Dartfish has two functions: technical (biomechanical analysis) analysis and tagging (performance or notational analysis).
Except for the most technical of sports (e.g., diving or gymnastics) or high performance sport where the tiniest of edges can have a significant impact on world ranking (e.g., pro tennis serve), the tagging function is most useful to team or dual/combat sports to analyze the tactical (or technical/tactical) aspects. (Personally, Dartfish technical analysis only slows me down – I can quickly make technical changes with my athletes, perhaps only briefly referring to a few seconds of video.)
Unfortunately, due mostly to the high degree of attention to the technical analysis of the software, very few coaches are aware of the advantages of the tagging function. For example, my Dartish tagging example is the only squash example available through a Google search.
Also, despite the fact that Dartfish has published a number of guides and instructional videos, the learning curve is steep and initial use of the software is extremely challenging – especially for coaches who may do little analysis out-of-season (so up to six months may elapse between uses).
The frequent updates (four since 2007) to the software are also costly.
Other barriers to it’s use by Smith varsity Head Coaches:
- ESS, not Athletics owns the software and it is installed on ESS computers in the graduate student lab, not the most encouraging scenario for frequent use;
- Although ESS graduate students receive Dartfish training, Athletics Department coaches do not (except for the small training I ran in 2007?) – the software is unusable without significant training (not intuitive – difficult to self-teach);
- High coach turnover in the last several years – few were around when the initial purchase was made (time of highest interest);
- Lack of official encouragement/coordination of its use – for example a dedicated Athletic’s lab or multiple licenses (or coach partnerships to share licenses) – I believe the Athletics Department bought a competing software this past year “Gamebreaker”?
- As mentioned above, lack of use in general by fellow and other coaches – so little general knowledge of its advantages.
The ESS Department is considering spending $3,000 in the the next fiscal year (2011-12) on “renewing” (obtaining an updated version – 5.5 from 4.5 Team Pro edition? perhaps with some support?).
Your comments and feedback would be very useful in determining if this would be a wise acquisition:
- Have you ever used the Dartfish software?
- Were you aware that the College owned multiple licenses and that the software was available for you to use?
- Do you personally know any coaches who use a tagging software for their college team?
- Are you aware of any other (or a better or cheaper) software?
- After viewing the example of a tagging analysis below (Gaelic Football – it is almost St. Paddy’s) would you be interested in being able to use this software?
- How large a priority would this (#5) be: low, medium, high.
Please leave you comments (by March 24) in the comment box below this post and I will collect the circulate the comments to the ESS and Athletic Department.