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Posted in: General

The use of technology in sport

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  • saranicolehilton

    Hi Guys, 

    I was wondering how many of us use tehcnology to aid or bring something different to our sessions/environments?

    If you do, what do you use and why? 

    I'm eager to gain insight into other sports as well as football and see what other coaches do to help their players/athletes develop?

  • AndyP

    I've always used a mix of technologies and think they can be really useful, but the danger to be wary of is getting so drawn into their use that the basics of coaching get forgotten.

    In order of frequency of use:

    1 - Hudl technique app on my iphone - great quick and easy to use video analysis. Also very easy to share with athletes and create review videos with commentary.

    2 - freelap timing gates - fantastically useful for me to track my sprinters speed over distances that are too short to accurantely time by eye/hand. The athletes love charting their progress too. The danger is they get too fixated on performance, rather than technique (which is generally where I want the priority to be in training).

    3 - high speed camera in conjunction with Kinovea shareware software. Nowhere near as user freindly as Hudl, but the trade off it does a lot more and gets better quality pictures - horses for courses really, but where I want something super precise, this is my go-to tool.

    The one thing I would really love is either a force plate or (what would probably be more useful) is a piece of kit I've seen where you can measure the force produced in a jump simply by attaching a unit to your clothing. It would be really useful to have power athletes perform a couple of jumps on the spot in warm up - if their numbers are down, it's probably not worth trying to do a high intensity session that day. Of course I can do this by eye too, but the objectivity of the kit would be useful (and reduce disagreement from athletes who swear blind they are good to go, despite struggling to lift their feet off the ground!)

  • anfy

    I wouldn't be without a video analysis. This can be done from various bases - camera, iPhone, etc, and using one of the many free software tools. It is particularly useful for the more advanced bowls players. They often know what to look for (maybe with a little prodding) and the use of slow motion helps them see for themselves. Nothing beats (in my opinion) a player seeing the evidence of what a coach has been saying ..."All" the coach then has to do is suggest ways of fixing the problem!

    As a result of this, some bowls coaches are preparing a course module on the use of video analysis. This is not currently covered in the coaching training, but use of video is a lot more than pointing a camera at someone. It needs specific observational skills and analysis - if they don't know what to look for, they can't be much help.

  • shootcoach

    Hi Sara

    Like the other replies, I could not do without video. The best app I have found for this is coaches eye. You can get it on trial https://www.coachseye.com  Your account will allow you to use it on your lap-top, tablet, and phone.

  • saranicolehilton

    Hi Andy, 

    Yes I agree it's important to get the balance right. Kinovea is something I have used a lot in my environment when coaching 1 to 1. It's a great tool. I'll look into hudl! 

    Force plate/platforms are really interesting pieces of kit. Calculateling rate of force development when performing certain techniques is really interesting and can help you analyse where an individual may need to improve in order to produce more power. One draw back in my environment is that it creates quite a false environment although it is great for isolating a techniqe/skill, a coach must take into account other aspects within an invasion game e.g. Opposition. But I agree great bit of kit! 

  • saranicolehilton

    I agree Anthea, it's important the coach can identify the mechanics of a technique or a movement to ensure they are giving to correct feedback. 

    Video analysis I feel is becoming more and more prevalent across a range of sports. In my sport, football, it has been used for quite a while however the information that is being provided is becoming more and more detailed - which in turn is helping improve the players development. 

  • charlesinfurna

    Hi everyone.  Great topic Sara!  I coach throwers in the track & field world.  I use my iPad and GoPro Hero4 when taking video of my athletes.  We have a short video analysis review session early in the week as a whole group to discuss what the athletes are seeing in relationship to what I am telling them to focus on.

    I am a high school teacher by trade, and am aware that my throwers, even though in a college/university setting, all learn differently.  During our sessions we discuss footwork, head placement, and general body awareness.  I post some of our videos on YouTube and our team Facebook page.

    Has anyone noticed a difference in athlete performance(s) after using technology in practice, as compared to never using technology in practice or game situations?

