Effective Use of Video During Practice by John Bradley (2008)


[Introduction] My name is Bill Rose and I have been given the opportunity to introduce to you our next speaker, John Bradley. In essence, I would like all of you to know that I am very excited about staying at an age group presentation. I do not get to see too many and with John talking and what I have heard about him – I am absolutely going to be staying for this presentation. John – as some of you may know – has spent the last 15 years as a coach in Wisconsin, with the Elmberg Swim Club, with Madison Aquatic Club and most recently, he was with the Waukesha Express. He has now, since April of 2008, moved on to Rochester, Minnesota with the ORCAS Organization as the Senior Programs Director, but has had many, many years of great age group success. He is basically known – not only for his coaching ability, but for his ability to structure and to be so well planned. He actually also earned the Coach of the Year award of age group swimming in the state of Wisconsin – both in the year of 2005 and 2006 and he won five consecutive State Titles there. So I am excited and I hope you are, as much as I am. Let’s listen to John Bradley.

[Coach Bradley] It was a very generous introduction. This is a very exciting opportunity for me and I would like to thank John Leonard for allowing me to try something like this. We are going to talk about video. How you can use it? How you can use it in your practices and how you can try to make it a part of what it is you do exactly?

It is important that if you are going to use a video and you are planning on using it, you need to figure out how exactly you want to use it. A lot of people make the mistake of – they see something and they think, “ You know, I really want to bring this into my program,” and they go out and they buy $3,000 worth of gear and then it just sits there because either it is too cumbersome or they don’t understand what they bought or it doesn’t work the way they wanted it to work and they have wasted their resource and they should have bought medicine balls or something.

What we are going to talk about is to break it down a little bit in terms of what kind of stuff is out there, what it costs, different ideas about how to use and how you disseminate your message -– how are you going to get the video out to your kids. I have some different examples of it that I am going to show you. You are probably not going to be able to see it very well, but you will be able to see some of it really well, so I apologize in advance – the images might be a little bit small, but let’s get started here.

The first thing with equipment – we will talk about camcorders. There are a couple of different kinds of camcorders – probably more than I am going to mention here. The first is Mini-DV. Mini-DV is a tape camera. It uses small video tapes. You probably all have seen a lot of people using these this weekend. The nice thing about a Mini-DV camera – you can exchange the tapes – go camera to camera. You can move it around and do a lot of different things with it. Mini-DVs you can also plug into a computer. You can do video editing with it. Tape quality – picture quality from Mini-DV, in my opinion, is better than anything else that you are going to find on the market. The problem is – is that Mini-DV is a dying format and I think that over the next few years you are going to see these cameras become more and more obsolete and become replaced with more solid state cameras – things that we will talk about here.

The next kind of camera is a Mini-DVD camera – those are video cameras that use small recordable DVD’s. I generally don’t like using those cameras. I find them very difficult to do editing with. The media is expensive and the media gets scratched up pretty easily as well. The DVD’s themselves – I haven’t had a lot of luck with them so I don’t really use them.

Hard drive cameras: Some of you might have those kinds of cameras – a camera where there is no tape – there is no nothing – you just plug the thing in – boom and you are going. I saw a lot of these out at Junior Nationals this year where coaches would go – they would watch – they would do their thing – then they bring their kid over and watch the race and then that would be it. Hard drive cameras are nice, but I don’t like how you can’t move the data easily. You need some kind of an interface to move it. You need to put it on a computer if you want to start moving it around. That might work for some people – I am not sure that for what you want to do it is going to work and the cameras are still pretty expensive. They generally run about 600 bucks and up.

The last are cameras that use an SB card – just little media – you know – things in your phone. Some of you probably have phones that can record video. Flip cameras. I don’t know if anybody has a flip camera. They are just little box cameras – they go for about 150 bucks. They record 2 gigs of stuff – real neat little cameras to use and I think that that is where this is all going. I think the picture quality – the image quality and the ease of editing that data is going to get easier and easier as they come along.

So – different kinds of cameras that you can use. Where do you buy this stuff? You can buy it obviously at Circuit City, Best Buy, all that stuff. If you are on a budget, check and see if they have got stuff that has been returned or if they have re-manufactured stuff. For what you are going to be using, you can usually get that stuff at about a 40% discount. It is nice to be able to not put as much money as you would be putting in brand new stuff. It will save your club a lot of money over time.

E-Bay and Amazon: I don’t know how many of you shop online. You can get great deals on this stuff online, especially the used cameras (some of which you need to get if you want to use the underwater stuff because we are kind of in between formats right now). But I will get into that. Again, there are a lot of places on E-Bay and Amazon where you can save a lot of money.

Craig’s List: I don’t know if anybody here uses Craig’s list. It is a classified ad online. It is www.craigslist.org – I probably bought about 3-400 dollars worth of stuff on Craig’s List. That is where I got one of my Tivo units. I got a television on Craig’s List for $50. – a 32 inch TV that we used to watch video on in practice. That is another way to just save yourself a lot of money easily. If you don’t have to put a thousand bucks into something – don’t put a thousand bucks into something. Save yourself the money and put it into something you want.

