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How Coaching Apps Can Improve Your Game 2021

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Key Takeaways

A wide range of new personal coaching apps can improve your sports skills and prevent injuries. New apps, such as Uplift, allow coaches and athletes to connect and interact live via smart devices such as phones and tablets.Witness, a sports coaching app, connects users with trainers based on personal fitness goals and levels, preferred location, and budget. Uplift.ai

Sports coaching apps can boost your skills in everything from golf to tennis with personalized training, experts say. 

A new app called Uplift allows coaches and athletes to interact live. The app uses artificial intelligence to tap into kinematics and biomechanical data to help improve performance. It's one of a growing number of apps that's using software developed for professional athletes to help weekend warriors. 

"Amateur fitness enthusiasts need expert coaching to prevent injury and to make sure they are on the right track to their chosen goals," ultramarathoner Joel Runyon, creator of the Movewell app, which focuses on mobility training, said in an email interview. 

"Someone can give 100% every workout, get their diet in check, and end up in a worse position than they started."

Get Coached or Get Hurt

Getting coaching is essential because the body adapts to exercise; forcing the wrong or imbalanced adaptations can lead to mediocre results or even injury, Runyon said. "Expert coaching can provide a balanced exercise program that reduces the risk of injury backed by knowledge of what is required to achieve specific goals," he continued. 

The Uplift software tries to make it seem like you are being coached in-person. Until now, most athletes have relied on video conference apps like Zoom for live remote coaching, Uplift CEO Sukemasa Kabayama said in an email interview. 

"We flip the script so the coach or trainer, whether you are in a private 1:1 training session or a small group class, is spending the majority of time focused on the athlete's live movement, which translates to real athletic performance gains," he added.

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"Uplift enables bi-directional, real-time communication and a level of athlete-coach/trainer interaction that is as close to in-person as it gets."

Uplift uses artificial intelligence to let coaches and trainers visualize how you move, Kabayama said. It also powers tools that can highlight elements of sport-specific motions like arm angles, body position, and overall orientation. 

Uplift Capture, the company's enterprise-level solution, is used by professional sports teams and athletes. It's available on the web and via the app (on Apple iOS for coaches and Apple and Android for athletes).

Uplift boasts features like Spotlight (which can "zoom in" live on one athlete during a group session); Live Heart Rate Tracking; Live + Smart Annotations (for on-screen telestrator-like capabilities); Live Replay; and Live Video Sharing. 

Many Ways to Get Coached, By App

Other sports apps also offer live training from coaches. For example, there's Witness, a sports coaching app that connects users with trainers based on personal fitness goals and levels, preferred location, and budget. 

"With live feedback from a trainer, our app keeps people disciplined in their workouts," Eran Cinamon, the co-founder, and CEO of Witness, said in an email interview. "Persistent trainers are a 'witness to fitness,' helping people achieve their fitness goals."

Apps like Witness allow people to have a gym-like experience where and when they want it, Cinamon said. 

"Most gym members are not experienced or informed enough to ensure safe and effective training programs for themselves," Cinamon added. "More people are investing in home gyms and personal training equipment, making it easier to engage with trainers outside of the gym."

"We flip the script so the coach or trainer...is spending the majority of time focused on the athlete's live movement, which translates to real athletic performance gains,"

Even amateurs can benefit from personal attention through apps, golf coach Jake Johnson said in an email interview. 

"Most people who take up a new sport want to become better players, regardless of having no aspirations of becoming a professional athlete," Johnson said.

"Although constant practice and training are fundamental to your progress, finding a coach nearby or perhaps schedule conflicts might affect in-person training. A sports coaching app could be the solution to improving their skills."

Johnson recommends the app Skillest that helps you connect with a coach for golfers looking for some extra help. 

"You upload footage of your golf swings, and a coach will respond with a video lesson and feedback on how to improve your game," he added. "The app offers online lessons, live video sessions, and you can communicate at any time with your chosen coach."