Benefits of Filming for Swimming
Camera, Set,…Swim? Filming isn’t new to sports, in fact almost every sport played is in some way filmed and shown to athletes to improve their technique. However, until recent technological advances, filming swimmers was something that posed an obstacle. We are now able to get various shots underwater that allow coaches and swimmers the ability to use video as an advanced training tool. There are many benefits of filming both for coaches and swimmers. For coaches, it allows them to better analyze specific and even minute technique errors. Swimmers can no longer use the excuse “I know I’m not doing that in my stroke” or “I’m not over reaching because I don’t feel like I am”. Swimmers now can see their improper technique from all different angles, which helps coaches teach and swimmers learn.
The easiest way to film is above the water. Coaches are quickly able to see whether the swimmer’s head position is in alignment, and if the swimmer has the correct entry. These videos can be done with any type of video camera device. The more complicated shots in the past have been the underwater shots. Prior to underwater video-taping, coaches were unable to analyze what was going on under the waves, missing an important perspective. That is until now. Many cameras are now waterproof, which has allowed coaches and swimmers to get shots beneath the surface. There are many waterproof cameras on the market. The following are some notable and reliable cameras: GoPro, Coach Cam, Kodak Playsport, and Flip (w/ waterproof case) to name a few. You can also use any camera you already have and purchase a waterproof casing as most brands design specific casings for their products.
What many coaches have done in the past is creatively build their own video recording tripods. Many use PVC piping and configure the camera on wheels to have it move along the pool deck for side angles. With the popularity of filming swimmers increasing, you can find various tri-pod systems that make it very easy to film on the pool deck. For example, AquaCam is a system that provides the complete kit including the camera.
Another option is to have the swimmers film themselves. A single swimmer is now able to set up a personal video system like the one available by EyeSwim. This device is a great way to record your swim and instantly review and analyze your swim. You are able to swim a 50, review the clip and make the needed corrections, and start the next repeat with your new technique in mind. What makes this particular video system so great is its portability and ease of use. The video system breaks down small enough to fit in your swim bag…talk about convenient!
Once you have the recorded video, there have been major advancements with how coaches and swimmers can analyze and share the video files. While previous video analysis programs have cost a fortune and were typically only used for Olympic level swimmers, new programs such as the FINIS Stroke Lab give coaches and swimmers the opportunity to analyze video at a reasonable price. The Stroke Lab tool allows both coaches and swimmers to slow down the video, make text and audio comments, and save the video online. Stroke Lab also includes tools for measuring a swimmer’s body angle, drawing a rectangle to focus on a specific area, and creating curved lines with the spline tool. The FINIS Stroke Lab comes as a Team Platform where coaches have the ability to add and manage athletes for easy communication and sharing in one place on the “cloud”. Coaches now have an online teaching tool that allows for any swimmer on their team to review, edit, and share videos.
So in order to make the most out of filming, the first thing you will need is a willing swimmer, which is typically not hard to find as most swimmers are very enthusiastic about getting their stroke filmed. Next, you need to make sure that you have a camera and technical equipment that is capable of filming under water. And lastly, you should have a video analysis program such as the FINIS Stroke Lab where you can archive and keep track of your swimming progression. In the end, you will be taking advantage of video analysis so that you get one step closer to improving your swimming program or your personal swimming technique.