Something I first incorporated into my training sessions when I coached at Svedala in Sweden is a video delay system. I talked about using it in my Coaching Log entries. I thought it would be worth sharing the specifics of what I have used – there and elsewhere I’ve been.

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 not exactly a power user of BaM to this point, 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 any modern TV or monitor. As I noted, though, the gym projector at Svedala only took a VGA feed, so I needed a HDMI to VGA adapter to convert the signal to get it to the projector.

At Midwestern State we did not have a drop-down screen. Instead, we got a 100″ projection screen. 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.

I should note, though, that the quality of what you get from these kinds of projection systems depends a lot on the lighting in the gym. The brighter the gym, the harder it will be to see a large projection, unless you splurge for a brighter projector. Elsewhere, I’ve used a cart with a TV on it, which doesn’t have that brightness issue. Either way, you can move the display around, at least as far as your power cord lets you go.

Having the video feed transmitted to the projection system or TV/monitor allows me to put the camera anywhere I like, 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 tripods can provide more options in terms of placement. Using a tripod requires a mounting bracket for the iPad.

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, and even private ones. Bluetooth connectivity between devices was the option we went with at Svedala. Not the best. We had all sorts of connectivity issues.

At MSU, though, we opted for linking everything up to our own wireless router. It made for a much better signal and range than Bluetooth. You don’t need internet, so you can basically just plug the router into the power supply, connect the iPad and AppleTV device to the router’s WiFi signal, and you’re good to go. I would suggest, though, that if you’re thinking about using the system across a large space (like a big gym), you may want to get a higher power router than you’d normally get for your home.

I should note that with the newer Apple devices you can direct connect over AirPlay. Here’s an article on that.

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. 🙂

Once you have the technology in place, here’s some advice on using it.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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