What else are you going to need in addition to the camera? You are going to need AV cables. AV cable: This end is going to plug into your TV. It is a regular component jack; you got a video, two audio. This (other) end is going to plug into the AV out part of your camcorder. The camcorder is generally going to have two ports. It is going to have an AV out. In some cases what you want is an AV in/out, but again – we will get to that. It is also going to have a digital out. That digital out is a little bit different and that is the second kind of cable you are going to want – it is called a fire wire cable.

Fire wire cable: Depending on what kind of computer you have – one end is going to have a USB port or a fire wire port and the other end is a 4 pin or a 6 pin DV import. You can’t really see on what I have got here. I have got some pictures of it. 4 pins is a square. 6 pins is kind of like a trapezoid. If you take your stuff in to whereever you are going to buy it and you say, “Here’s what I got,” they will be able to help you out. And you can usually return it. It is not a big deal, but you will get used to returning things a lot if you start doing a lot of video.

Televisions are the next thing we are going to talk about. You know, right now we are in kind of a weird point with televisions. I am sure that most of your families are getting ready for this change over to digital TV. You can probably get a TV from your membership for nothing. If you are looking for a 27 inch TV, put a note out in your newsletter and say, “Hey – we need a TV.“ Somebody, I am sure, will come up with something. Or you go on Craig’s List and get yourself an analog TV. You are not going to be watching a PV signal (those are not going to be around after April) and unless you are going to, you can plug it into cable TV and it will work just fine. A lot of people do not realize that, so if you can get a cheap TV, the cheaper the better.

I also have a 20 inch flat screen TV that I use that has a built-in DVD player – life saver. If you have rainouts or things like that, just bring a couple of videos with you (a couple of GoSwim videos or something like that) and show them to your kids. Kids start to learn something – you’ve got kind of a coach in the box right there – especially for little kids. It is a really good way to do things.

You can also use the flat screen TVs and the smaller TVs to do some fun things with the Tivo unit which is what we will talk about next. Tivo or a DVR Unit: A Tivo unit and a DVR unit are digital video recorders. They use a big hard drive inside and all they do is record video. When you use a Tivo in conjunction with a camera, it allows you to slide back in time while you are continuously taping with the camera. So, depending on how you set up the Tivo, you can go back as many as 45 minutes to an hour while the camera is continuously recording all the way through.

You see this used a lot with divers. I don’t know if any of you have diving teams. They will set it up on the deck. The diver goes in, they dive off, they come up, they come out, they look at the TV. The Tivo has been set so that it is on a two minute time slide behind where it actually was. So she is actually watching her dive two minutes later in real-time and you are taping continuously. You are not monkeying around with a camera or rewinding tape or anything. You can just run people through this constantly and it is a great way to do turns and starts – and fun things like that. DVR units are the same way – it just takes a little while to get to learn how to use them.

COMPUTERS: I am sure everybody here has a computer. The computer is an incredibly powerful tool. You can do a lot of very exciting things in terms of editing: putting together racing footage, compiling racing information. You can just do so much with it. We will go through some different things on video in the computer.

If you are going to start using a computer, you need to think about a couple of things such as the editing software you should get. I know that USA Swimming loves Dart Fish software – I think it is great too. But for most of what I do – in fact for pretty much everything I do – I use the most basic editing software there is. I use the I-movie software that comes on my Mac and I use it because it is easy. I do not need to lay grids over things. I don’t need to do side by side stuff. I just don’t use it that much. I am looking for quick and dirty – show the stuff to my kids – they get a look at it – they see themselves underwater and then we move forward. So, I would recommend that as you go forward with this you should get something that is easy to use. I prefer Macintosh computers. I have two Macs. They are great machines. They do not break down much.

If you are going to use a computer to do a lot of video, I would strongly recommend that you do not use the computer that you do all of your work on to do video. Sooner or later the video will crash your computer and the last thing you want is all your email and everything to go down just because you were working on Jimmy’s turn six times through. So again – I would recommend doing a stand alone computer. Initially when you start off, you can do it. But you will want to stop. You want to get those things apart as soon as possible. Then again for editing software – the easier the better. A really easy program I think is I-movie. I think the Windows Movie Maker that comes stock with pretty much every Microsoft computer – that works great too.

And then there are stand-alone cameras. These are the cameras that you are going to use if you are going to go underwater. These cameras are awesome. I use the Coach Cam cameras. I have one of these which is a stand-alone camera. I have another one which is the camera on a stick. They are awesome cameras. Coach Cam, on their website, has a page that has all the cameras that work in conjunction with these cameras. I think a lot of people get confused about how these work so I will talk about that a little bit. If you are going to record video from an underwater camera like this (these can also be used over the water), this camera is going to plug into something that is going to record. Whether it is going to plug into a Tivo, whether it is going to plug into a camcorder, it has got to plug into something to record. You can’t just turn this thing on and plug it in and then play it back off this camera. You have to buy something else to record the media from the camera. So you need to make sure that you start to look at these different options and come up with different things that this is going to work with, if that is in fact the direction you want to go.