    My best,


  • captbowler

    Being a new member I have found some very interesting articles on various aspects of coaching and as this is a subject I endorse I thought I would throw my hat into the ring.I have been using Coach's Eye for some 5 years to Video Lawn Bowlers in my coaching and the  Association of Surrey Bowls Coach's have been using a fix position Camera for much longer in our Coaching Seminars.  Recently we held a workshop for coach's on using Ipads,laptops or a smartphone to video a Bowlers delivery, but because so many coach's are over 60 years they are scared of using technology to assist in their coaching and pupils development.Despite the fact that you can tell a person they are doing something wrong a lot will not accept it but show them and they don't disagree.. Bowls Development Alliance held a standiardisation day in early 2015 about videoing and some of the top lawn bowlers coach's did not have an Ipad or know how to use one  If technology is kept simple old  Bug*** like me will use it and Coach's Eye is a good example.

  • saranicolehilton

    That's really interesting Charles. Do the videos have an effect on the athletes psychologically? During my undergrad I looked at the use of technology to enhance motivation in football players - they watched videos of themselves performing technical aspects of a topic well during training and also used a music of their choice in the background. This showed an increase in intrinsic motivation.

    So in terms of skill acquisition, do the athletes learn at a faster rate in your opinon? 


  • Nollzer

    The iPad apps, I have used are as follows.

    a. Hudhl is excellent. Use it to coach skill acquisition to juvenile players. Take small video clips of great players in match situations direct from TV. Project them with video HDMI cable, prior to training. Use slow motion etc. The players really enjoy this process. Obviousely, coach techniques in the session. Great app for comparison

    b. Video Delay apps. Excellent again. Give player the facility to execute a skill and then watch themselves 1 minute later etc.

    c. Coach note. Excellent. Used to illustrate tactics. Capability to record tactic as video with voice over. This can be disseminated on team whats app etc.

    d. Wiggio.com. Free software for managing groups. 

    e. Sprintimer. As it says on the box. Good. Timing gates etc.

    f. Fitness meter. Good. Various standard fitness tests.

    g. BT coaching. Good app for kids games.

    undoubetedly, Hudhl and coach note have been the most influential on my coaching. Indeed, I use the later for producing shot maps, scoring patterns, kick outs, free kicks. 

  • Nollzer


    Dartfish easy tag for recording your match statistics and key performance indicators in realtime.

  • shootcoach

    Charles. In reply to your question, I think that we have to accept that modern technology can at some point be made into a visionary application, video, printouts, and graphs etc. Then if we consider that our visionary input far outweighs any other form of the learning, then as long as this technology is used not as a short cut, but to endorse what we as coaches are saying, then it must speed up the learning process. I also consider that it helps build up confidence between coach and athlete, as there is nothing like concrete evidence to do that.

  • Ralph

    A Reliance On Science Produces Not Giants

     Do you remember those legends of old? The ones who raised the level of their sport to an art form. The ones who used sticks rather than steel. The ones who drank water from a tap rather than a formulated liquid from a bottle.

     Do you remember those giants?

     And if you had today’s players play with their unscientific equipment, would they play as well?

     In fact, do today’s players with their scientific equipment play as well as they did?

     The athlete has lost his way. He is no longer seen as a human being. Rather he is seen as a skin-enclosed sack of dissectable parts. His brain is imaged. His muscles are torn. His saliva is screened. His movements are filmed.

     He has been taken from his field of play and locked within the clear plastic of a petri dish. He was once a free man that roamed the verdant fairways. He was once a free man who loved the sound of his skates scraping the ice. He was once a free man who played with a racquet and ball.

     Instead of roaming fairways he now roams the polished floors of ivory towers. Instead of hearing the scratch of skates against ice he now hears the high-pitched sounds of beeping machines. Instead of holding a racquet he now holds an electronically studded wand.

     If one wishes to add a semblance of legitimacy to his argument he need only begin his statement with, “The science says . . .” Science has become the answer to everything. And this is because the wrong questions are being asked.

