Video analysis as a useful training tool.

by Ryan Gregory, June 20th, 2013

Last night at Judo class, Sensei was trying to correct a mistake that I kept making during a certain throw. The throw in question was O Soto Gari (large outer reap).

Here’s the throw broken down:

And here it is in action:

The problem is that I was not getting in close enough or getting my partner off balance in the right direction. I watched him demonstrate the throw on my partner and on me, and I understood the concepts involved, but I kept making the same mistake. So, Sensei went over and grabbed his iPad and had me to do the throw a couple of times while recording video. He then played back the video in slow motion, pausing at a certain point and noting the gap between my body and that of my partner.

Let me just say, I was very impressed by how informative this little exercise was. Of course, lots of sports use video analysis to look in detail at one’s technique and find areas for improvement. I had also video taped my own karate kata not too long ago and found it very useful to review.

The difference, though, is that with the tablet and its large screen and the particular app that Sensei used, we were able to scrub through the video to find the problematic element(s) of my throw, and pause on a particularly revealing image, all in real-time. I have an Android tablet and phone, and I was able to find the same app. It’s not free (costs about $5), but it I am sure I will get a ton of use out of it in training, both in judo and karate. And I suspect that my dojo mates would benefit enormously from seeing their own technique in real-time like that as well. Sometimes you can be told something over and over and understand the correction, but until you see yourself making the mistake it can be difficult to correct.

For those who are interested, the app in question is Coach’s Eye:

It is available for iPad and iPhone from the iTunes Store, and for Android devices from the Google Play Store.

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