Dartfish Best Practices- Video Analysis


I have used Dartfish about 20 times to investigate the truth of what was going on with athletes. Without real tables of data, video analysis is just video review, something radically different. I tend to use a simple export of quicktime with dropbox to share in order for athletes to see what is going going on as homework. Slow motion is a great way to see things but we can’t coach slow motion and our cues need to understand the temporal demands and use minimal interventions. Lately a transition into iPhones and tablets is creating a thirst for more video, but I am not seeing a good use of the technology. Here are basic problems I see with with novice coaches and some solutions I believe can make a big difference with videoing athletes and doing actual analysis versus a tech version of connect the dots.

Where to Stand– One of the most basic needs is knowing where to stand to properly get a glimpse of what needs to be viewed. Strength coaches are good with squats in the weight room but on the track or field they are often lost. When coaching you need to use more gestures as even the loudest voice needs some visual instruction. I see more and more athletes not making eye contact or even having the ability to listen to directions. Coaching is easier on paper, but at least have a simple plan.

Angles and Distance– Front view, rear view, side view, top view, bottom view, 3/4 view. Performance is more side view, medical is more front view, 3/4 is often coaching view, and top view is more spectator view. Learn to use all appropriately. When videotaping athletes I like being on the top of many HS or small college stands at the 60m mark for both hurdles and 100m for meets. For practice the other side of the track provided nobody is using the infield and zooming in all the way. One can pan easily so you get the entire run from the side. Straight ahead I video by zooming in all the way and zooming out as the athlete comes closer. This is great to see lateral right and left symmetry and foot strike.

Analysis versus Review- If you are doing live review just show the clip in slow motion or freeze a frame, but coaching groups this is going to mean that you are loosing time twice. First slowing down showing it means your eyes are on a screen longer than real time and not on the track. I don’t mind doing this with four or less people but teams this is a killer. Angles and other analysis stuff needs to be done at a desktop. The reason they call desktop computers workstations is that is where you do the work! We need more eyes on life screens than computer screens during practice.

Testing and Tables- Analysis should be summarized into tables with the stills printed on PDF reports with the hyperlink to the video file. Tables are important as talk is cheap. Iist what you think is important and organize it in a word table template report or something more specific such as HTML5 editors for web or mobile view. I love tables as box scores are familiar. Eventually we are going to see more than just kinematic data, such EMG streams and other values so a table is the best option for summary.

The program Dartfish requires more work, but coaches need to know that mining for gold is better than panning for fools gold. I have found that we need more extreme data sets such as easy and convenient gross issues and more rich and detailed deep analysis from Dartfish and other video analysis systems.
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Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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