As sport training techniques and procedures continue to advance, using a GoPro camera may end up being one of the more surprising new teaching tools for coaches, sport psychologists, and even parents. Yes, the wildly popular mini-camera designed to catch exciting, first-person views of the world might end up being a unique teaching tool like no other before it’s all said and done.
New coaching technique
Think about this for a moment — when we work with athletes and teach them ways to acquire skills or reduce anxiety in pressure situations, we offer our advice from our view of looking at the athlete in action. While this approach is certainly useful, we may want to explore how the athlete views these situations from a first-person view in the future. For example, if you are a baseball coach and have a player who doesn’t stay down on ground balls hit to him in the infield, what better way to “get in his head” than to actually see the ball the same exact way the player does? In this example the coach (or sport psychologist or parent) can then rewind, slow things down and examine the precise point in which the player begins to bail on a ball he should otherwise be confident handling. Pretty cool, huh?
A second example might be a tennis player having trouble returning serves — using a GoPro she might improve on her returns by reviewing video footage to see the precise point in which the serve is being hit so that she may better prepare to return volley. This is yet another way to coach using the athlete’s point of view rather than the coach.
In psychology, the concept of empathy centers around being able to feel what another person is truly feeling, and this is accomplished by “walking in the shoes” of that person. Using a GoPro camera we can now see sports action exactly the way an athlete sees the game, and we can use this device as a teaching tool to zero-in on crucial moments where the player goes from “playing to win” with great confidence and composure, to “playing to avoid losing” when fear and self-doubt take over.
Sport psychology for the future
Sport psychologists will find great therapeutic use of the GoPro as it can be used along with 1-1 counseling sessions to better understand issues around focus, self-talk, and lapses in resiliency. Once these issues are accurately addressed, new game plans can be developed using cognitive-behavioral techniques like arousal control, imagery, positive self-talk, and cue word utilization. Add consistent positive reinforcement and before too long you will have extinguished old habits and substituted them with new, positive muscle-memory sport skills. Interestingly, using a GoPro with athletes is just the beginning, as other practicing psychologists might also find this camera useful when working with everyday clients suffering from fears and phobias using a unique first-person approach.
The future of sports training and development is just around the corner, and gaining important first-person perspectives will likely lead the way when it comes to optimizing athletic development.
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