Hello, I’m Brad Hopkins
I’m a son, husband, father, swimmer, runner, professional photographer & videographer, autodidact engineer, and lifelong inventor. Over the last 15 years, I’ve met a lot of swim coaches—from summer league volunteers to Olympic-level gurus and mentors. Once we start talking about what they’re up to and the challenges they face, the conversation always ends up here:
“I’m working with my group to taper into champs and it’s such a challenge. The kids are all staring at their phones and I can’t really tell if they’re hearing me or not. I spend so much time talking and talking, repeating my instructions over and over, and having them swim the same sets and drills. They say they’re listening; I’m just not sure my words are being translated into muscle memory. I’m afraid that, at worst, I’m wasting time and, at best, we’re missing opportunities for sustained, organic growth.”
After hearing the same story over and over, the a-ha moment happened. I figured out how we can help our swimmers master new techniques and improve their mechanics, faster and more efficiently than ever before.
Apple has paved the way for our teaching system with their iOS devices and network. Using the Apple TV to bridge between and iPad-iPhone and enormous TV is quite simple. Millions of people do this in their living rooms every day. And it works. So now we hang one or more giant screens on your pool wall and connect all your iOS devices to it. Simple and effective.
My goal is to put comprehensive over-under video of every swimmer in the hands of every coach in this country.
Visual feedback is really that important. Keep reading.
“A large body of research indicates that visual cues help us to better retrieve and remember information. The research outcomes on visual learning make complete sense when you consider that our brain is mainly an image processor (much of our sensory cortex is devoted to vision), not a word processor.” — Brad J. Bushman, Ph.D.
Learning in the pool is just like learning in other places. Your athletes need to be able to hear AND SEE, to master techniques quickly and efficiently. Using only verbal instruction means you’re giving your swimmers only a fraction of the information they could be using to improve.
Researchers and coaches agree: visual feedback is a game-changing tool for athletic training.
““For decades, the biggest enemy to progress in swimming was water. While other sports embraced video decades ago as a means for refining technique, that wasn’t an option in the pool due to technological limitations. Coaches and elite swimmers made adjustments based on guesswork and feel. Those days are officially over. Advanced video analysis is now ingrained in the training for top U.S. swimmers, helping the sport catch up to the analytics craze.” — Laine Higgins, as seen in The Wallstreet Journal, July 18, 2017
“Using video clearly shows players exactly what they are doing wrong and makes it easier to make corrections. When a student sees himself on video while receiving an explanation of his mechanics, the whole picture of what he needs to do will become clearer.” — CoachUp
“The combination of visual and audio feedback…may be the most effective way to learn new skills and also to improve performance.” — Maria Giannousi
“One of the best tools – and one that’s quite sobering for swimmers – is video. Record swimmers using their current technique and then using the new technique. The visual feedback immediately corrects a swimmer’s perception. I often hear swimmers say, ‘I had no idea I was doing that!’” — Stuart McDougal
“You want the kids to understand why you’re asking them to do what you’re asking them to do—to get efficient at the techniques you’re asking them to do. Everything is filmed from an evaluation process and also as a learning tool.” — Jeff Casteel
Head coaches around the country trust the Argo Coaching system to provide above/below water visual feedback to reach breakthrough teaching moments…
Laura Matuszak, Head Coach, Green Mountain Aquatic
Rob Green, Jr., Head Coach, D.C. Wave
“In addition to the iPad, they can access their videos, as well as their teammates’ videos online via the website server 24 hours a day, which allows them to learn from one another even when they’re not at the pool! The recording process was quick and easy.
“[Argo] was able to record over 100 of our swimmers in about 2 practice sessions, and all he needed was 1 lane during our workout. I would recommend this service to any competitive swim team, big or small, that’s serious about helping their swimmers improve their stroke mechanics.
“Thanks Brad. We will be scheduling you back soon!”
Ken Heis, Head Coach, Mason Rays
“Brad filming wasn’t disruptive at all. He came in, did his thing. We kept all but one of our lanes moving throughout practice. Our expectations were high and were all met by the Argo process. Simple.
“Our club has purchased more than one “system” to do the filming ourselves. We have spent literally thousands of dollars and we use none of the equipment. We’ve gone through just about every underwater video system there is. Biggest flaw about all of them is that things just don’t get done. What’s really nice about this service is that they come in, film all the kids, give us a huge iPad with all the kids video on it and within a week we’re all finished, ready to teach and Coach the kids one-to-one with the iPad or one-to-many with the giant screen.
“We will be bringing them back again.”
Nicky DeCaro, Head Coach, Bergen ‘Cudas
Scott Ward, Head Coach, McDonogh Eagles
“Brad was very flexible when taping our swimmers, allowing us to add last minute kids who forgot to sign up. The actual taping proved to be no interruption in our daily practice schedule. We simply pulled kids out of practice, had them taped and plugged back into practice in less than 4 minutes.
“The high quality video clips ere elivered to us in a fast and simple format that our team was able to utilize right away and we are still reviewing videos with our kids this fall. The software is very easy to use and makes reviewing the video worthwhile. The clarity of the videos along with the ability to see each swimmer on a split screen (above and below the water) slow motion and freeze frame gives us a great tool in improving our athletes’ technique.
“The entire process was easy and the finished product is outstanding.”
Greg Lake, Head Coach, CCA Marlins
“The actual taping proved to be no interruption in our daily practice schedule at all. Brad’s crew provided professional, fast and simple service to our club that will be utilized for months to come. The clarity of the video along with the ability to see each swimmer above and below the water will give the Marlins an additional tool in our belt to become better swimmers.
The entire process and finished product is awesome. We will definitely be having them back soon. Thanks so much, Brad!”
Jon Siegel, Head Coach, Madison Mariners
“We are already using his “hand-held, slow-motion video” every day throughout practice. We even used it during last weekend’s meet. Here’s my opinion. Coaches think they see what’s going on under the surface. Even if they do, their words frequently get lost in the noise inside a swimmer’s head. If you assume as I do that most kids learn visually, then most simply don’t hear what the Coach is telling them about their stroke mechanics. Which makes an important case for hand-held, slow-motion video. When the kids “sees” what the Coach is telling them, there’s this “aha moment” that takes place. We can see it in just one week.
“The old school way of sitting down in an office, one kid at a time for a 10-15 minute review session simply wouldn’t work for our Coaching Staff and their existing workload. With the iPads in play for “micro-moment” coaching throughout practice we now have an effective way of getting slow-motion video in front of every swimmer, all the time.
“I would strongly recommend Argo and will be re-scheduling them into our Club in the Fall of 2016.”
Tim Mulvihill, Head Coach, SSYS YMCA
“At the conclusion of the session the video was loaded onto our FREE iPad for use one-to-one and for wireless use with the giant 65″ LCD ViewStation which the Argo crew mounted on our pool wall. The efficiency and quality of the service combined with the portability of the videos on an iOS-device has enabled me to provide great technical feedback on deck and in parent/athlete meetings.
“At the end of the day, we fully endorse this service and we look forward to having them back this short course season.”