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Coach’s Corner: Using Video

For the last several months, I have changed my private lesson format to include a video of every sequence and many drills. While having lots of video can often lead to analysis paralysis, using video doesn’t have to lead to wasting time and being overwhelmed. There are multiple advantages to video during the lesson and as a resource for your students later on. This article breaks down the benefits I’ve found of using video throughout a lesson or class.

Same Perspective
Our first goal is to have the instructor and student view the performance from the same perspective. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth a hundred thousand. By using the I-pad screen, I can watch the video with my student or small group to analyze specific sections of a course. Reviews highlight areas of success and spots that may need adjustments. With slow motion reviews, discussions are more than just the instructor’s opinion of a run. Playing things frame by frame lets students see the nuances of handling that the coach’s experienced eye picks up on easily. This is particularly true when the issue is timing or distance related. 

Immediate Feedback
Review discussions also happen within a minute or two of the actual activity – sequence or drill. This immediacy of the review allows for the discussion to happen while the student can easily relate the “feeling” of the motion or position to what they see on screen. It’s a “fresh” memory and easy to relate too. And, better yet, using a visual, like video, can increase a handler’s spatial awareness when completing a specific move or sequence. Students can make a correction or adjustment to their handling and watch the new video and the corrected “feeling” to see the difference.

Capture the Best
Once home, my students review their problem areas again and can get a superb comparison of the fix or adjustment. One of the largest advantages of having a video library is keeping and re-watching the best performances. The rule is “watch the mistake, delete it and then study the correct performance over and over.” 

Collect Micro Data
Post lesson video analysis allows for micro data collection. This includes small data points throughout your run that influence your performance. Like times for an obstacle performance such as weaves, dog walk or teeter or times for a which-way drill. This information can be used to make decisions about handling paths in the future, or as a reference point for tracking your dogs improved fitness or skill efficiency. 

Once you have a collection of micro data points you can compare your performance at home with videos from competition. This allows you to identify differences in performance in the different environments. Now, you can more creative with your proofing drills or change up your trial schedule or routine to work on a specific issue.

Kathleen & I highly recommend other coaches adopt using video for more than just online agility lessons or classes. The list of benefits for agility goes beyond what I’ve listed above. Bottom line – video data is invaluable when used and when used correctly.