Coaches and managers of team sports have used practice film as a teaching tool for as long as the technology has been available and for the simple reason that there’s no better way to judge performance and prepare for competition. And let’s face it, nowadays, you don’t need to invest in expensive AV equipment in order to record yourself, you need only your smartphone and someone to tap the little record button.
Think of training video as your notes and competition as your test.
This is how you become a true student of the sport.
Video coaching can be useful because, even when a trainer is telling the fighter that they’re dropping their left, until the athlete sees it for themselves from a different perspective, the message may not sink in. Watching the action from the outside allows the athlete to understand the issues that are present in a way that is vivid and sometimes unexpected. Watching oneself onscreen can cause horror and embarrassment, but it can also lead to the realization that the training drills they despise are actually for a real purpose!
There are many methods to employ video coaching, but the important thing is to do more than simply watch. This is study time and you need to take notes - either mentally or with pencil and paper. Hit the rewind button, hit the pause button, play it back in slo-mo. Learn about your strengths and weaknesses - it is important to be aware of both. You may find quite a few unexpected issues. And finding is the first step to fixing.
One good approach to analyzing video is to ask questions ahead of time and then look for the answers. “Am I protecting myself?”, “Am I telegraphing my punches?”, “What are my bad habits?”, “How do I react when I’m in trouble?”. If you’re able to watch video of an opponent you can ask similar questions about them to see if there are weaknesses to exploit or tendencies to watch out for. Once you begin to know what you’re dealing with a good coach can then begin to develop appropriate drills to prepare. At the same time, an understanding of what is going on during the action helps you react at opportunities and prevents you from overreacting when there's trouble.
You might think video coaching is for those just starting out and learning the ropes. Actually many of the greatest champions of sport study film throughout their careers. For example, Peyton Manning is famous for his tireless study of films and Kobe Bryant began watching recorded NBA video at age 10 with his grandfather in order to discover new skills to develop and continues to watch film to this day throughout the season. You could say these guys are obsessive geeks when it comes to studying their sport, but their accomplishments are undeniable.
Think of training video as your school notes and competition as your test. This is how you become a true student of the sport. Because even if you flunk a test you can always learn from your mistakes and come back better prepared next time.