Lesson learned: why it’s important to use video

I’m never shy about pointing out problems with things other fastpitch softball coaches do or say. So it’s probably about time I told a story on myself which illustrates a great point: no matter how good you think you are, it never hurts to shoot a little video to check on what you’re saying. 

Last year I was working with a girl named Megan in a lesson. She had a good swing overall, but when she finished I could see that she hadn’t gotten off her back side enough. At least that’s what I thought I saw. Instead of having her toe down, heel up and an L in her back leg, her heel was pointed backwards and her back leg was pretty much straight. 

She wasn’t feeling the lack of drive, so I pulled out my trusty Kodak Playsport video camera and shot a swing off a tee at 60 frames per second (fps for those who don’t know video shorthand). I figured if I could show her what she was doing wrong she’d be able to correct it. 

By now you’ve probably guessed what happened. I stepped through the video frame-by-frame, and everything looked good. When she got to contact her hips had come through, she was up on her toe, and her back leg was in a lovely “L.” Continuing through she held that position until after extension, then sort of settled back into what I’d seen to catch her balance. 

“Hmmm,” I said. “I guess I suck. Remember everything I told you about finishing? Forget it. You’re doing fine.” 

Since that time I’ve learned a valuable lesson about the importance of shooting video whenever possible. Most of the time I’m right, and can use it to illustrate the point. After all these years I’ve gotten pretty good at diagnosing skills in real time.

But every now and then it shows me that what I think I see, and what is actually happening are two different things.

Footnote: Little pocket videos such as the Kodak Playsport are pretty cheap, and make a good investment. Yes, you can also shoot video on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, and even telestrate it, but usually there are a couple more steps before you can use it. That’s why I like the dedicated video camera. You can shoot it and show the video right away, saving time that can be applied into working on the skills.

So how about you? Ever have an experience where you’ve believed one thing but video told you something else? Go ahead and share — you’re among friends.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on June 27, 2012, in Coaching. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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