Broadcast contracts. Cable deals. Exclusive streaming rights. That’s not what we mean when we talk about using video in college athletics.
Oh sure, for the handful of revenue-generating teams that play for the few dozen institutions in the top-tier athletic conferences, those concepts can come into play.
But most of the time, for most college athletes — even for the big names in bright lights — video is something both much more simple and much more essential.
It isn’t about television. It’s about teaching.
For coaches across virtually every athletic field, video has proven an adept tool for helping young players improve.
Video provides honest, detailed feedback on an individual player’s execution, helping to spotlight issues with a gymnast’s movements or pitcher’s mechanics. Video offers a complete view of a team’s performance, helping coaches to better teach game strategy and encourage teamwork. And video captures the complete playing field, providing more nuance and detail for scouting, recruiting, and understanding the styles other teams may play with.
Of course, the value of video as a tool for collegiate athletics is no secret — the biggest names in college sports have employed dedicated AV staff for decades.
But video doesn’t have to be limited just to the teams on the highlight reels and the athletic departments with nine- and ten-figure budgets.
Recent improvements in video technology have made it easier and more affordable than ever for just about any coaching staff to record, replay, and use video in many ways. So even if a player is starting for the club team instead of varsity, or the women’s team instead of the men’s, or for an Olympic sport instead of the big primetime draws, they can still take advantage of the most modern tools for improving their game and performing their best as they represent their school.
Today video is easy to use anywhere. And best of all, for many athletic departments, the technology needed to add video to your coaches’ toolbox may already be available across campus — in the form of your university’s video platform.
A campus video platform is designed to make it easy for academic institutions to use video for capturing lectures, flipping classes, and recording student assignments. But as many athletic departments have found, the flexible nature of a modern video platform also makes it an easy tool for coaches to use when adding video as part of a training regimen.
Video has long proven its potential as a tool for helping coaches show players highlights of their execution in practice and on the field, and to show specific moments and movements where players may be able to improve. For too many coaches, however, that capability is limited to a single fixed camera. This means they are often unable to capture additional angles on complex movements like a golfer’s swing or a gymnast’s spin. Likewise, these fixed cameras are unable to record multiple perspectives on the field of play — limiting the usefulness of recordings from sports like tennis or volleyball by nature have near- and far-sides, and making recording all but useless for sports like cross country that cover long distances.
By taking advantage of the university’s video platform, however, coaches can easily record with multiple cameras — from state-of-the-art HD camcorders to inexpensive webcams — and automatically sync every video feed into a single recording. With Panopto, cameras don’t even need to be plugged into the same computer to record simultaneously — our distributed recording feature makes it possible for separate machines to record with multiple separate cameras, and still automatically sync every feed into one file. Professors across campus are already using this technology to record multiple views of demonstrations and experiments — coaches can make use of the same tool to help athletes better see themselves in motion.
Getting video from the practice facility or the home field may be a challenge, but for most coaches, that’s still the easy part. By contrast, capturing events on the road is a virtual impossibility. Which is a real shame, because when it comes to university athletics, a huge portion of almost every sport happens off campus.
Here too, however, the university video platform can help. With native mobile video apps for iOS and Android, and whole systems developed just for mobile devices, a video platform makes it easy to record and share video anytime, anywhere, right from any mobile device. Educators already use this technology every day to expand their classrooms and share insights from “out in the field” — for coaches, the same technology can be applied to make it easy to record away games, scout recruits, and the competition, and even make point-of-view recordings for select sports like crew, where the action isn’t always close to a fixed camera.
While a video platform opens new opportunities for easily capturing more video, being able to see a player’s strengths and weaknesses today is only the beginning of helping that player improve. Great coaches are great teachers — along with helping their athletes sharpen their physical skills, they instruct players on the theory and strategy that guide the way the game is played and how individuals and teams can react, adapt, and respond to meet the competition.
Today the single most common use of video platform technology in universities is to enable lecturers to record the materials they teach for students to review. Many professors even take this a step further, providing personalized video lectures tailored for a class or even an individual student, offering guidance and instruction for class work.
It’s easy to see how coaches can take similar advantage of the university’s video platform, and provide their players with video lessons for self-study. In fact, “breaking down the tape” is already a common technique practiced by many high-profile collegiate athletics teams. While those systems typically rely on state-of-the-art equipment and dedicated AV staff, however, many coaches will find that they can add video review to their coaching toolkit simply by taking advantage of the presentation recording technology already included in their school’s video platform.
College athletics departments have a unique challenge amongst other university offices — they are charged with doing everything they can to help their players succeed in two environments. They want their players to do their best on the field, of course, but just as importantly, they want their players to perform well in the classroom. This may sound like a given, but it’s often no small issue — travel requirements can interfere with attendance, and practice schedules may limit the amount of time a player has available to study.
To combat this issue, many athletics departments turn to dedicated tutors. But an increasing number are also seeing the value inherent in making sure their student-athletes get as much of the direct classroom experience as possible — which they can, by using the campus video platform as a tool for recording lectures and other course materials. At institutions like the University of St Mark and St John, coaches work with professors to record class materials ahead of time, so athletes can stay on top of their studies even as their team goes on the road.
For a small number of teams in a few select sports, it isn’t hard for alumni and fans to watch the game even if they aren’t in the stands. Top-tier programs in football and basketball are no strangers to television crews. But why should so many alumni and fans be denied the opportunity to see their teams play, just because the team happens to be in Division 2 rather than Division 1, or the women’s team rather than the men’s, or the club team instead of varsity?
A video platform that includes support for webcasting can be an easy solution to streaming event video. With a video platform like Panopto, schools can live stream video from any PC over the internet to thousands or even tens of thousands of viewers around the world. Best of all, webcasting is included standard at no extra cost for all Panopto customers — meaning athletics departments can just click “Record and Broadcast” and bring every game in every sport to any audience with ease.
When university athletics departments make full use of video, they tend to build extensive libraries of recordings in a very short time. All those practices, games, scouting trips, and personalized lessons quickly add up — it’s not uncommon for a single coach or team to produce multiple year’s worth of video in a single season. Which means that many athletics departments — even those with multi-million dollar budgets — quickly find a need for smart video management. Fortunately, that’s exactly what modern university video platforms are built to provide.
Along with making it easy for coaches to easily record from anywhere, a video platform can simplify almost every other aspect of video production and management. Video platforms can instantly upload completed recordings to a central video library where they can be shared with other staff, edited for easy review, and automatically formatted for viewing on any device.
Better still, Panopto customers can even use their video platform to search the content inside all those videos to find any word spoken or shown on-screen. This makes it easy for coaching staff to search for mentions of individual players or competitors, and quickly sift through huge vaults of recorded videos to find of specific strategies — say, how competitors may use a false 9, or how the team has played when confronted with a high screen. And because Panopto also timestamps all that content, coaches can quickly jump right to the relevant content without wasting time hunting and pecking in the video timeline for the exact moment they need to see.
Panopto is a video platform that enables university athletics departments to make the most of video to help their coaches teach, their teams learn, and their players perform at their best.
To learn more about how you can use video in your athletics department, contact our team for a demo, or request a free trial of our software today!