“If I could just see my flaws, I could fix them.”
How I solved the challenges of filming tennis and created the VolleyCam.
My name is Robert Keppel. I’m a 37 year old NTRP 4.0 league/tournament player who was improving steadily until early 2011 when my progress halted. I was taking lessons, watching video, and studying strategy but none of these things translated on-court. I was losing to the same players by the same margins month after month.
I tape myself and renew my inspiration to improve.
The video is a revelation: there are some REAL problems with my technique. My instructors point them out, but I mostly ignore them because in my mind, I truly believed I was bending my knees, turning my shoulder, and playing technically sound tennis. The video changes my mindset about improvement and practice…I knew for certain what my flaws were, and I now had a tool to verify my progress.
The quest for the perfect camera.
There are problems with my video equipment: a 60 minute recording limit, my 6 foot tripod won’t film over the fence, and most importantly…I can’t capture the whole court. I try tens of combinations of cameras (Flip cam, high dollar HD, GoPro Hero), tripods (eight foot, ten foot, even hanging the camera from the fence itself), and lenses until I find the perfect combination of weight, simplicity and cost. I also spend hours on the tennis court perfecting a way to get the camera centered. I name the system the VolleyCam, and put together the site you see now, hoping to simplify the process of creating and sharing video on the Internet…the movement that is revolutionizing tennis.
The payoff: rapid improvement in my game…with the help of friends.
The VolleyCam is light and simple enough that I can quickly set it up before every practice session or match. The videos transfer quickly to my computer where I can review them and upload them to YouTube. Here, I share the video with the community at Tennis Warehouse and get some useful feedback about my forehand:
I return to the court, apply the advice from the message board (more shoulder turn, more knee bend, less arm), and make a big improvement in racquet head speed: