All computers these days have a built-in video camera that faces out. You can turn on this camera by clicking on the "Allow" button in the center of the video window on the right, next to the pre-recorded video clip of the coach. Alert: be sure your Internet browser VIEW option is set to zero (not zoomed in or out). Click here to see four ways to set up your viewing experience. For example, you can connect your computer to your flat screen TV if you have Apple TV or other wireless receivers such as Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV. You can download AirParrot for fast video streaming to your Apple TV or Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV receiver connected to the HDMI or USB port on your flat screen TV. Currently the live video feature does not work on mobile devices, but tune in here periodically for updates on new technology. If your laptop does not play Flash video, use another app such as Photo Booth to see yourself live and display that video window next to the video of the pro.
Click here to watch video tutorial. Coach in the Mirror has robust search features. When you open the Clips tab for the first time you will see "All Clips" at the top of the page. Below that you can scroll through our entire library, including clips that are direct instructions instead of a video loop of a coach swinging (e.g. Dixon - Volley No Backswing). The Categories column on the left contains links that open all clips in a designated category (including All Clips). If you want to work on your backhand, click on Backhand in the Categories column. You will see listed only those clips where the primary focus is the one handed or two handed backhand. But there are other clips that have backhand as a secondary focus, such as Slice Backhand. To find all clips that mention backhand, be sure you have selected All Clips in the Category column and then click on the filter-by-tag window and select "backhand" from the pop up list of tags. You will see that the backhand tag collects all video that have been tagged "backhand" even if a secondary focus, that is, as long as you have clicked on All Clips in the Category column. The filter-by-tag function searches only through the set of clips in the Category you have selected. Please browse and see the depth of our video library, including clips with slow motion, graphic overlays, and lighted rackets.
Coach in the Mirror has two buttons under the video window of the coach (scroll down if you don't see them). One button flips the prerecorded video of the coach (Flip Video Player). Use this button to flip the video horizontally if you are left-handed and want to see a left-handed coach swinging the racket. The other button (Flip Webcam) lets you watch yourself as if looking in a mirror. This feature is particularly useful when you are looking at yourself and the coach in the front perspective. Click on Flip Webcam and your right hand in the video stream appears directly across from your right hand as if looking into a real mirror. Feel free to use both the Split View and the Overlaid View. Both have their relative advantages. Over time you will learn how to use the concurrent feedback that CitM offers. See the explanation of our "Feed Forward" method in this FAQ section.
Most computer operating systems have a way to perform a screen recording. For example, if you have a Mac with Quicktime 10.1, you just open the QuickTime player and go to the File menu at the top and select "New Screen Recording." Launch the screen recording feature and then return to your Coach in the Mirror practice session on our website. The entire computer screen will be recorded for later viewing. For the PC, use Camtasia or one of these free apps.
Once you have registeredyour Coach in the Mirror account through the "Sign In' button, you will see a Playlist tab the next time you sign in. To name a new Playlist, click on that tab and select "New Playlist." This just allows you to find that name later when you add clips to this name. After you have created a playlist name, return to the Clips you want to put in a playlist with that name. When you open a particular clip perspective to watch it you will see on the far right a window that now contains a list of the playlists names you have created. Select the name you want to use from the drop-down list and then click on the blue button that says, "Add." The next time you log in you can click on the 'Playlist" tab at the top of your account and see the playlists you have named, described and added clips. Clicking on the playlist name displays only those clips you have put under that playlist name. Once you actually open a playlist you will see a url that contains a number at the end. This is a unique url and you can send it to your coaches or students as you wish. Just copy that url and send it to others at no cost. Here is an example of what they will see when they click on the url: http://www.coachinthemirror.com/playlists/42
Once you play the video of a particular tennis stroke you will see the Overlaid View button at the bottom left that allows you to merge the side-by-side windows such that the coach video and your video alternately fade in and out within the same window. This display feature forces you to watch yourself half of the time. Most people when using the Split View watch only the coach video window and assume their body is doing what they see the coach do. It takes special discipline to watch yourself, but this is very important for you to get the full benefits of Coach in the Mirror. Remember, you are in the mirror too. You can return to the side-by-side view by clicking the blue button at the bottom left that now reads Split View.
Coach in the Mirror was designed as an alternative to the traditional method of using video analysis. Traditionally a tennis player hits on the court while someone videos his movement that he later watches at a monitor off the courts. In this method the player is not feeling the movement of his body as he watches his mistakes or as he watches the coach's video next to the previously recorded video of himself. He must remember how his body looked and later apply that stored visual image to guide his body in the next practice session. The corrective feedback is delayed and out of sync with his performance. In CitM the corrective feedback occurs concurrently with performance. Thus the player can both feel his own form simultaneous with seeing the correct form of the coach. We call this method "feed forward" instead of "feedback" information. Our U.S. Patent application is currently pending.
At many tennis academies students spend hours perfecting the shape of a swing before they hit a ball. This approach, often termed "shadow swing" allows the player to concentrate on the body instead of where the ball goes. So often, when one focuses on the path of the ball, he/she has not encoded the movements that created that path. And unfortunately, sometimes a poorly executed form can lead to a descent path of the ball. One cannot dismiss such a case of good ball - bad form as a matter of individual style. Good form has long term benefits of balance, more efficient use of energy, better footwork, quicker reaction, more precision of ball placement, and so forth. Thus, at Coach in the Mirror, we believe every player who desires to improve their game should "feel the form first" without the ball in order to create a strong motor memory that guides the action on each hit. We see these drills as an important adjunct to actual play and/or your tennis lessons with a coach on the court.
Perhaps the best way to use CitM with groups will be to use a video projector. Connect the projector to your laptop and work indoors to improve the brigntness of the image on a beaded screen or white wall. Use the laptop camera or an external webcam on a long cable. The players can rotate through a single spot to enter the camera range while those off camera continue to shadow swing as a group drill. The coach can direct.
We are often amazed when we see a side or rear view video of ourselves walking, dancing, or playing a sport. We almost feel as if the image is another person. We are overly familiar with mirror images and photographs from the front view. The side and rear views are more informative simply because they are less studied. Coach in the Mirror not only uses a side and rear video of yourself, but also allows you to view these perspectives in real time by displacing the video camera and the flat screen TV. Place the camera behind you, face the screen, and watch a live rear view of yourself imitating the rear view video of the coach. Place the camera to the side, face the screen, and watch a live video of yourself imitating the side view video of the coach. You will discover shape and timing of your swing that you never noticed before. In addition, you will feel the form you are watching and correct the feeling of the form as you swing, guided by the view of yourself and the coach.