Category Archives for Sports

Remote video coaching: so many reasons it’s great for athletes of all ages






Video analysis is huge for professional and college sports and now it is finding its way into youth sports, high school, and clubs too. But so far it’s mostly about game analysis – video sessions in classrooms. Most people don’t realize there’s a new way to use video for personalized coaching even in team sports. Players can have their ‘real coach’ coaching the team, PLUS a separate personal video coach. We’re not talking about the kind of skills coach that players get when they pay for professional one-on-one coaches. We’re talking about a coach to analyze training and games, and individual work separate from the team, and coach players on what to do to get better, including the mental side of the game.

In the old days, you’d need to have your personal coach in the stands and even at practices, spying on the whole team. But this is the age of video and phones and the cloud – YouTube and all that. Coaches can see players practice and play even when they live across the country or around the world.

Players have been making videos for recruiting for a long time now. So why not use the same technology while the players are developing, using video to get coaching tailored to the player’s needs, from a hand-picked personal coach?

There are a whole bunch of reasons why this is a good idea.

  1. It’s truly personalized training. If you send video to a coach, you’re paying for his or her time focussing on YOU. There’s a reason why pro teams have so many coaches: because only then can the players get specific things they can work on. On most youth teams there just isn’t enough time for coaches to spend time talking to and making notes for every player. Sure, it happens a bit, but it’s uneven and sometimes players feel their coach concentrates on other players. What’s better for an individual player’s development: listening to one coach tell the whole team 20 or 30 different things in a practice, or having a personal coach give the player 3 things to work on in training and try to put into action in games?
  2. The second reason is that it works better than coaches telling players what they did wrong. With video and remote coaching, the player can connect the feedback and advice to what is really happening so they understand how to play better. With video and comments right alongside, players truly notice and understand what they did and what they could have done.  If you do something in a game and then a coach tells you in the locker room after the game that you should be doing it differently, how likely is it that you’ll work on it individually and then remember that advice in a game? In fact, it’s natural for humans to not even recognize or admit that they’ve done something wrong. Seeing is believing; and improving. 

          Learn more on the WeVu for Athletes Page
     
  3. It’s recorded – it lasts. It doesn’t go away. It’s always available to the player to check and look back on. If the player gets frustrated about something, the coach can point out why it’s happening and can even point back to the same thing a few months ago. And that means the player can see the progress. You might hear: “Wow, ok, I look at early in the season where I wasn’t in the right stance defensively. My coach pointed it out and gave me a challenge to work on it. Now in these new game videos it looks like I’ve figured it out.” Think of what that progress does for a player’s confidence. That’s what Lindsay Huddleston of Sports Psychology Solutions has seen with the athletes he coaches.
  4.  Everyone needs a second opinion. (Even Stanford’s Health Care system offers remote second opinions!)  Team coaches that keep a totally open mind about players’ development are a rare breed. It’s natural human psychology to put people in boxes and then interpret what you see to confirm how those biases. But when you send video to a coach somewhere else, who has no connection to your team, you’re getting a fresh set of eyes. It’s like sending MRI results to a radiologist in another city – maybe they will see something that the first doctor didn’t, or maybe just start in a different part of the image and put the pieces together to form a different conclusion. There’s even a college basketball scout named Norm Eavenson that bills himself as a second opinion.
  5. It actually teaches you how to learn. Taking feedback in a positive way and really having it sink in so that your actions are affected is surely one of the most important skills in life. Education experts call this “reflective practice” and it’s now a thing in athlete development. When we’re coached in person, in real time, our defenses go up and our minds play all kinds of tricks on us because we’re social beings and we don’t like disapproval. That’s all different when you’re interacting with a qualified, experienced, positive coach online. The time and distance you have to digest the advice and try to improve patiently over time is a really valuable lesson in how to learn. It carries over to school and work and everything else.
  6. The coach can assign online videos or film their own demonstrations for you. All that can happen in the same platform where you are uploading your video. Coaches can make a comment and link to a video of a pro player or a coaching resource video. That’s better and cheaper than watching a coach demonstrate in person because you can replay it over and over and compare it to what you’re doing now.
  7. It’s better value. Remote coaching costs less – here’s why. Let’s face it, you can only improve a few things at a time. Working in a concentrated way on one or two things is the most effective way to improve. So you only need a coach to pick out those one or two things and then go work on them. When the coach doesn’t have to travel and spend lots of time with you, you won’t pay nearly as much as you would in person. Coaches can watch the film and make their comments right in an online video platform from the comfort of their home, so when they spend half an hour with your film, you pay for half an hour of their time. Remote coaching has already hit the big time in fitness coaching, as this article in Shape magazine shows.
  8. The coaching is more accountable, so you’re more likely to get good stuff from your coach. Online coaches who don’t give productive, actionable feedback won’t last long – their reviews won’t be good. And athletes aren’t stuck with a coach; they can move on if they’re not getting what they need.
  9. Use these videos for recruting. Coaches at the next level don’t pay much attention to a mixtape you edited with all your highlights. Eventually they want to see the real you, making bad plays as well as the highlight reel stuff. Why not show them the real you, with coaching points, and how you’ve made progress. That’s what they really want: someone who cares about learning, puts the effort in, and can really learn from what coaches are pointing out.

