Seeing is believing. Or disbelieving. As in: I cannot believe my forehand backswing looks like that. Am I doing a Gulbis impression? Such is the power of seeing yourself perform on video.
But once you get the past the shock of how different strokes and movement can look from those “models” on TV, video analysis can be an invaluable tool for improving form. Once the province of resourceful teaching professionals, the expanding capabilities of smartphones has made anyone a videographer.
One of the available options is the CoachMyVideo app. Currently available for the iPhone and iPad—Android is (allegedly) on the way—CMV allows players to get a slow-motion, frame-by-frame playback of themselves on court in a matter of seconds. There are also drawing tools that let you mark up the video for teaching points. The app is free, and you can send a video to CMV to have a tennis coach look it over, mark it up, and offer suggestions. (This is available for other sports, as well). There’s also a private coaching edition (for a $5 fee) which has advanced video editing capabilities, on-line coaching reference videos, and allows you to sync and evaluate two videos alongside each other. So you can compare yourself to your own stroke—perhaps a before and after sequence—or to another player with more ideal technique.
The marketing tagline at the end of CMV videos asks: “If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a video worth?” After watching mine, I have a few choice ones, and they’re not fit for print.