The little red light of a recording camera can turn even the strongest skier camera shy and self-conscious. Yet skiers who manage to overcome this can see enormous benefits from video feedback and analysis.
Courchevel BASI level 1 and 2 coach Gareth has outlined some of the key ways he uses video feedback and why he thinks it’s such a great tool.
I know from my own experience the butterflies that can come when I know I am being filmed. But we all need to remember that video is am extremely powerful development tool to improve performance, so we shouldn’t fear the little red light!
As part of our instructor-training programs we regularly use video feedback to enhance the technical development of our trainees. There is nothing like seeing a visual representation of what you are doing to improve understanding of your own skiing. For a number of years I have been using the popular app called Coaches Eye. The features on this app like the side-by-side comparison option and the finger controlled play back scroller allow me to go through the small details in a performance frame by frame. I use this on my iPad and phone which allows me to provide feedback quickly and at anytime.
Video feedback is not just a fancy way for us to show off our latest gadget or apps, it has actually been scientifically proven to work. Romack & Valentine (2005) have written a great article The Strength and Conditioning Journal on the studies that have proven the benefits of video feedback to help athletes in acquiring skills faster. This isn’t surprising for coaches who use video regularly, but it’s nice to be backed up by sport science research.
Benefits and things to consider
As I mentioned above, I find performing comparison videos extremely useful. Coaches Eye allows you to play two videos side-by-side to perform a comparison of technique. Obvious applications of this feature can be to show a trainee the direct difference between ideal world and real world.
Danger of Freeze Framing
You can go into great detail frame by frame with new high-definition cameras and apps like Coaches Eye. However there is a danger in over analysing and looking at the performance out of context. An example of this is freeze-framing, which does not show the performance in motion. I try to avoid this as much as I can and try to keep analysis with some form of playback to give the movements some context.
Romack & Valentine (2005) advise in their review article to make use of slow motion when analysing fast, complex technical skills. It allows you to see movements that the naked eye cannot see. As mentioned above the finger scroll playback feature on the Coaches Eye app is perfect for these situations. It lets us get really techy to demonstrate the changes that need to be made.
According to Romack & Valentine (2005) numerous studies have found that video of successful performances can allow some athletes to refocus their attention and optimise their arousal levels for their next performance. In the past I have used video to help motivate my trainees: showing a side-by-side comparison of improvements they’ve made, or just a good run. We all love a good pat on the back every now and then. Like any sport, confident skiers are often successful skiers.
Video has also been shown to help improve performance by highlighting bad pre performance cognitive processes, which can cause anxiety and bad general pre performance routines, which can cause arousal levels to be too low (Romack & Valentine, 2005). My own examples of this include showing a trainee how often they go last on video runs, obvious signs of negative self-talk prior to performance or trainees lying in the snow whilst waiting to perform.
So there you have it – video feedback is a really powerful development tool. Not only can it help you improve technically but it can also give you a psychological edge. Embrace shiny new powerful technologies, but make sure you consider how you apply them for maximum effect. Remember what Spiderman’s Uncle said “With great power comes great responsibility…..”