Do you use technology in your coaching? How often? To what extent? One of my favorite uses of technology is to use video analysis. I think that it really helps me to see what the athlete is doing in a new light. It also enables you to give feedback to the athlete in a different format. As we all know, their are three types of learners: verbal, visual, and kinesthetic. The use of video definitely helps those visual learners to see what they are doing right and wrong. I really believe that video helps a large number of athletes and is a tool that needs to be used even more. That being said, I also think that just like any good thing, it is possible to go overboard. Do you have to video every single rep or drill? No. Integrate video into the program at regular intervals. Use it initially to get a baseline idea of how the athlete does on a particular skill. Use this info to help teach the athlete and then give them a chance to improve the skill for several session or weeks. Then get some new footage and let the athlete see the comparison. This should be often enough to gain the benefits of video without turning every day into a video day.
I know that Dartfish just released some info which stated that over 400 medals were won in the London Olympics by users of their software. I’m sure that many other athletes used some form of video analysis to perfect their performances. If video can help that many Olympic winners, it can help athletes at other levels too. Make sure to find ways to integrate it into your coaching.
While writing my last blog post on landing mechanics and ACL injuries, I came across a study by Parsons & Alexander that was recently published. The study attempts to discover if the use of one video coaching session can help to make positive changes in the landing mechanics of volleyball players. I encourage you to read more about this study on modifying landing mechanics.
Here is a quick summary of the volleyball study:
The researchers took video clips of volleyball players completing a spike jump/landing. They used Dartfish software to give the girls immediate feedback and also to analyze the results in further detail. They measured numerous angles related to landing position at ankle, knee, hip, and torso. The researchers found numerous improvements resulted short term from their video & verbal feedback. While there were some decreases in the results during the 4 weeks prior to retesting, several of the variables maintained a significantly positive improvement. Basically, the one feedback session did help the volleyball players to make and maintain positive improvements.
So, what are the take home points?
Video can play a huge role in helping your athletes to make improvements. Remember that some people are visual learners. Using video can help them to truly understand what you are saying to them in your verbal coaching.
The athletes were able to maintain some of their improvements over 4 weeks. What if there was to be more of an emphasis on the changes in landing mechanics? What if they took 15 minutes a week to focus on them? What if they received visual feedback multiple times with constant verbal coaching everyday? I’m sure that the results would be more significant. As they say, “practice makes perfect”. What would this do the the number of torn ACL’s in volleyball? I’m sure it would decrease it dramatically.