Businesses that operate in a niche sports market often have a small budget given the lack of uptake in their sport. Despite this, sports coaching businesses in particular are under increasing pressure to utilise technology and video in order to make coaching more flexible for users; something that can be achieved via a mobile application. Modave et al (2015) state that over the past 10 years, mobile devices have become ubiquitous with an ever-increasing number of mobile apps that are being developed to facilitate physical activity.
Video provides athletes with a visual and audio resource that can be used to send and receive information coaching information. Despite this, risks exist as the effectiveness of video in coaching is still debated against traditional ‘in person’ coaching as many believe ‘usefulness’ is dependent on knowledge, skills and experience of user (Weiler, 2015). Research into the use of video in mobile coaching apps suggests that niche sports can utilize this technology through video demonstrations; useful video demonstrations are helpful for skill development and safe exercise execution (Modave et al., 2015). Video demonstrations can be utilized effectively by niche sports businesses in particular given the limited availability of accredited coaches.
Authors Modave et al (2015) point out some considerable barriers to standard approaches to coaching including the disparity in face-to-face access to professionals, resources needed for a personal coach, and lack of knowledge of exercise principles necessary for someone to design their own training regimen. All of these barriers create an opportunity for niche sports businesses to capitalise on the video technology available.
Now common features such as the use of location services allows coaching providers to send video coaching tutorials based on the availability of facilities/equipment within an athlete’s location. Other surrounding factors such as the weather also mean that a coach can tailor a video coaching session (inside or outside) based on the weather conditions of the athletes location. These concepts are applied in Grewal et al (2016) ‘Mobile Advertising Effectiveness Framework’ in which environmental factors within the context can be combined with technology elements to reach an add goal such as awareness or engagement in the niche sports industry.
Existing apps such as ubersense help to develop athlete performance by improving technique and movement through analysis with feedback on form, during training, competition or game, and allowing comparison to self, elite and professional athletes (Weiler, 2015). Niche coaching businesses can capitalise on the use of technology by providing athletes with a mobile application from which they can record and submit video for analysis by professional coaches. Given the niche nature of some sports and the limited supporting infrastructure/funding, it may be challenging for niche sports athletes to gain this level of coaching in person.
Potential key features of video technology in a mobile coaching application:
- Video analysis
- Voice overs
- Split screen comparisons
- Annotated overlays
- Angle calculations
- Zoom and pan features
Social media can be utilized by sports coaching businesses to share recorded content, therefore promoting the service offering to potential customers, creating online discussion and sharing athlete progression. Storage is equally as important as sharing for app users, as mentioned by authors Martin, Melnyk, and Zimmerman (2015), sports businesses are developing apps in which users can store their videos in a private cloud and sync them to all of their devices. Sharing and storage is particularly important in niche sports as this is likely to increase awareness of the sport and build online business presence.
Video in mobile coaching apps:
- Flexible coaching for both athletes and coaches
- Visual feedback and depth analysis using extensive tools and functions
- Ability to easily share content
- Usefulness is regarded as subjective
- Potential for misinterpretation – Quality of video is dependant on hardware/software available
Examples of well established sports coaching apps, click the links below:
For “The Guardian’s” external guide on the best video apps, click here. This guide allows readers to see the alternative forms of video incorporation on offer and how the technology is utilized in different ways.
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