Using the equipment: Just go through a couple of ideas. Let’s say you are by yourself. Of course, with USA Swimming you are never really by yourself – you have a guard on the deck and you are watching practice. But you are by yourself and you have 30 kids – how are you going to use a video camera in the water? Well, what if you have got a single coach, a video camera , a TV to watch on, and you have got a tripod set up. Or maybe you do not need the tripod – depending on what you are doing.

Example #1: You set up your camera on the tripod and you record your dry-land. The kids are giving you a hard time in your dry-land. It is not working out – have them do it. Set the camera up. Do not even tell them it is on. Let them go for 20 minutes and then sit them down, put it in and say, “Okay, tell me about this dry-land.” Then watch it and let them take a look at what they are doing and then just ask them simple questions. “Is this what we are trying to do? Is this going to make us better?” Easy way to get a quick attitude correction with your kids.

You can set up your camera to record starts for 20 minutes and just work with the group. Again, set it up so that you can take three lanes and stagger your starts – boom, boom, boom. Take ten minutes of it and get them out. Watch it. Get them back on the blocks – boom, boom, boom. Get them out. Have them watch it again. They are going to see something and they are going to correct something. It works even better if you have got a tape of what you want them to look like or if you can use an example of what you want them to look like because then they can pantomime.

You know, I think it was “” who said, “We have got 10 million little girls who want to dance like Brittany Spears and they all know how to dance like her because they watch her on TV.” Well, if you can get 20 of your kids to dive like Michael Phelps – just have them watch him and then say, “Okay, show me how he does it.” And let them play around with it. It’s an easy way to start making some corrections in your groups. You set the camera on a tripod and have them record turns – let them watch the turns. Break out a stopwatch. Say, “Okay, we are going to time these turns. How long does it take for you to get from the point where your hand is on the wall to the point that your feet on the wall? How long does it take from the point you take your last stroke to the point that you get your feet on the wall in a flip turn?” And let them actually do it and then set a time. Say, “From the point you put your hand in to the point your feet are on the wall in a flip turn – we want that to be 8/10 of a second. This is how much time it is. You are 1.2, you are 1.4, you are 1.6, you are 2.4 – we have to work on that.” Whatever it is and then have them start doing this stuff. Then they can go back. They can watch it and let them time it so they are participating in it. Again, easy way to get them to start thinking about doing the little things faster. And send your kids off on a basic set.

Let’s say you have just got a basic $150. flip video camera – just a little SD card camera. You send your kids off on twenty 50’s on a minute. The kids take off. They are doing their thing. everybody knows how to do the twenty 50’s on a minute and you say, “Here is what we want to work on. We want to work on high elbows. We want to work on a 6 beat kick.” Walk around and just start taping them. Try to tape every single one of them and then pull them out and tell them what they are doing right. “This looks awesome! Look at how good you look here. Look at this – this is good stuff. Your elbows are looking awesome, you are really doing a great job, but this kick – oh – it’s killing me. We have got to make this better.” And that is the way that you start to get them thinking about what is going on and they get the novelty of seeing it.

A lot of these little cameras – what you can do is you can plug them into a – they come with a little AV out – you can plug them into a TV. The picture quality isn’t the greatest, but it is video. Throw it on there. Get the group out and say, “Hey, this is what we are doing. This is looking good, this isn’t looking good.” But give them that feedback right away. Record individual races at your meets so you can give that feedback right away. At juniors, I watched a bunch of coaches breaking out the cameras and taping the races. I actually watched a coach tape an 800 and she didn’t realize that the camera wasn’t taping; she stood there the whole time taping the race and that is a familiarity issue with your equipment. That’s not fair to that person – she didn’t know – she was doing a favor for somebody.

But the kids are going to learn. I think it also sends a message that this is important. “When I am telling you not to breathe into turns and you are breathing into the walls and here is you doing it – it is hurting you. When I am telling you to make sure you’re kicking six off the wall – you are not doing it and it is hurting you. Here is where you are getting passed. Here is where you are getting beat.” And you are giving that feedback right away after the race and they can see it. Probably 70% of us learn better visually than we do in terms of hearing things or our own self experience. Visual is incredibly important and when you can show kids what they are doing and give them an idea of what they are doing and show them – it is huge for those kids.

When you are recording things, you can keep all of this media and you can save it. One of the things that we used to talk about at Express and Blaine was really good at this. (Blaine Carlson is the head coach at Express) He was really, really good at keeping these tapes and we would have these tapes of Kyle when he was 10, 11, 12 years old. Blaine had a bunch of the tapes and his parents had a bunch of tapes that he had done – of all of his races. We always thought that it would be slick to be able to put together kind of a collage of what he looked like when he was 10, 11, 12 and so on and so forth.

I was talking with Bob Gillett, who is at Golden West now when he was at Arizona Sports Ranch and he was telling me that Lacy Niemeyer and Garrett Weber-Gale came through the Sports Ranch when they were 10 and 11 years old. He said, “I want to see those tapes again. I want to see what they were doing – to see if they were holding the things that they did – what made them really special when they were little to what they were doing to make them special when they are older.” As the technology gets better, saving this stuff is going to get easier and easier and you can use that any way you want.

You can put together a promo for your team and post it on your website. You can put together a slide show at the end of your season. You can do all those little things that mean a lot because people can see them and it is just cool for them. They like it. They like what is going on.

