“O, wad some Power the giftie gie us. To see oursels as others see us!” … Robert Burns
A really good coaching tool (other than a whip! ;o) is video analysis. Film of your shot shows you what your coach is seeing. Its so much easier for him to explain a problem and for you to understand the issue when he can literally point at it. In your smart phone or pad is a camera good enough to give high resolution imagery at a pretty good frame rate. Unfortunately these cameras were not really designed for analysis or slo-mo but that’s where a handy coaching app can be your friend.
OnForm is, as they say on their webpage, a “Video analysis app and coaching solution for instant feedback.“ What it does is allow your phone/pad to record you in 1080p/240 frames a second then play that back as slow as you like right down to frame by frame! There are also some built in tools to allow drawing temporary lines on the screen in different colours so you can mark positions and movement through a shot. The 240 frames a second framerate is fast enough for the arrow to be in shot for 3-4 frames when departing which is not too shabby. This can let you see what you are doing as the arrow leaves the bow. In addition, side by side comparison of film is available as is the slightly disconcerting feature they call “skeleton tracking”!
Sounds fantastic …. so what’s the downside:
The iPhone version is free to download but requires a subscription for the full functionality. This can be got round and so be free to use. However a free version will only allow you to retain 10 videos in its memory. This can be mitigated by importing film from your camera roll, reviewing, deleting and then if required, recalling from the trash bin. The skeleton tracking is fun to look at – it superimposes arm/leg bones over your image to show alignment – but it doesn’t really work for archers, intended as it was for golfers! <spit> The side by side analysis is good but tends to be a tad small on a phone. This might be much better when used on a pad although we didn’t have the software on a pad to evaluate. It does require a pretty recent version on IOS so older iPad/iPhone won’t always run the app.
The Android version is client only and doesn’t function without a coaches iPhone version (paid) feeding it data which is unfortunate. “You must be invited by a coach or friend to use the Android version. OnForm for Android is a LITE version for coached athletes/students. You can only create an account using an Apple device.” A free account might be able to share their 10 videos with an android client but this we haven’t tried yet.
With the paid versions of the iPhone software, there is a lot more functionality available especially much more storage space and ability to create coach/pupil networks. This is after all a tool for professional coaches. All of the stuff available, if you fork out for the subscription, can be found noted here. For most of us though, access to the slo-mo function, the comparison option and the line drawing utility is probably enough for this to be a hugely useful self analysis tool and of course .. FREE ALWAYS BE GOOD! Links below if you want to have a look at the webpage and downloads although as noted the android version just doesn’t seem to work the same way as the iPhone version making it useless except as a client to a paid account.
Case Study: So our Vice-Chair was off to coaching a few months ago. In between the arguing, banter, mocking and caf breaks, 3 consecutive shots were recorded via the app by Coach Mather for examination. What was discovered was pretty surprising. Our very experienced V-C has a forward release. Its so fast you can’t see it in real time as it happens in a 1/10th of a second but its scarily obvious at 240fps. Amusingly, he couldn’t argue the evidence, and Michael got a clean W with this coaching observation.