Athletes rely on coaches to provide constructive feedback to help improve their game. Coaches can be a great resource to these athletes since the coach can see movements such as minor adjustments in form that the athlete cannot see. While this is a great way to improve fundamentals and conditioning, coaches may not always be available (depending on your location and/or budget).
Coach’s Eye is an app which uses the iPad camera to record a person performing an action. Once a video is recorded, the video can be manipulated and annotations can be added to show proper form or changes that need to be made. These videos can be sent straight to the athlete for study or shared to other people of interest. The unique feature of Coach’s Eye is the ability for the average user to appreciate seeing themselves performing the action and make adjustments as necessary. TechSmith Corporation, the developers of Coach’s Eye graciously provided a promo code to review this app.
As previously mentioned the app will record video to then be analyzed. Video can be pre-recorded within the iPad camera roll or it can be recorded directly within the app. Once a video is recorded the user has the ability to preview the video or to analyze it.
Previewing the video will playback the previously recorded video. This allows the user to make sure the video captured all of the necessary angles and motions. Once a user presses analyze, a menu bar will load showing actionable drawing tools. These drawing tools can be used to properly outline the proper or improper motion to help drill down fundamentals.
The drawing tools that are included within the app include:
- Freeform Arrow
- Freeform Line
The colors of the lines can be changed by first selecting the annotation and then pressing the selected annotation again, or by performing a double tap on the drawing tool.
If you make a mistake while adding an annotation an undo button is available to remove the last annotation.
Also, if you decide that a clear canvas is needed and would like to start over, a clear button wipes out all annotations for a fresh start. These drawings will be compressed on the image of the video or the whole video so they will be appear when sharing the result.
Coach’s Eye also provides slow motion video playback. At the bottom left corner of the app is a slow playback button. Also across the bottom of the device is a wheel which the user can use to navigate to the exact spot desired in the video. The wheel allows the video to move frame by frame.
Once the video is annotated and you have examined it in slow motion, you might want to provide audio feedback on the video. This can be especially useful if you are going to be sending the video to your student or team. While in the analyze screen a microphone is always present in the top center of the screen. Pressing it will start recording the audio and pressing it again will stop the audio.
When analyzing video I did find it confusing to save the annotations made. It seems that pressing the back button to the recorded video menu will not save the currently made annotations or prompt the user to save the annotations. The only way to officially save the annotations is to record audio about the video being analyzed which forces the annotations to be saved as well. I think this can be confusing and not all users may use the voice recording feedback. If I am using the app to video myself performing a golf swing, I will definitely use the annotations to draw on it but the audio to myself may not be needed. Of course to force a save of annotations a user can press the record button and then stop it so that no audio is recorded but this seems like a work-around that should not be needed.
Coach’s Eye uses a grid pattern to show the recorded videos. The annotation made on the analyzed video will also show in the video thumbnails and the video thumbnails will have a Analysis tag to separate them from the non-analyzed videos. Videos can be renamed to make it easy to separate and this will also help if you plan to use the search feature within the app. Within the app there are also different subsections to show which videos are the originals, analyzed, starred or a user can view all of the videos at once.
The bottom of the app shows three sections of the app which are videos, resources, and exchange. However, a user will most likely spend most of their time within the video section of the app. The Resources pane allows the user to tell a friend about the app through a variety of methods. The Exchange pane shows the recent videos which have been shared or uploaded to different services.
Pressing a video thumbnail leads to the screen where a user can rename the video, analyze the video, and share the video. As previously mentioned the analyze screen utilizes a drawing menu on the side of the screen which includes several drawing tools to annotate on the video. The feature that I like the most was the frame by frame progression that is controlled by the wheel at the bottom of the video. I thought this was a great feature to include and a great way to implement it.
One the best features of Coach’s Eye should be the sharing functionality. This feature seems like a valuable tool for a coach or teacher to be able to share the students form and progress with them. Coach’s Eye supports sharing a screenshot or the whole video that is recorded. To record a screenshot just pause the video recording and add audio feedback to complete the analysis of the screenshot. If you prefer to share the whole video the user will have to record the audio while the video is playing.
Also it is important to note that a TechSmith account will be required to share your videos.
Coach’s Eye supports several services and methods to share the screenshots and videos. The items can be shared through iMessage and email, uploaded to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and imported into other apps such as Evernote.
At first, I thought the app was not working properly because I expected to be able to share the whole video as my only exporting option. I was testing the app by using recordings of my golf swing so I wanted to be able to share the whole video with annotations. I wish the app was more intuitive about analyzing video and what will actually be shared with other users when completing the sharing process. It took a while for me to get comfortable with all of the sharing functionality and what was actually going to be shared.
If you would like the whole video to be shared make sure to have the video playing when providing audio feedback.
One item I wish Coach’s Eye supported was the ability to draw and remove annotations on videos at different moments of the video. Such as using the golf swing example, if I could draw annotations on the video for my setup, then have those annotation disappear and draw new annotations on my follow-through.
Coach’s Eye is designed for a relatively niche market, but it brings together several features that make it stand out. One significant improvement would be for the developers to make the analysis and sharing functionality more intuitive and clear.
Overall Coach’s Eye worked well with recording video and adding the ability to draw annotations on the video. It was an eye-opening experience to see my golf swing on video and has helped me adjust it so that my swing is more in plane. Coach’s Eye would be a very useful tool for a coach or anyone who would like to visually see their sports motion on camera and utilize the ability to add and share annotations.