Two coaches – again – this is basic. You got two coaches, a camera, a TV, maybe a tripod – you don’t even need a TV for half of that stuff. Set up a practice – 5 lanes are running with one coach. One (lane) is running with one coach; we are working on one thing with the camera. We are rotating the kids through and one coach is just getting them out – looking at it – getting them out – looking at it. You are taping it. You put on a TV. You work with that group doing some kind of a rotation where every ten minutes you switch a lane so lane 6 moves into lane 1. Lane 1 moves into lane 2 and so on and so forth. Every time you are working with five or six kids – that one coach is just taping – those kids are getting feedback right away and they are seeing it. They are going to go home and they are going to say to their mom and dad, “Look what I did today? We got taped and the coach says I am dropping my elbows.” (And the parents will ask), “Well, what does that mean?” “Well, I don’t know, but I am dropping my elbows.” “Okay – well we will work on it next week.”
That is the kind of feedback that you can give those kids right away where they can see what is going on. You have a second coach just walking around recording things. He is talking to kids and you are running things and you are changing what they are working on as you are running the set. The second coach is changing what he is looking at because he is keying off you and what is going on. Do that for an hour and a half. Get everybody in the pool and that way you have accomplished two tasks: First, you have said something to everybody — which I think is really important when you are working with kids each day. The second thing is that you are giving them feedback – probably more feedback than they are getting on a regular practice on a regular day. Help them out. Give them that information.

This stuff is going to break. Pools are not exactly the easiest darn things; they tend to wear things out. At Express, we had a camera that we had had for four or five years and it worked great as a VCR, but it didn’t work as a camera any more. We had that set up as a playback unit. What we would do is swap tapes in and out of the cameras so when we had a camera that was working we would be taping with that and then we would have a group go over with a different coach to watch the videos on the camera that didn’t work – that couldn’t tape anymore, but it could play back. The coach would be working with them and we would just put in a different tape and then we would flip tapes – just go back and forth so it was kind of like a Tivo – it was kind of like a welfare Tivo, but it worked alright. We were able to do it and it saved us some money and it was easy. Again, we were re-purposing the equipment trying to get as much as we can out of its lifetime.

Now we will start to get into the fun stuff. Coach, plus a camera, plus a TV, plus a Tivo – you set up a practice. Let’s say you are working in a six lane pool – 5 of the lanes are on an autopilot set where they are just kind of doing their thing. It is a set maybe they know with a lot of regularity – they know what is going on. It is easy to do. You can keep an eye on it easily – let’s call it fifteen 50’s on a minute. Lane 1 (the 6th lane) is working. What they are doing is they are swimming down – you have got the camera set up on this end – they are swimming toward the camera and the instructions are you are going to reach your hand out in front of your shoulder – you are going to bring it down under your body – you are not going to cross it over and you are going to push it through and roll on the other side and do the same thing.

The kids swim down. They climb out. You have got the camera set up so that it is over the water. It’s looking at it and it is watching where their hands are going the whole time. These cameras are pretty good at focusing. They get out and they look at the Tivo and the Tivo has been set up so that it is a minute and 30 seconds behind real time. They swim down – it takes them 30 seconds to get down – they look at you – you say get out – let’s go – hurry up. They walk over to the TV and they wait – they see themselves swim and they walk down and they do it again and you just keep repeating that loop and repeat it for 15 minutes and that way they can keep focusing on what they are doing – keep thinking about what they are doing – setting their hands the right way.

Then rotate the set. Get another group in. Tivo is awesome for that kind of thing because the Tivo just gives them something to look at and you do not have to mess around with it at all. When you get good with the Tivo, you can start figuring out exactly how much time you have to spend in-between when they finish to the time when they can look. So I said you set it so it is a minute and 30 seconds (behind), but you would actually set the Tivo so that it is maybe 50 seconds back. As they get out – they walk over and they see themselves starting – they watch it and then they walk away and you can keep doing that.

You can set your team up in two lanes. You can have it so they are doing relay starts, you can have them doing regular starts, whatever – so that the lanes are alternating. People get out, they watch their start on the Tivo, they go back – keep rotating them through like that. Again, more like a diving practice than an actual swimming practice, but they get to see what is going on and you can do the same thing with turns.

Is everybody getting the Tivo thing, by the way? Or is this not making sense? Not making sense? You don’t understand the Tivo thing, okay. The information goes into the camera. Normally, it would be happening in real time so if I am recording you right now, you are nodding at me, you are nodding on the camera. What the Tivo does is it can slow that image down from the time it goes into the camera until the time it comes up on the TV. That is all it is. So, it just slows the time down.

Again, you can do the thing with the stopwatch – set it up so the kids can check their time. They can see if they are doing things at the right time with the turns – you can do all that stuff. Another thing – and again – this is my favorite and I alluded to this a little bit earlier – you set up one TV – I have two TV’s, so for example in my situation I have my regular TV – a 27 inch TV that we bought for nothing on Craig’s List and we have the 20 inch TV that has a built in DVD player. You get one of Glenn’s Go Swim videos and you find something that you like and you shoot your camera at the same angle on the pool that he recorded on. Then you run a loop an 8 second loop on the DVD player so it starts and it finishes every 8 seconds and just keeps repeating that one skill. You tell your kids, “You are going to swim by the camera and you are going to climb out and you are going to take a look and you are going to see how much it looks like that.” Have them look at it and see what they can do. You will be amazed at how quickly they will start getting their elbows up – they will start getting their streamlines together – they will start putting all those things together.

