Incorporating delayed video into training

One of the things I was able to incorporate into my training sessions at Svedala is a video delay system. It’s something I talked about using in my Coaching Log entries. I thought it would be worth sharing the specifics of what I was using – there and later at Midwestern State.

It starts with my iPad mini and the BaM Video Delay app. The app takes in video from either the forward or rear facing camera and allows you to watch a delayed video stream from it. You can set the delay to whatever you like. I’ll admit, I’m still learning the ins and outs of BaM, but it’s pretty easy to use and suits the purpose.

The most basic way to use video delay in this fashion is to put the tablet on a tripod. You can then have the players go to it after a rep to watch the replay. The more advanced approach is to send the video feed to a bigger screen that would be easy to see. That is what I’ve done.

In our main gym at Svedala there was a projection screen on one wall that we could send the video to so everyone could look at it without having to leave the court. To get the video there, we had to send it to the video projector via a VGA cable input located near the stands. It’s conceptually similar to running the video to a TV or monitor. You have to get the feed to a device which plugs into the output system, or sends it there wirelessly if that is an option.

The solution I put together was to stream the video from the iPad to an Apple TV device. It accepts a mirroring feed from the tablet via either wifi or bluetooth. The Apple TV has an HDMI output, which can then be plugged in to most modern TVs and monitors. As I noted, though, the gym projector only took a VGA feed, so I needed a HDMI to VGA adapter to convert the signal to get it to the projector. Having the video feed transmitted to the projection system allowed me to put the camera anywhere I liked, and to move it around as needed.

Of course there is always the question of where to put the camera – both for angles and equipment safety. A standard tripod is one option. I have found, however, that one of the flexible tripod provides more options in terms of placement. Using a tripod requires a mount for the iPod.

At MSU we did not have a drop-down screen. Instead, we got a 100″ projection screen, like this one. We combined it with a projector on a mobile stand with an extension cord. That let us put the screen just about anywhere in the gym we wanted.

Here’s the tricky bit.

In the gyms at both Svedala and MSU we ran up against issues using the wifi. The networks were not open to mobile device to mobile device connection (e.g. iPad to Apple TV). This seems to often be the case for public networks. Blue Tooth connectivity between devices was the option we went with at Svedala. At MSU, though, we opted for linking everything up to our own wireless router. It made for a much better signal and range than Blue Tooth.

This is not the perfect system by any stretch. For one thing, I’d love a somewhat better camera with more options in terms of zoom. We make do with the resources available, though.

Of course, video delay is only useful if the players actually look at it. That’s something you’ll need to train them to do. Once they get into the habit, though, it provides excellent immediate feedback – and sometimes lots of laughs. 🙂

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John Forman
About the Author: John Forman
John most recently coached for an NCAA Division II women's team. That followed a stint as head coach for a women's professional team in Sweden. Prior to that he was the head coach for the University of Exeter Volleyball Club BUCS teams (roughly the UK version of the NCAA) while working toward a PhD. He previously coached in Division I of NCAA Women's Volleyball in the US, with additional experience at the Juniors club level, both coaching and managing, among numerous other volleyball adventures. Learn more on his bio page.

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