You probably have another reason. Let us know in the comments below.

Coming Next: Part II – How to use video for remote coaching

We (of course) think WeVu is your best bet for ​remote coaching.​

Card Payments without Wi-Fi for Community Organizations and Sports Clubs – Square Setup

How to take card payments with no WiFi and no mobile phone
for Little Leagues, Football and Soccer Clubs, Festivals, and more

Everyone knows you can take payments on your phone. Mobile businesses, especially tradespeople, now use their phones with the Square Point of Sale card and tap readers.

But what about community organizations that are operating in a place with no WiFi and don’t have a phone with a data plan for their organization. Lots of them think they can’t take mobile payments. But they can, for around $10 a month.

That’s the situation that Jericho Little League in Vancouver was facing.  It had operated a little concession for years out of a public park building, with customers paying cash, just like the old days. But JLL thought it was missing out on some revenue to support their programs because people carry cash so much less than they used to. They wanted people to be able to use cards for chips (pun intended) and hotdogs, but they also wanted to sell some bigger-ticket clothing and equipment in the park.

One option would have been to use the data plan from a club official or board member, but then that person would have to be around all the time and it might accidentally use up their data.

So here’s what Jericho Little League did to allow card payments at the park. It took in $8500 in card payments in just a couple of months of the season. That’s lots of hoodies and hot dogs!

Jericho’s All-star teams also used WeVu for slow-mo swing analysis so they could share phone-recorded video among the coaches and players and make comments on the videos.

Step by step guide to setting up mobile Point-of-Sale with no Wi-Fi and no phone
What you’ll need
  • Actually, you’ll need a smartphone, but the good news is that you can use any old phone that is unlocked and can serve as a wireless hotspot (even one with a cracked screen). Your organization surely has a member who can donate one.
  • The cheapest, no-contract, prepaid mobile phone service that allows data to be purchased in chunks.
    • In the USA we recommend US Mobile. Order their starter kit online for 4 bucks and then get a monthly data plan of 1GB for only $11. Don’t bother getting any talk or text unless you need it.
    • In Canada, it’ll cost more than south of the border, but Koodo mobile prepaid is pretty good. You have to go to a Koodo or a dealer to buy a SIM card for $10 which you’ll get back in credit. Then get the $15/month plan and add a 1GB booster for another $30. The good news is the 1GB data doesn’t expire so you might be able to use it for months. (Just make sure the phone isn’t updating ANYTHING – see below).
  • A Square account and a card reader. You can get all the details at https://squareup.com or https://squareup.ca. You can buy what you need at most electronics retailers or order it online. You’ll have to have an organization bank account so Square can put your funds in there! You could also examine some of the alternatives to Square
  • Optional but really useful: An inexpensive or donated old tablet/iPad if you want things to be a bit easier for the staff and volunteers making the sales. Your organization can ask for a donation or can pick up a perfectly good Android tablet for around $100 like the Asus Zenpad 8 or the Lenovo Tab 10.
  • A stand for the phone or the tablet. Phone stands can cost under $10. For a tablet stand, you’ll want one that has swivel and tilt so it can be spun around to show the customers. There are some inexpensive ones, but make sure the stand is heavy enough that it stays put.