When they can see that kind of thing, generally the first thing they say is “I look like that?” and then they look at it and they start to think kinesthetically and they start playing around with what they are doing and they are coaching themselves. They are seeing what they need to be doing. You have identified what they need to be doing and then they can see what they actually are doing. We did that a couple of times and those were fun days to coach.

Editing with a computer: Now I cribbed some of these from FloSwimming. Has everybody here taken a look at FloSwimming? Raise your hands. Let me see who has looked at FloSwimming. So this isn’t going to be new for some of you, but when I first saw this I thought this was pretty nifty. That is Brett Hawk talking about this closet they have down at the Auburn strength room. They can look at stuff (equipment) and they just come up with different ideas to do. Show that to your kids. Kids start to see what is going on and they start looking at this stuff. They start looking at these things they are doing and they start getting excited. They start seeing people do different things and they start to think about the different goals that they have.

There are things that you say to kids that you want them to do and they say, “Nobody can do that,” but then you watch somebody do some of these things and if you don’t think that is not going to get some of your senior guys’ attention – somebody doing stuff that they have never done before and they didn’t think could be done – they love this stuff and they start to get into it. You see a guy doing two finger pull-ups – now that is something else. As a coach, when I see stuff like this it gives me a lot of ideas.

The coolest thing here – where I coach now we are just starting to do a lot of dry-land and have watched a lot of this stuff and the kids aren’t real happy about it. So we do the inverted, but then they have the rock climbing things mounted on the pull-up bar and they are all going to work on their grip strength. I have thought a lot about doing a rock climbing wall. I have never thought about doing it like this and this and this makes sense. It is an easy way to get the kind of work you want. It is different and it is innovative so as a coach – I have just learned something. My kids get to see it – they are learning something. And we have to thank Garrett for FloSwimming because it has been outstanding.

I just bought the race club video – the new one – and there is a lot of different stuff in there – a lot of weird stuff, but one of the things that I thought was interesting was that Mike Bottom said that when they do their racing sets they record everything. That is something we are going to start doing in the fall. I am going to set up a camera on a tripod on our big test set days and we are going to watch and I am going to burn the video out. I am going to take it home and I am going to watch it and that way I can track what they are doing. I don’t know how many people have to deal with the kind of things that I do where, maybe it is just you and 30 guys and they are doing their thing and sometimes you are just going, “Are you sure? That sounds kind of fast (the splits)– oh no, no, no – that was right.” Well, I can go back and I can look at it.

One of the other things that I am going to do is buy some pretty bright cones. I have already got them – they are a bright pink – I am going to set them at the 12 and the 15 meter mark and I am going to start taking race data off what we are doing in practice. We are going to compare and contrast that race data against what we are doing in meets. We are going to figure out what we are doing right in practice – what we are doing wrong in practice and we are going to get better at that stuff in practice. That is going to be done because I am going to be able to take a stopwatch – all this video is time coded – and I am going to watch what they are doing and then I will know. Now, it is not going to run slow – it is not going to run fast – it is right there and that way I know what is going on, so as a coach, it is just another tool to reinforce what is going on – almost like a second coach. I can concentrate on what is going on with the group and I can then go back and make sure that I know what is right and know what is not right.

[Inaudible question from the audience.] We never really thought about it in terms of repetition – we usually tried to block it in to what worked with us. I used to do these practices called “rotators” where we would have 40 kids in 5 lanes so we would break it into 7 or 8 minute segments with a minute in between each segment. Two of the segments would be dry-land segments so one group is working two exercises with medicine balls – another group is working a different two exercises with medicine balls. One group is on the Tivo. One group is doing eight 15’s all out kick on a minute. One group is going an 8 minute pull. One group is going an 8 minute set of three stroke flip turn where every 3 strokes they flip hard and then they take some of the rest of the 25’s – they come off the wall 3 strokes apart. You start to play around with that and work the video into what we were doing rather than letting the video work with us. We could control it that way and then that way, if you don’t see the improvement you want – just build more video in and I think that takes care of your problem.

Q. Is there a range with the camera or do you just walk around? You talk about the tripod. What about doing wireless?
A: If you set a camera on a tripod you are usually good for four lanes out. It starts to get kind of sketchy after that. That is why I like having a big analog TV because it gets a real nice big picture.

Q: What if you are trying to record while you are walking around?
A: There are two things. One, I usually try to make sure I don’t fall in because you start to walk and you are looking through this thing and you go in every once in a while. I am not that mobile with it. I usually try to work in maybe one or two lanes over. Then, if I want to see something, I will move somebody into an outside lane to get a better view of it. But sometimes with that outside lane it is too close so usually like a lane away. That seems to work really well.

Q: Is there any way you can go wireless?
A: You can. One of the companies actually sells that. It is pretty slick. It is pretty expensive though and for me, just not something that really worked for me.

