Posted by Matt Egan 14 June 2013
Coach's Eye review - app is guaranteed to improve your golf swing* (*Not guaranteed at all)
Becoming great at anything, they say, takes 10,000 hours. But who has that time? For those of us who work for a living - albeit I am 'working' right now - weekend activities are just that, things we do for fun in our spare time. But if you choose to spend your spare time partaking in a technical sport, the frustration is that it is hard to improve Coach's Eye from TechSmith aims to help. It is an app and online service that allows you to study videos of your own sporting prowess, and that of other hackers and also experts.
More than that, Coach's Eye allows you to annotate your videos. In my case my wobbly golf swing is crippled by a way too big back swing that moves my head away from the ball. Just seeing it on video helps to identify the obvious problem. But by placing a line where the swing should stop I am able to practice limiting the back swing and (in principle) improve my accuracy and distance.
Mrs Matt's head tends to move when she is booming big drives past me on the fairway (a chastising experience for any red-blooded male. And also for me.) So a basic annotation of a circle around where her head should remain is a good marker for practice.
There are no shortcuts here, but we found that Coach's Eye added focus to a leaisurely hit. Instead of whacking a few balls we would watch our errors and try to correct them. An important distinction and one that generally requires a human coach (with two eyes).
There is little limitation in the way you mark up videos, lines, circles and freehand. And you can playback at full speed, half speed, or manually scroll through each frame. All the usual video editing tools are there.
Sharing your clips is a cinch. I can email myself clips of horror shots to ruin my confidence just before I step out on to the first tee. And if I really want to destroy my enjoyment of the stupid game I could post direct to YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. (I refuse to publicly show off my own 'swing', so here is a YouTube clip of my friend Matt hitting a ball into a lake and then getting angry. It's my laughter you can hear.) See also: five of the best apps for travel.
But it is in the sharing that Coach's Eye comes into its own. Like so many TechSmith tools Coach's Eye is intended for community use and is well supported by online resource. Sign up for an account and you can upload your clips for analysis by other weekend hackers. And you can search through a vast repository of clips to pick up tips in your chosen sport. There are many, many sports covered on there.
Coach's Eye - the verdict
In order to benefit from Coach's Eye you need someone to film you, and you need to use it. A lot. I found that just looking at my swing was only marginally helpful. What focussed the mind was annotating my clips with what I was doing wrong, and then filming myself correcting it. There are no shortcuts, but if you want to put in some hours improving your sporting ability, Coach's Eye can help.
Coach's Eye is available for Android and iPhone. We tested the iPhone app which costs £2.99.