A Coach in your Pocket

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Have you ever filmed yourself swinging a golf club on your phone?  If you have, then you will probably notice that as your swing approaches impact the image becomes blurred because of the speed of the movement and the shaft bends really strangely.  Fast forward to today and there is no more blurring when you record your swing on a smartphone.  In fact the gap in video quality between what high speed cameras and the latest smartphones are capable of is rapidly diminishing.

A few months ago I upgraded my phone and I can now record video at ⅛ its normal speed.  That is recording around 200 frames per second.  Something video cameras weren’t able to do until a few years ago, unless of course you had a huge budget to spend on a camera.

With analysis apps such as Coach’s Eye and Ubersense at very low cost, many coaches are now using their smartphones for their lessons.  While I prefer using a camera, I now use my phone a lot, especially when I am away from Yarra Bend.

Here are some thoughts on how best to use your smartphone for recording golf swings.

  • If you hold the camera in different places each time, your perception of club movement will change quite a lot, so have the camera in the same place each time.
  • Where to position the camera
    • Down the line: hold the camera at the player’s hip height (approx 1 metre off the ground).  Have the camera half way between the player’s toe line and the ball.
    • Front-on: hold the camera at the player’s hip height (approx 1 metre off the ground).  Centre the player with the camera held level.
  • Keep the phone steady by
    • Standing so you are balanced evenly on your feet.
    • Resting the smartphone on a stable object
    • Using a tripod.
  • Make sure the camera is focussed.  Usually this just means waiting for the autofocus to work.
  • Fill the screen as much as possible with the player and their club.  The closer you can get, the clearer the final image.
  • Begin recording before you think the player is ready to start swinging.  You can always trim the footage.
  • Watch the screen on your smartphone while filming to ensure you keep the footage centred and steady.
  • Trim the footage so you save space on your device’s memory.

Swing analysis apps

The two apps I use are Ubersense (iPad & iPhone only) and Coach’s Eye (Android & Apple).  Both have drawing, swing comparison and voice recording tools, although you will need to pay a little extra for them.

I use both Ubersense and Coach’s Eye, especially with players who either live or compete overseas.  Coaching using video is definitely inferior to having the player in front of me, but it can still be very valuable, especially with the swing comparison function.

The advantage of these apps is being able to keep your footage in the one place and then comparing your current swing to those from a few weeks or months ago.

Exporting video

There are many platforms you can export your swing footage to.  The most popular is YouTube where you can choose to share the footage with just a few people, or the whole world!

If you are sharing footage with your coach then Edufii is an excellent option, and the one I use.  It keeps the information, videos and notes private between you and your coach.

While the quality of video you can produce has improved dramatically over the past few years, it won’t help your golf unless you are working on things which will help improve your game.  You will just see the mistakes more clearly.

 

Have you ever thought about online coaching?  If you don’t live in Melbourne, you can have me as your online coach via Athlete Nation.  Click here for a link.

 

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