Q: DVD/DVR – Is the hard drive inside of it?
A. Yes.

Q: How do you set that up?
A: Sometimes you have got to trick it – you just have to have it keep taping. Sometimes with these cameras, they will shut themselves off after five minutes if they are not taping anything so you have got to put a tape in – just a garbage tape and let it run. Without seeing it I couldn’t really tell you. That is something maybe for your geeky kids or maybe a geeky parent who knows all that stuff. Have them do it. Without seeing it I really couldn’t tell you.

So, let’s keep moving on here. When you get into the underwater stuff – actually – let’s not do underwater yet. Let’s go over the water real quick. I think that a lot of people think that you have to go underwater to get something out of video. (I apologize for the size of these.) Earlier this year we had Bob Steele come out. One of the cool things about Express is that we had a lot of USA Swimming interaction because the team was getting a lot better. Bob Steele came out and when he comes out he brings this big bag of gear and he has the kids start trying all this weird stuff. I don’t know if it is working or not, but they are having a good time and it is different. It is motion and it is fun and it is cool and they are doing their thing. Bob had this thing that was made out of PVC pipe. It looked like a T and I was talking to my friend, Dave Westfall – coach of the SEMS Swim Club and I said, “You gotta see this thing – it is awesome!” And he says, “What are you talking about?” So we used FloSwimming and I shot some video. These were from 25 yards away – you can see the keys – they are mounted – they are a little bit into the flags. Same thing from another angle. So we are sharing ideas visually over the internet. People can see what is going on and he is understanding what I am doing. As more and more people get better with the video, you can start communicating this way, showing sets to other people.

Call your friend and say, “Hey, guess what set we did?” You tell them and they are like, “I don’t believe it.” “Well guess what? It is online. You can take a look at it. Let’s see what you got.” That way you are communicating and people can see what is going on. Again, when they (people) see it, they tend to believe it and I think that is really helpful.

One of the cool things about FloSwimming and Swim Network is that they post workouts. You can watch the kids working out – the different athletes and it is pretty slick. This is something we did – I went online – you can’t really see it on the big screen there, but it is really clear on the screen. I edited in different messages for the girls’ race so as you watch the kids racing – like for example – this would say, “Long off your starts & dolphin kick” so then the next one is “smooth and under control with your stroke.” Next one: “Get your feet on the wall quickly.” So we are analyzing it in real-time; she can go back and take a look at what is going on. You can also do voiceover with this if you wanted to. We didn’t feel the need to do that; sometimes you have to watch what you are saying. I was pretty surprised at how far this goes. But again, this is something you can do over the water. You do not need to go underwater to have some benefit with what you are doing. You just have to be creative with what you are doing and think about how you can use the gear you have to be most effective, but underwater is really cool when you start doing that.

When you start going underwater – basically everything that I was talking about before – you can do those things. You can set up your lanes where they watch the skill underwater, they climb out, they take a look at it, everything I just talked about you can do that with. If you have the camera on a stick – the really cool thing about these cameras that are mounted on poles is that the camcorder just bolts right into the top so you are watching it and you drop it in, do your thing, get them out, they come over. “You say, take a look at this” and they watch it and then boom – you are on to the next person.

These cameras (stand-alones) – are really cool because you can set them on these little stands. Bailey Weathers also sells these. I think he sells them for about $240 – the bullet cameras. His has 100 foot of cable. This one has 75 feet of cable and you can set them up on a microphone stand and just drop the microphone stand in the water with a banana clip to hold it. It is like a mike. The thing goes on the ground and you can set the thing in the water and you can set it at odd angles so if you want the kids to see what they look like when they are coming off the wall, just bring it out and set it 15 feet off the ground. This thing is set up so it is at a slight angle and then the kids push off the wall, they stop, they look. You got the TV set 30 feet down on the side of the pool and they are looking and then it comes up. “Oh, I am doing it wrong.” Climb out, walk around, they do it again. They can see what is going on. They see what they look like.

You know, you got kids who will tell you, “I am streamlining – I am streamlining,” and then they see themselves doing this and it is like, “You are not streamlining.” “Ohhh.” You know? That helps. They know that you have seen it and that is probably the other big thing – they know that you can see it.

We are running out of time here so I will go through some of this other stuff real quick. When we start to get into the computer – the computer really does a lot of nifty things. This is just kind of a little thing that we had put together with the Orcas. When I first went to Rochester it was interesting. They had never really done a lot of underwater stuff. They have done a lot of over the water stuff, but they were still in this middle ages thing where they would go down and they had an underwater window that had barnacles on it because it had been in the pool for thirty years. They got the camera and somebody was banging on the window with a broomstick so they know when to turn the thing on and off. It was like guys – there is an easier way. Drop the camera in.

You can watch Jenna Cereda’s right arm which we have fixed. The interesting thing about this – she didn’t realize she was doing that. She had no idea and it was at kind of a flunky angle so I was having a hard time seeing it. These aren’t just stage props (his glasses). I can’t see real well and when the kids see it, they really kind of are taken aback a little bit and they say, “What’s going on here?” And I just shot the kids from in front and behind. I think I have got five kids here so each kid has about 30 seconds of footage on each stroke and you can just run the voice over if you want. You can do whatever you want to do as you are doing this. This one doesn’t have a voiceover. Now, here is one that does.

