The How and Why of Filming Swimmers

May 9, 2016
The How and Why of Filming Swimmers

Over the past 12 months, we’ve traveled nearly 35,000 miles, visiting teams, and filming swimmers. Compiling all that data, we realized that we’ve just passed 8,000 lengths of video filmed and evaluated.

When I started filming swimmers years ago, I had always dreamed things would be this easy.  This year is proof that we’re to a point where coaches and swimmers are now able to film, everyday, in every practice, when feedback is needed most, not when you plan, or schedule a “filming day”.

Learning is best done through frequent and consistent feedback. It’s done in bits and pieces, not like cramming for a test, a ton of information a few times a year.

By filming frequent, short clips of your swimmers, and allowing them to see them immediately (by showing it to them while they’re still in the pool), and then immediately uploading that file so you (the coach) and they (the swimmer), can recall that video within 30 seconds, streaming online to their device. There simply is NO better method of communication with this generation.

By combining what they see on themselves, with videos of elite swimmers showing proper technique, over time, the athlete will learn what it’s supposed to look like, and what THEY look like… Leading to a more educated swimmer, and a swimmer that starts to understand the message coming from the coach. Video is the translator between what comes out of the coaches mouth to what the swimmer imagines is being asked.  

We’re not looking for a “direct comparison” between developing athletes and elites, but the image in the mind should be one that’s a more proven method, and the physiology of the young athlete will determine how close it gets.  If you want to compare a swimmer with another swimmer, compare that swimmer with themselves from a month or so prior.  Track the progress of technical changes.

There is no magic in this and I’ll say it again… It’s repeated, consistent, frequent, feedback to the athlete that makes a lasting impact. It’s no longer about “put your hand wider!”, it’s showing them that when you ask as a coach, you’re not seeing the changes. Allow THE swimmer to see how different something must feel for alignment, catch, head position, rotation, width of kick, etc. etc. etc., so THEY can better understand what you’re asking.

With all of these needs, we designed the most user-friendly system, and recommend the simplest tools to accomplish these goals. Our system works in a way that coaches would want it to work. Not overthought, but simplicity combined with the largest library of technical content available.

How we capture video (which is how YOU can capture video):
The iPhone and the Hitcase. Even if you’re an Android user, there just isn’t a quality case for Android devices yet, that will remove your worry about “am I getting the right shot”. The Hitcase has a wide angle lens, which captures full body in lane one. You don’t have to be a great videographer to get the best video, you just have to be able to hold the phone underwater.

If you are an Android user, and you don’t want to switch to using an iPhone, pick up a cheap, used iPhone5 or 5S. Don’t activate it, use it as a camera and wifi device. The iPhone5 is the cheapest solution, but the iPhone5S will allow you to capture slow motion. Something the swimmers totally love.

How we show the video:
Turn the phone around, hold it in front of the swimmer’s face, and play the video. If you were looking at something specific, TELL THEM. The words you use will stay in the swimmer’s mind for at least long enough for them to think about it during the rest of the practice, and when they view it again on their own AFTER practice, the message will still be fresh. Remember, this generation LIVES on their phones. While we’d LOVE to continue to sit them in a room, and go over their videos, or other videos in a setting that meets OUR paradigm, we must transform our message to meet THEIR needs. Deliver these videos directly to them.

How we share the video:


GoSwim Deckshots is by far, the simplest, and most secure method of sharing your videos to your swimmers. Record the video, select USE, and your list of athletes pops up. Click the athletes name, assign the stroke, and queue for upload. You may not want to upload immediately, because if you want to film another swimmer, and an upload is in process, the water will break your signal. Wait until after practice, then upload ALL your videos at the click of one button.

GoSwim Deckshots is COPPA compliant (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), which not only protects the swimmers, but also protects the coaches. All video sharing is approved by the account creation process, and athletes even have the ability to report inappropriate videos.

Swimmers and coaches can recall ANY video either online, or in app, immediately, from anywhere. Imagine tens of thousands of videos that you’ll record over the next decade, where will you store them? How will you catalog the history of each of your swimmers? How will you recall it whenever, wherever, you want? That’s all taken care of.

How we analyze:
When more feedback is needed for a swimmer, don’t overthink the feedback. For a few bucks, you can use Coach’s Eye on your device to produce an evaluation, and when you’re done… SHARE eval, EXPORT from app, OPEN IN GoSwim Deckshots. You’ll be presented with your list of athletes. Tap the athletes name, assign the stroke, and your Coach’s Eye evaluations are in the system, and delivered to your swimmer.

The ENTIRE process is done with the iPhone. Once the videos are uploaded, you can delete all the raw, and evaluated videos from your device. No need hog up all your phone’s storage with swimming videos. In fact, IF you’d like to store one offline, on your device, you can now download any video in the system BACK to your device through our app. This also allows you to pull off a previously uploaded video, open it in Coach’s Eye, and add feedback. Then re-upload the new video back to that athlete’s account.

Combining this system with the power of HOW TO DO IT, with our extensive video library, makes GoSwim the best choice for video education and feedback ever created. Of course, it took us 15 years to create it, but our passion is helping swimmers go faster, and making it easier on coaches to share technical content with their athletes.

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