     If an athlete is in the zone, does he care what parts of his brain lights up on the MRI? If he hits a powerful drive does it matter what his swing speed was? If he hits a perfect fade does it matter what his path to face ratio was?

     Have machines provided a greater understanding into the nature of how instruments work? Yes.

     Have they provided a greater understanding of ball flights and ball-club interactions? Yes.

     Have they provided a greater understanding of the effects of various factors upon the different sections of the brain? Yes.

     Should the athlete himself have anything to do with this? NO!

     The athlete is the specimen that is being studied. If the scientists wish to translate HIS art into THEIR science let them do so. Let them understand. Let them watch him and analyze him and dissect his movements.


     Let them keep their journals to themselves. Let them cover their computer screens. Let them keep their raw data locked inside their cluttered offices.

     The only science that the athlete needs is his own idiosyncratic, personal, sloppy, patchwork science that he has accumulated through decades of toil in his trade. That ridiculous and unscientific science that only he knows. And that only he needs to know.

     The science of adjusting the bill of his hat before the shot. The science of loosening his index finger on the grip. The science of clearing his throat before he jumps. The science of slapping his stick three times on the ice before he takes the face off.

     The science which comes from his liver rather than his brain. The science that is completely unscientific. The science that is not rehearsed. The science that can never be written about in journals. The science that does not correspond to reason.

     The science that a scientist will never understand. But which the athlete can reproduce in spades.

     While it may provide an element of benefit for the athlete to perform in front of a machine, he will eventually begin to adjust his game for the data rather than the field of play. He will eventually begin to react according to the numbers rather than to the complex but wholly familiar situation that confronts him on the field.

     The science of the athlete is not the science of muscle or brain. His is the science of fingertips. His is the science of the taste on his tongue. His is the science of perceiving the slight breeze coming off the Irish Sea. The one that instruments cannot measure. The one that only skin can feel.

     His science is not the science of analysis. It is the science of FEELING. The science of KNOWING. Not in the contours of his brain. But within the chambers of his heart.

     This is what must be fostered. This is what I emphasize with players.

     For this is the type of science that no MRI can capture. And no electrode can detect.

     This is the science of the athlete. And its magic lies in its being unscientific.

  • Nollzer

    I agree with Ralph on many levels and recognise that technology while important is really only a small part of the developmental jigsaw. It certainly is no replacement for implicit and experiential learning. 

    Indeed, it is the personal attributes, attitudes, emotions, and spiritual/moral values together with E.I. which perhaps determines the Warriors and sports artist development.

    As they say facilitate character and substance first. Unfortunately the YouTube generation are best reached by technology and images. However, these can be utilised to reach their inner inspiritational sporting soul while increasing their sporting prowess.

  • robertkmaaye
    On 05/10/16 8:34 AM, Sara Hilton said:

    I'll look into hudl! 

    Hi Sara

    Just thought I would jump in here and say if you wanted a bit more info on Hudl  Jon Woodward reviewed it this blog HudlTechnique (formerly Ubersense) Reviews. Although Val Andrews has provided a good summary below.

    Some other apps have been reviewed as well such as EasyCoach by Andrew Bradshaw as well as Coach’s Eye by Andy Edwards & David Turner

    Hope they help!



  • Paul.bennett

    Quality piece Ralph, Couldn't agree more!

  • anfy

    Just thought I would mention something.

    I know the use of an iPhone, tablets, etc is gaining popularity over the "old-fashioned" way of using a video camera and laptop (and Kinovea). However, with the latter, our Club has an old laptop we use specifically for coaching. We do not have a specific iPhone.

    I attended a Safeguarding and Protecting Children course last night (to keep my certificate up to date) and the presenter pointed out the potential danger of prosecution when using personal iPhones, etc to record children. He stated that his club has a "coaches only" one. I wonder how many people haven't thought of this? I certainly hadn't. Given that anyone under 18 is legally considered a child in England, it may be something to consider for your own personal protection.