Let’s do something that we did at Express quite a bit. This is – Wayne is it okay if I show this with Mike’s voice? It is alright? This is Michael Hahn who is the age group coach at Express and the Senior II coach. “You can see up front in your hands there is a bit of a stall – you need to try to stay a little bit longer up front and then sweep into your catch. Good streamline off the wall – very clean breakout – Lucas’ backstroke – okay? You can see there is a lot…”. Real easy to do. Real easy to do with a Mac.

What Mike and I would do is shoot five kids a week. I think in Mike’s group we had 30 or 31 kids. We would shoot 5 kids a week and we would rotate the 5 kids that we would do each week. It took me about 20 minutes to record those 5 kids and then I would edit the tape down. It would take me about 15 minutes to edit the tape so I had about 40 minutes of time into it. Mike would then come over to my house or he had a Mac too so sometimes I would just bring the stuff over. He would watch it to see what they were doing because it was all edited together – kind of like the one that didn’t have the talk before. He would watch it so he would know what he wanted to talk about and then we would lay down the audio track. Then we would put it up on FloSwimming.

Sometimes we would put it up on FloSwimming – sometimes I would burn DVD’s and give the kids a DVD. We would do all kinds of different things with it and the best thing about it is that then in six weeks you have run through that entire group and you can do it again. Then people see whether they are improving or they are not improving. And one of the things that I am doing this year with the Orcas – I have a check list that we are going to go through when we do this. Then we are going to give them a copy of their check list and they are going to give it back to me. Then we are going to look at it when we do it the second time.

Q: You talked about putting video up on FloSwimming. Is there a private area for your club?
A: Yeah – that is one of the cool things about FloSwimming. You can set up your own team and then you can isolate all this so nobody else can look at it. They have to be members of your team and if you are the person running the site – running that team area – you can decide who can and who cannot look at that video which is really nice. So if you are giving things that you don’t – you know, we are all in the spirit of cooperation here, but let’s face it – there are some things that maybe you want kids just to look at you know and you can isolate it. The other thing is, it is a minimal security issue. I don’t know whether it is or not , but you have to tell people to dress a little modestly when you are shooting them underwater and over the water because (and that is the other reason where you want to shelter some of this stuff) you don’t know who is looking at this. The more you can control that the better.

You also want to make sure that if you are going to put stuff on the internet, your parents better know about it. You have got to make sure that they know what is going on. If you are just going to burn DVD’s that is not as big of an issue, but you need to make sure that you are on top of that.

Q: Does it cost anything?
A: No. You can do the same thing on Swim Network. You can upload video there as well.

Q. We just got Comcast and you can put it on their I-pod.
A. Yeah, you can do it that way as well. There are so many ways that you can disseminate the media.

Let’s go through that real quick and then let’s talk about what this stuff costs because I wanted to make sure that I hit some different ideas for you guys in terms of how much you want to spend.

Distributing the video: Obviously, you have the viewfinders on the cameras. Kids can come up and take a look at it. The second thing – do it with the TV – the bigger screen, the bigger interest from the kids. They can see what is going on. DVD’s – if you are using a mini DVD camera you can burn those DVD’s and then give them to them. Tell them to keep them. They just need a little adaptor. They can just put them in the DVD player. I think it works just fine or you can burn DVD’s. You burn DVD minus Rs in the computer and you give those DVD’s out. In the situation that I was doing with Mike – we were burning 5 DVD’s a week – that is some wear and tear on a computer. You can also buy a DVD duplicator. We actually looked into that. Those go for about anywhere from 800-1600 dollars plus ink, because they do actually lay a title on them as well – like you would get in a CD that you bought. Which is why I think that the internet is the way to do this stuff because you can either post the video or you an send it to a file sharing website where you know what the length of that website is and then the kids can just download the stored file and watch it as they want. They can watch it on their own computer on their own Quicktime player, the can watch it on Windows Media, whatever you want them to do.

The internet is one of the greatest ways to do this because it takes that pass around thing out of the equation and it also puts the responsibility on the kids. If they want to get better they need to look at it. They don’t just put the DVD in their bag and walk around, “Oh yeah, I got this DVD.” Either look at it or you don’t. That way it makes them a little bit more responsible.

I put together some samples on some different things that you could do. For an above water system (and I would say that pretty much these are all introductory systems.)

The first one – go out and buy a Flip Meano camera. They go for $140. Carry it around with you for a week and tape kids and see if you like doing that. If you do – it is called a Flip Meano camera. They sell them on Amazon. I think they sell them for about 99 bucks too. They have got some pretty cheap ones. The Flip Meano has a built-in USB port – you hit the button – it pops out. You plug it into your computer and you can upload it straight to U-tube if that is what you want to do. Real easy thing to use and see how you like it. See if you like walking around and shooting kids and see if you can integrate it in. So, that is the first thing that I would do.