The Square Card Reader and Tap Platform

How to get started if you’re using a tablet along with the phone hotspot
  1. Get the Square Point of Sale App from the App Store or Google Play. Install it on the phone and the tablet. We recommend doing this at someone’s home using WiFi so you don’t use the phone data. When you’ve got the app, sign in.
  2. Get everything charged up. Ideally, you’ll have power accessible and you can plug in the phone and the tablet (if using) and the square card reader. But even if you don’t, you’ll just need to have a place to store the phone and tablet and reader where they can be charged overnight. Jericho Little League had an equipment storeroom next to the concession where they had the charging set up for the tablet and card reader. They left the phone plugged in and hidden in the concession.
  3. Put the SIM card into the phone. Turn it on and make sure you have 3G or LTE network service indicated in the top bar and that you can browse to a webpage. Then turn on the WiFi Hotspot on the phone.
    1. Most Android phones let you do this from the notifications bar you can swipe open from the top.
    2. You’ll need to long-press Hotspot. (Or find it in Settings-Network & Internet-Hotspot & Tethering.
    3. Find something like ‘Set up Wi-Fi hotspot’. It’s best if you don’t name the Hotspot with your organization’s name because then people will notice it. It’s probably best to leave it with the default name which is likely the model of the phone.
    4. Enter a ‘Wi-Fi Password’ that you record somewhere for your organization, but don’t share it widely, otherwise your data might get used.
    5. On an iPhone:
      1. Open Settings and select Cellular or Mobile Data
      2. Tap Personal Hotspot and set it to On
      3. It’s best if you don’t name the Hotspot with your organization’s name because then people will notice it. It’s probably best to leave it with the default name which is likely the model of the phone.
      4. Tap ‘Wi-Fi Password’ and enter one that you record somewhere for your organization, but don’t share it widely, otherwise your data might get used.
  4. Important! Go into the settings and turn off the updating of apps and the phone operating system. You don’t want it using up your data plan.
    1. For iPhone, disable app updates using this guide. And disable iOS updates using this one.
    2. On Android, disable apps and system updates using this guide.
  5. Set up the tablet. Put it on the stand you bought. It’s best to set up the tablet with a PIN that is only known to a few people and the people who will be setting up for sales each day.
    1. First, connect it to your phone Wi-Fi hotspot. You’ll just go to your WiFi settings on the tablet, find the hotspot name from above (probably the phone model), and enter the password. Make sure you get the usual Wi-Fi bars and can get to a simple web page on the tablet browser.
    2. Turn on bluetooth from the settings menu. Put the charged-up card reader withing a few feet of the tablet.
    3. Open the Square Point of Sale app on the tablet. Go to Settings – Card Readers. Tap the Connect a reader button. Follow the instructions there, which will get you to use the little teeny button on the side of the card reader.
  6. Now test the reader. In the tablet POS app, on the main menu choose Checkout. There should be a tab or a button called “Keypad”. Choose it and enter something like $1. That’ll go into a blue bar that says “Charge $1.00”. Tap that. Then you can use the card reader by inserting a card or tapping a card or a phone that has Apple Pay or Google Pay. It should work!
  7. Go to Transactions on the app and see that you’ve made the transaction. If you want to try refunding that dollar transaction you can, following the guide here.
  8. At the end of each day the equipment has to be returned to the charging location.

Good luck!

Next Steps

Once you’ve got the setup working, you’ll want to add your items to Square so that your staff and volunteers can easily tap on squares on a grid to choose the items the customer is buying. It’s cool – you can add pictures and sort items into categories like clothing or food. You can do that in the app or on a computer. Again, it’s best to do this at home or in an office using real Wi-Fi so you don’t use up your phone data plan. But Jericho did a little bit on the fly during the season and it didn’t use much data.

Here is a Word doc with instructions you can give to the people who’ll be setting up and making sales. You can edit it a bit to fit your context.