  • Nollzer

    For anyone looking for jump mats, try Spanish based chronojump-Boscosystems @chronojump.org. Less 200 Euro, I think for hardware and the software is free.

    Although it is a few years since, I investigated this option.

  • jaansaks

    Great topic, Sara! Most of the answers here focus on technique analysis / measurement apps, but is anyone around here using any software for team and training management? I am related to Sportlyzer myself so my opinion is biased, but what are other coaches using for these reasons?

  • Nollzer

    The player management system, I use is Wiggio. The great news is it is free. It has numerous capabilities including

    a. E mail, text, voice recording and video messaging

    B. File management

    c. Ability to take polls

    d. Video submission

    e. File sharing 


    g. Meeting function

    h. Calendar

    i. Alerts

    check it out at Wiggio.com.

    obviousely, the most used communications app for football teams is What's App, with a mgt and players group etc.

    also used is google forms for pre match goal setting, post match review and health and wellness.

    hope this helps.


  • LawrieOK

    Hey Rob,

    Compliments of the Season to you and yours, and to the ConnectedCoaches Community.

    My twitter account just delivered this gem which I would love to add to the conversation and look forward to hearing the feedback from users of HUDL etal.


  • I think it was Lord Kelvin who said something like "You can't improve what you can't measure".

    In triathlon we use sports watches a lot across 3 sports. Most athletes are not professionals and tend to work alone. They need a reference and the watch provides it across 3 sports. The favourites seems to be the Garmin range. Their session results are fed through to the Garmin site, then on to Strava if that is what they want or to Training Peaks.
    Over the winter we're seeing a lot of people using Zwift for virtual cycling. The support in Zwift for a coach is awful, but doing the session with a watch and a power meter you get a lot of feedback. But due to the race feel a lot of people overcook  their sessions. Essentially it is an expensive computer game, but it keeps people motivated over the winter. On Zwift you see a lot of pro cyclists doing their winter work, this week I've seen guys from Lotto-Soudal, Orica and others.

    We also use Go Pro camera's to observe technique, particularly in the pool. A waterproof camera is handy for cycling and running too as the UK weather is very changeable.

    This combination of kit helps build athletes. The basic model of importance - genetics, motivation, training provides two elements we can stimulate and control as coaches, the motivation and training. I find measuring what has been achieved in training motivates athletes.

    So my kit list for a triathlete in order of importance is GPS watch, heart rate monitor, speed/cadence sensor, power meter.  Then we can measure and improve.

  • Patdirector

    Excellent post Ralph in that the variables that drive Knowledge of Performance & Knowledge of Results are

    unique to the person concerned. The current preoccupation with the mechanistic and reductionism - largely

    driven by commercial forces  - is having a detrimental impact on the holistic. The more one subscribes to a

    bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach to training and development, the harder it is to understand why this is

    the case.

  • Ralph

    Thanks Pat,

    Unfortunately, it’s getting worse; I’ve learnt, some countries are now;

     genetic testing, immune testing, gastric analysis, smart drugs; all on children 

    despite a few countries ‘encouraging’ financially for athletes to procreate, none of them have produced a successful athlete, DNA is far more complex than humans think.


    How would coaches feel about being enforced to wear body camera’s, as the Police do, in order to protect themselves from, false litigation? A lot of coaches don’t think it will happen, not knowing, it's already happening.

    were losing sight of what it is to be human.

  • robertkmaaye
    On 22/12/17 8:12 PM, Lawrie O'Keeffe said:

    Hey Rob,

    Compliments of the Season to you and yours, and to the ConnectedCoaches Community.

    My twitter account just delivered this gem which I would love to add to the conversation and look forward to hearing the feedback from users of HUDL etal.


    Thanks Lawrie hope you had a good Xmas and NY!

    This is a great find! Just started a conversation around it (What are your thoughts on subscription models for performance analysis software?) in the Embracing Technology group

    Hopefuly get a few replies and we can see what the rest of the community thinks

    All the best


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