The second kind of system – you get a mini DVD camera. These are all again – above water. You can get one of those for about 200 bucks. You need an AV cable – 40 bucks. Get a Tivo – that is 80 bucks. The appropriate video cables are going to be 10 bucks. Get a used TV – I put in 50 bucks and then you get a cart – something you can keep everything on. We have always gone to teachers in our school district who get lots of discounts on this stuff – 100 bucks – for all that gear that is $480.00, okay? That is going to allow you to do some real-time stuff with the Tivo where you can slide time. It is going to allow you to do some recording where you can take a look around and just see what is going on. You can take that video and put it on a TV. You can start building a library of video if you want. It sets it up where you can have the Tivo work autonomously – all those things, so for less than $500.00 you can start doing a lot of really nifty stuff.

Third system: Get a mini DV camera, an AV cable, a Tivo, a firewall cable so you can hook it up to your computer, a TV and a cart – that is $520.00. That allows you to start working on your computer so for about $520.00 you are safe with what you are doing and you are just kind of paying attention to what you are buying and you are not going bananas – not including the computer – you can start doing a lot of this stuff.

If you want to go underwater – mini DV camera. You have got to get one that works with an underwater camera. That is becoming a harder and harder thing to find. The Coach-cam guys have a pretty neat solution. They have got a little SD card storage system that has got a screen. I think they are asking 120 bucks for it. It is a little more complicated because you are working with computer files then, but you know – that might be a way for you to go. The mini DV camera, AV cables, a camera on a stick – those go for about 450 – the 27 inch TV – fire-wire cable on a cart – It’s a little under a thousand bucks and that is a lot of money, but when you start doing this stuff – you will be amazed with what you can do with it.

Q: If you get a Tivo system, how do you set it up so you don’t need a subscription?
A: If you get a Series 2, which are the ones that were manufactured about a year ago – you can just plug the thing in and you can – I have got the procedure for how you set it up. I can give that to you. We are going to post that on the ASCA website as well so that you can set up your Tivo and fool around with that.

Here is another system: a DV camera, two sets of AV cables so you have a spare, a Tivo, one of stand-alone underwater cameras that Bailey-Weather sells – the cigarette ones – 27 inch TV and a cart – that is 830 bucks. The difference is that instead of having the underwater camera on a stick you have got a standalone camera. The stuff I did where we were shooting forwards – where people were swimming up to us – that was all done with a camera – it was this camera. It was actually – it wasn’t this camera – it was this camera, but this is not my camera. This thing just hangs on the wall and they swim to it – that is all it is and it works great. It is awesome. So again – for less than 850 bucks you have got all the tools you need.

Q: Do you have any problems with Tivo III’s – with the hard drive?
A: Every once in a while, but what I do is I just restart it and every once in a while hit it and it seems to work fine. I don’t recommend hitting the Tivos, but it hasn’t been that big of a deal. We don’t have any problems with pixilation or anything – that is for sure.

Q: With the computer freezing – is it just a memory issue – like you are talking about computer crashes – would external hard drives work?
A: You can save the stuff to an external hard drive. Usually what it is is that you do not have enough RAM in the computer and you usually need about 2 megs of Ram. The other thing is – whenever you are doing video (and I would really recommend that you buy a book about editing video)– change your screen to a neutral grey. Whatever your desktop is – make it neutral grey so that your eyes can see what is going on. And shut everything else off on the computer – screen savers – any open applications – everything — so all the computer is doing is it is just working on video because that video – when it starts moving around and you start processing it – if you don’t have something that is brand new and lightning fast – it eats that RAM up like crazy and then it just blows it up. That is usually where you have the problem.

Q: Two comments – I am an old school coach – I thought about setting it up on top of the pool and putting the monitor/TV set where the swimmers can see their image if they are swimming in real-time without having to stop and get out. You see what I am saying? I was thinking about projecting the image on the wall.
A: Yeah, that would actually – that would be interesting. The only thing I would think you would have problems with – wouldn’t they have to be kind of like – are you talking about the breaststrokers? (Yeah…They would be seeing their video without having to stop, get out, and talk about it.) Oh yeah, absolutely.

Q: The next thing: Sanyo has an underwater video camera for coaches and we got one of those and had kids pass around during practice and take each other underwater and their friends. It didn’t work so good in the real world application – the thing broke down.
A: Well, Pentax makes a pretty neat camera for about 300 bucks that you can drop underneath and do a lot of that stuff with.

Q: One more thing–did you go to the sponsor table that had the one…
A: Yeah, the one on the track? Yeah, we actually took a group out to the training center from Wisconsin, a group of kids that we thought had a shot at making the Olympic trials. They taped those kids in a variety of different ways and a lot of how I shoot is based off of how they did it. I think that when you are going to shoot – whether it is above water or underwater – I try to always do it from the same points so that way it is consistent. If I am doing it over 30 weeks, people can see what is going on and it is never like, “Well that doesn’t look right,” because if you shoot from different angles it is going to look a little different.

One other thing – when you are using power on the deck you have got to be careful. Make sure you are always using outlets that are GFI’s – ground-fault interrupted. God forbid you have got a live thing and then you drop it in the pool and we are talking about something else entirely. Again– when you are using stuff –be safe. If it is not safe – don’t do it – find another way. And I think that is about it. I will be available for questions. If anybody wants to ask about anything I am more than happy to help. I will be outside in the hallway and thanks so much for your time – appreciate it.

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