Coach's Eye is an Android app that lets you film your sporting performance using your phone or tablet, and then watch it back in super slow motion, on a large screen, and with annotations so you can see just why it is you hook your 3-wood or keep hitting the net with your forehand. We tried Coach's Eye with our Motorola Motoluxe handset. See also: Best Android Apps.
It's a fact of life that technology is making available to everyone facilities that were previously restricted by expense to professionals. No longer do you need a video suite to record your tennis serve, football kicking style or golf swing. Any old smartphone will do.
Coach's Eye from Techsmith builds on that capability, creating a simple-to-use app that is geared at assessing and improving sporting technique. By recording and reviewing, the theory goes, you can break down an action you repeatedly perform, and improve your technique.
The most important function is video capture. Coach's Eye utilises your Android smartphone's hardware to record film clips of sporting performance. Then, if your device has HDMI connectivity (which is, let's face it, unlikely) you can watch the footage on the largest screen in the house. More likely you can send film clips to your PC via Bluetooth.
So far so standard. But why would you need a separate video app to capture and share videos?
Coach's Eye: why buy?
You don't, of course. But often good apps simply make easy functionality you already have. Coach's Eye adds a couple of killer features that make this app a winner for £2.99.
The first is calls 'Slow-motion review'. Using a flywheel you can scroll through video at a snail's pace, nudging forward and backward in tiny increments of time in order to precisely evaluate just where your practised golf stroke became a manic hacking slice. And to help you pick out the exact spot where things started going wrong, you can annotate film footage.
So many repeated sporting actions require stability that simply being able to draw a straight line from head to toe can point out flaws in technique. Coach's Eye lets you annotate video with more than lines, however. Arrows, circles, squares and freehand drawing allow you to measure how far from ideal your strokes and swings are.
If you're the coach in this scenario, you can even record audio over the top of the footage. In my experience this goes something like this: 'Keep your head still, Matt. KEEP YOUR HEAD STILL, MATT'. Your experience may differ - either way, Coach's Eye offers the capability. Finally, you can name video clips in a specific way ('Matt Egan - golf lesson number 467'), and share them via a variety of different ways: email, SMS, DropBox, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote and more. Again, if you're a coach this could prove to be a useful prompt.
Coach's Eye is simple to use, as you might expect from a tool of this relatively minor level of complexity. It doesn't offer a great deal more than your phone or tablet's native video app. And do remember that the quality of the images is only as good as your hardware. But if you are in the process of trying to improve at a sport which requires repetition of a similar technique, for £2.99 it just might help to give you the edge.