The NFL Combine is in full throat. You can watch it live over on nfl.com. Gathered in Indianapolis you’ll find a group of elite former Division 1 football players being put through a series of drills that NFL scouts and General Managers will use to judge their position in the upcoming NFL draft. It’s crucible of pressure with every flaw in technique being diagnosed and measured.
Now the NFL is no stranger to video. They are a very sophisticated organization that understands the power of video both from a broadcast and video analysis perspective. They get it, and they spend many thousands, perhaps even millions, of dollars yearly to capture everything in HD and make it available to teams, coaches, and scouts. They’ve done this for years and are brutally efficient. But here’s what’s really interesting to me. Technology is rapidly evolving at a pace where a five dollar app in the App Store provides sophisticated instant video analysis tools that are on par with and often better than the tools the pros are using.
I know if I were a GM or a scout at the combine I’d be carrying an iPhone or an iPad and I’d want the video of the athletes I was interested in available to me immediately. I’d want the ability to scrub the video frame-by-frame. I’d want slow motion playback. I’d like to draw lines and arrows on the video to highlight technique. I’d want to add a voice over to my frame-by-frame analysis. And then, I’d like to send a link to that video off to the home office in an email or text message within a couple of minutes of evaluating a player’s performance.
If I were an athlete training for the combine I’d want to be able to use a mobile device to quickly diagnose my technique right on the field where I could make immediate corrections. I’d use it daily, because I know that my shot at the NFL and potentially millions of dollars hung in the balance with every movement. There would be no hassle learning how to use a video editor or spending time after the workout reviewing the video. It would fit seamlessly into my practice. Perform, review, and correct. Rinse and repeat. All right there on the field with no waiting or impediments to practice.
Sound like science fiction? It’s not. Today everybody, and I mean everybody, has access to powerful video analysis tools that can do frame-by-frame scrubbing, slow motion, voice over, and video annotation. It’s called Coach’s Eye. It’s so easy to use that ten year olds can pick it up and use all it’s features within seconds of first seeing it. It costs five dollars and it will run on an iPhone 3GS / 4 / 4S or iPad 2. And you know the hardware is only going to get better (the iPad 3 is coming soon and we are going to take full advantage of that platform’s capabilities). Yes indeed, times they are a changing. We can’t wait to see what the NFL Combine of the future will look like.