WHY Underwater Video Analysis Is Your Most Important Tool

Here at Swim Like A. Fish, we are FOUNDED on the importance of effective and impactful stroke analysis. We have spent years of our lives working with swimmers one-on-one to get their stroke better, and get their swimming FASTER. The reason why one-on-one stroke analysis is so great? There’s no QUICKER way to get a swimmer to understand what they’re currently doing and why it needs to change. Video Analysis is the number one tool that we rely on in order to get OUR JOB done well – day after day.

Today we’re going to break down Underwater Video Analysis. We’ll talk why it’s important, why people don’t use it, and how to make the most of the tool!

Let’s Get Started

When a coach encounters a swimmer who is in the mode of resistance, it’s usually a sign that they don’t understand the value of what they’re doing. This applies whether that’s resisting a specific set, resisting trying their hardest, or resisting their coaches attempts to help. In other words, they don’t understand WHY what they’re doing has value. Here at SLAF, we believe in always starting with the WHY for swimmers (in fact, this is just Part 2 in our WHY series! Check out Part 1 HERE. Let us know in the comments what other “whys” you want us to explore!).

As for Underwater Video Analysis, we encounter coaches all the time who discount the deep gains that can be made despite the upfront cost (of time, energy, and money) in order to make it happen. Underwater video analysis provides far more for swimmers than it takes away.

What Does Underwater Video Analysis Provide For Swimmers?

1. Intentional Time Of Improvement:

We encounter one of the greatest enemies to improvement when a swimmer turns their brain off. A common command from coaches is “don’t just go through the motions up and down the pool.” This is exactly what they’re talking about. The reason that swimmers turn their brain off as they go through a set is because they don’t have anything to focus on. Or, they don’t have anything to focus on that is worth turning their brains on for!

Meanwhile, pulling a swimmer out of the water and intentionally reviewing / talking with them about their strokes allows them to focus all of their energy on improvement. The time that they’re spending during practice, even out of the water, has an explicit purpose that is their improvement. This is an enticing and high-value time for a swimmer to spend.

Underwater Video Analysis Makes Swimmers Happy

Allowing swimmers to take ownership of their swimming through Underwater Video Analysis creates a sense of pride for both the coach and the swimmer!

We recommend making them part of their own improvement. Ask them questions as you review their tape. Then, have them get back in the water and direct them to keep what they discovered at the forefront of their mind. That way, they can’t turn their brain off. Watch how fast they improve when their focus is intentional! Later, when time has passed and the impulse to just go through the motions comes back, all it takes as a coach is a simple “How’s the different pull pattern feeling today?” to get them to return to intentional swimming.

Intentional time of improvement is the gift that keeps on giving!

2. One-On-One Time With Your Swimmers

One of the most commonly overlooked benefits of Underwater Video Analysis is the built in quality time with your swimmer that it provides.

Have you ever heard the phrase “An athlete doesn’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care?” Underwater Video Analysis provides a phenomenal time to build a relationship with your swimmers. Showing them that you care about them, their swimming, and their improvement by spending quality, one-on-one time, goes a long way for athletes!

3. A Different, and Crucial Point-Of-View

The beauty of Underwater Video Analysis is that it allows both coach and swimmer to see their stroke from a different point of view. The reality is that as coaches, watching swimmers practice from above is a less than advantageous position. The real gold actually comes from seeing what’s happening under the water. Coaches can review a swimmer’s stroke changes side by side to see what is working for them!

Underwater video analysis provides the exact angles that we need in order to fix mistakes that would otherwise go missed. Swimming lap after lap (and cementing the habit that that forms) with bad technique is a sure way to make a swimmer go SLOWER! Use Underwater Video Analysis to make sure this isn’t happening! It’s a preventative medicine, just as much as it’s a healing medicine!

Reasons People DON’T Use Underwater Video Analysis (and WHY it’s still Worth it DESPITE those Reasons):

1.)They Don’t have the Equipment

To start, not having the right equipment can be completely disheartening! We see coaches go from season to season waiting for the funds to buy the equipment. Or, get trapped waiting for the time to research which types of equipment they want to use. This reason is valid, and frustrating, and not always in a coaches control. However, making it a priority is so worth it in the end.

We encourage coaches to get creative and prioritize this equipment to start making a difference in their swimmer’s lives today! We recommend starting out with just your phone. The cameras on phones are incredible and already in your pocket! If you’re an Apple person, you can easily get an iPad (as shown in this video) and use your phone to airdrop videos between the two devices. The best setup also being an Apple TV with an iPad or iPhone for immediate video replay feedback.

2.) They Don’t Like to Take the Time

Underwater Video Analysis can be stressful, as it requires swimmers to miss out on crucial yardage (if they’re taping during practices like most coaches do). However, it’s far more important to know that a swimmer is swimming that yardage with good technique than it is for them to get in their yardage, only for it to turn out to be “garbage.” Again, we challenge coaches to keep the relationship aspect at the forefront of their mind. Spending this one-on-one time with their swimmers is huge for the long term swimmer-coach relationship!

Other ways around missing out on crucial yardage in the pool:

  1. Ask swimmers to stay late to finish the set they missed
  2. Ask swimmers to schedule a time outside of practice hours to go over their Video Analysis with you
  3. Group swimmers together to analyze their underwater footage together
  4. Have us come to you to run a Video Analysis Clinic like this one!

3. They Don’t Know How to Analyze What They’re Seeing

Finally, sometimes coaches shy away from Underwater Video Analysis because, well, there is SO MUCH to know about swim technique! It can be overwhelming. If this is you, we have 2 recommendations. First, we recommend that even if you aren’t confident in your swim technique skills, do it anyways. Invite your swimmer to analyze the stroke with you. This is about you practicing just as much as it is for the swimmer! Keep in mind that you don’t have to spot absolutely everything. Even a little correction can go a long way. If you need resources to up your swim technique knowledge, check out our BLOG section on our website. We come out with technique blogs all the time.

Second, if you want to go even farther with your Underwater Video Analysis, send it to us! We have phenomenal Video Analysis Packages, and we can get you and your swimmer technique corrections that will make an immediate difference! The best part about these packages is we ALL work together. If you purchase one of our video analysis packages, we ask that the swimmer, their coach, and their parents are all on the call – so we are all on the same page. It’s a big learning opportunity for every party involved.

We understand the reasons that people don’t rely on Underwater Video Analysis throughout their season. However, the investment in Underwater Video Analysis is more than worth it as you see your swimmers’ stroke techniques exponentially get better!

Until Next Time,

Abbie Fish & The Swim Like A. Fish Team

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