Simple and affordable video capture apps can enhance the service – and the results – you deliver to your clients.
THE 30-SECOND ARTICLE
- Trainers need to communicate with clients in a style that caters to their preferred learning style
- Affordable video capture and analysis apps can be a powerful tool to use with visual learners
- Apps typically include features such as slow motion or frame-by-frame playback; drawing and annotation tools to highlight areas of concern; video comparison; and the ability to share videos via email and social media
- The ability to visually represent your clients’ progress to them will demonstrate a higher level of care and dedication to their continued improvement.
As a personal trainer or coach you face the constant challenge of facilitating change and giving effective feedback to your clients. To this end, you need to be able to communicate in a number of different ways, as each client will have their own preferred learning style. If you’re like most trainers, it’s likely that you lean towards a verbal style of instruction – but your clients may well prefer to learn visually or actively.
Fortunately, it’s never been easier for personal trainers to cater to the needs of visual learners – and in an impressive and impactful manner.
Video analysis of clients performing exercises or movements was once a very expensive prospect requiring video recording equipment, a computer and analysis software. As such, it was the domain of elite sports and not a viable option for everyday trainers and coaches. This is no longer the case, with smartphones and apps now putting this technology firmly within reach of every fitness professional.
Here, we look at five popular video capturing apps (all available as Apple apps and most also as Android apps) that can help you achieve technical mastery with your clients – particularly those who learn best visually.
Putting them to the test
Coach’s Eye coachseye.com
Coach’s Eye is my favourite video capturing app. It’s very simple to use, has great features and has a low cost ($4.99) for the basic model.
You can review performance using slow motion or frame-by-frame playback. It also has drawing tools which enable you to measure angles or strokes. You can even compare your videos or examples from other people using the split screen video. It can also record all your slow motion or frame-by-frame playback, drawing and even audio over the actual footage.
You can share your video via email, SMS and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Coach’s Eye allows you to record video instantly and import videos from your device gallery or sites like YouTube and Dropbox.
You can choose to upgrade the basic model with the following:
1. The Precision Pack $9.99 (includes the modules below)
2. Angle Tool $4.99
3. Stopwatch $4.99
4. Spotlight Tool $4.99
Ubersense is similar to Coach’s Eye, but with the added bonus of the basic model being free! I found it took a little time to be able to use effectively as it seems to have more emphasis on sharing the information than it does on providing user-friendly features.
You can analyse your sporting and lifting techniques with slow motion and frame-by-frame playback. To access every detail, you can zoom and pan the videos, and you can also use drawing tools to measure or highlight. The video comparison feature allows you to compare your videos, either side-by-side or stacked. Coaches in particular will love this app because of the ease with which it enables you to track and compare an athlete’s progress over time.
Ubersense has its own community feature which allows you to watch and download videos from other Ubersense app users. You can freely use the library of professional athlete videos to watch and compare techniques. You can share videos with clients, coaches or friends directly from the app, and can post to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Dropbox.
You can upgrade to Ubersense Elite which costs $5.49 per month or $25.99 per-year. This allows storage in a private cloud, as well as syncing across multiply devices.
Spark Motion (formerly Kinesio Capture) sparkmotion.com
Spark Motion is an iPhone and iPad app designed for sport coaches, athletes and some medical professionals such as physical therapists. Used and endorsed by Exos (formerly Athletes Performance), the basic model costs $10.49. I found the original version of this app a bit clunky and slow to use, particularly considering the pricetag.
This app can help you record, analyse and document a client’s progress over time and help them refine movement patterns. Features include: slow motion and frame-by-frame playback; split screen and video layering in which you can view two videos for comparison; adjustable postural grid and bulls eye rings; advanced drawing and measurement tools. The Angle tool or Goniometer can be used to measure angles, or rotate objects to a precise angular position.
Spark Motion doesn’t have the focus on sharing videos that Ubersense and Coach’s Eye have. It allows a limited amount of cloud-based storage, although you can pay to increase this (see below).
The Spark Pro add-on, which costs $5.99 per month, enables you to store videos.
Coach My Video coachmyvideo.mobi
Coach My Video is another great app along the lines of Coach’s Eye and Ubersense. The basic model is free, and a great app to use, but I would suggest purchasing the upgrade for $14.99.
Features include frame-by-frame and slow motion video analysis at all frame-rates; the ability to draw on/mark-up your video; a clever ‘STOP+’ function for easier snapshots and pausing between clips; the ability to retake sections of video which can then be merged into a single video. Lots of clever editing tools.
The app enables the sharing of videos via email, iTunes and YouTube directly from the app, and you can post to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Dropbox.
To access more analysis tools you can upgrade to CV Pro for $14.99.
Dartfish is one of the oldest video analysis companies, but it only recently brought its technology to an app. Previously taking the form of expensive software that required a video recorder and a computer, the app now places Dartfish technology within everyone’s reach. The basic model costs $4.99 and has many great editing and sharing features.
Features include: slow motion and frame-by-frame replay; a zoom function; drawing tools; labels for videos and still shots; animated arrows and angles to highlight what the video reveals; and the option to share your opinion using voice or text notes. You can also break down your video into still shots which can be shared without sending the whole video.
You can publish your videos straight from the app via Facebook, Twitter and email.
Although there are no add on apps, there is an option to have the Dartfish software on your computer – however this comes at a cost.
As is apparent, many of these apps have similar features, so the one that best suits you will probably just come down to personal preference. It should also be noted that the five apps evaluated here by no means constitute an exhaustive list, and a little research will reveal more contenders, but any one of them would make a great addition to your training toolkit. By having the ability to keep track of your client’s progress – and visually represent it to them – you will be able to demonstrate a higher level of care and dedication to their continued improvement.
Corey Bocking, M. Coaching, BSc, BEd Specialising in performance-based training with origins in elite sport, Corey is passionate about organising information in a logical and progressive sequence. He has delivered training and education throughout Australia, the UK and UAE for the past seven years. performancetraininginstitute.com.au