Things to consider

Some organizations use Square for both card and cash transactions so they can track revenue and inventory. You should consider whether you do it for cash as well or just card transactions.

You might want to examine some of the alternatives to Square.

You’ll have to figure out the best setup for charging to keep the equipment secure. It may be that someone has to take them home at night and return them or pass them on to the next people working.

Skills Homework for Youth Sports Using Video

VIDEO HOMEWORK FOR YOUTH SPORTS:
A PRACTICAL GUIDE

A few tech-savvy youth sports coaches have found a new way to use video to help athletes develop and perform better. You’ll find out what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, what technology they’re using, and get some tips on how to put it into action yourself.

What is Video Homework?

Many youth sports coaches think of video the way the pros use it: for watching and analyzing games or performances. But most of us don’t have time for that and it’s not going to pay off in a big way for kids as they develop.

What most coaches haven’t realized is that they can use video – in particular their players’ phone video cameras – to assign video homework. Video homework isn’t what you might think. It doesn’t mean that athletes watch video and learn. (Kids generally won’t even watch what you ask them to watch.)No, the homework they can be doing involves repeated, focused practice on the technical skills they need in their sport. The video part is that they record themselves on phones and upload to their team site for the coach to check that they’ve done it and, occassionally, provide pinpoint feedback. In doing so the athletes can get individual training that helps each one improve on her or his weaknesses.

Most important for the coaches, you don’t have to use precious training time to have your young athletes doing individual skills practice they can do at home. They’re only together at your team training time – so why waste time on simple, repetitive individual activities then?

Why Use Video Homework?

Athletes are always looking for ways to improve, and one of a coach’s most important jobs is to help them get better. Coaches tend to focus on areas of improvement needed by an entire team. This often leads to neglecting to develop each individual with the individualized practice that they need. This isn’t the fault of the coach. After all, coaches are dealing with 10, 15, 20, even 30 players at a time. It’ll take forever to go player by player and watch them practice and fix what needs to be fixed. With today’s technology however, coaches can find ways to help individuals more easily than they ever could in the past.

When watching film as a team or as an individual, athletes have a tendency to focus on their highlights and gloss over things that could be improved. However, though looking at highlights is necessary sometimes to boost confidence, athletes would be well served to work on areas of their game that they can improve. By taking a coach’s instructions and applying them to their training, an athlete can vastly improve their technical ability. Doing this through video homework is a time-efficient way of making this happen.

In the last decade, teams of researchers worldwide have looked at video feedback in sports. Their results have been unanimously positive in showing the benefits of the use of video to record skills practice. The biggest payoff for coaches and their players is that the coach can make sure the practice actually happens! Players self-record on phones and upload. It’s that easy. The coach only has to watch a fraction of it; just a quick glance to check that the player was doing the skill that was assigned.

How to use Video Skills Homework

Coaches and their players need a private site where video can be uploaded and organized. It’s a lot like video assignments in art schools or for business presentation training. The coach can define an Assignment– like bringing down a high ball in soccer, or bumping a volleyball, or a step-back move in basketball – and then players submit the phone-camera recordings of themselves to that electronic ‘hand-in box’. The coach can go through the videos super-fast, one-by-one, or just get a report that they’ve been submitted.

The next step, if the coach can take the time, is nudging the players to see what they’re not doing properly and gently asking them to try again. With some video platforms like WeVu, but not Hudl, you can be watching an athlete-recorded video, pause it by clicking in a comment box, make a comment that sticks right to that time and place on the video, and the video resumes. (That’s also awesome if you are doing game analysis!).  Players really appreciate this personal touch. Players can join in and ask questions or respond to the coach’s pointers.

How to Get Started with Video Homework

Start small. Think of the one individual skill where you think your players need most practice. Ask them to do it at home, at the park, in the gym for five minutes. And then another five minutes with their phone recording it. If you’ve got a WeVu for Athletes site, you just send them the account creation link, they make an account, and they can upload the video right away. They can even have private videos just for their own review and decided whether or not to share them to the coach.

It’s great if the coach can take a peek at these videos before the next practice/training session so that you can encourage the players that their effort is great and will pay off on the field or the court!

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