool for the coach, its level of use is dictated by the coaches ability with the camera and confidence in it's application as part of the normal coaching process. The strength of video lies in it's ability to capture movement and speed rather than fixed shots. Many coaches are, needlessly, nervous because of the technology involved and it's application. The video should be built into normal coaching activity and viewed as additional to coaching activity.

Video Requirements:
Video Cameras have many gimmick's which appeal to the home movie maker but have little to offer the coach. The final requirements will depend on the coaches expertise and experience. A 'dated' or bottom of the range model can be considered.

Digital: format provides good quality images and can be slowed down, digitally refined and transferred to PC if you get that involved.

A good Zoom for framing and working at a distance. (Surf coaches may require a better zoom and a tripod for use at distance.)

Environmental proofing, Water, consideration, sand, salt, temperature should all be included., Splash/waterproof casings and specialist bags are good. Selection of venues and time for use, silica gel in seal cases, plastic bags, 'peli' cases, dry bags and padding.

Play back screen, (40mmx50mm min) For immediate feedback a large LCD play back screen is useful and can also be useful while filming.

Remote control: To avoid opening cases, to avoid contact with the camera if wet, For specialist functions.

As much battery power as you can afford: To avoid flat batteries, ensure sufficient power for play back.

Practical use by the coach: The more you use it the better you will become.

Video Techniques:
Gain consent to use the video prior to use, 'I may use a video as part of my coaching, do I need to check with any bodies agent?'

The act of videoing will impact on performance so decide if you want to do it discreetly or not.

Do I need to 'write off' the first use as a novelty, should I do it that way. Have you ever seen your self on video?'

Decide if someone else can take it.

Plan in advance. Decide what you want to video; consider what it is you what to see on screen.

Use the zoom to frame the shot you want, avoid zooming during shooting (You will get away with slowing zooming to maintain the frame of the shot.)

Avoid a commentary but use voice to specify individuals or run.

Consider using coloured bibs to identify paddlers when working at a distance.

Have a lead in and ending period to 'frame' the shot, remember it's a demo and need a start and finish point.

Video for as part of coaching NOT fault finding.

Video or safety? Safety MUST come first.

Video to Aid in Observation:
Use as an aid to your observation for, 3D, complex, fast or new skills. To compare like with like or to keep as a record for future reference.

Top Tips: Allow several periods of observation, video the early ones.

Video to Aid in Feedback:
Use to illustrate; to confirm; to contradict,

Top Tips: Review prior to sharing with paddlers. Initial run through in real time with out commentary,

Run sequence a second time to illustrate point Using Pause, slow motion or digital zoom if required.

As with every coaching tool, video use needs to practiced. The off putting element is the cost, but when you consider a camera can be purchased for less than a weekends work or could be funded through a grant the option becomes more viable.

The benefit in your coaching results and meeting the students expectation is harder to quantify.

Bob's Personal Set-up:
I tend to use my camera for immediate feedback, on the river and limited delayed feedback applications as this is not always appropriate.

Sony: Digital Handicam, DCR-PC9E PAL.
(Leads to TV/Data projector, small battery, remote, charger)
Sony Handy Cam Sports Housing £120
Camera Batteries £90
12v Minibus Charger £35
Cleaning Tape £5
Spare Tape £10
Small clear water proof bag £5

Practice with a Video!
1. Take a short piece of footage that illustrates the different radius turns achievable with a bow rudder/cut. Play this back to illustrate the differences.

2. Take a 30 second sequence that illustrates continuous forwards paddling, from the front, side and back. Attempt to keep the paddler a constant size in the frame so that details of the stroke and body movement can been clearly seen.

3. Take two pieces of footage of the same sequence of 5 moves.
a. To illustrate the whole sequence
b. To illustrate the key components of each move and identify any areas of commonality.


David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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