It’s no secret that in order to become the best skier you can be, careful analysis of your skiing is an essential piece to that puzzle. Almost every skier and coach since it became practical to film turns with handheld cameras has had some form of video analysis used as part of their programs. In many ways, the camera revolutionized ski racing and opened up a whole new realm of analysis to coaches and athletes not possible in the early days of the sport.
In recent years, Sprongo has emerged as a leading player in the sports video analysis arena and filled a much-needed gap in how coaches store and share the video they shoot on a day-to-day basis, as well as how athletes access that footage themselves. Today, thousands of teams at all levels and across multiple sports trust Sprongo with their cloud-based video needs.
Sprongo now takes another step forward in their evolution with the introduction of their new SIVA AI video analysis platform. SIVA, or Sprongo Intelligent Video Analytics, is an intelligent platform that delivers automated angle analysis of video clips. SIVA provides angular measurements of an athlete’s legs, hips, shoulders, and arms that can move within a video clip, eliminating the need for painstaking manual frame-by-frame measurements.
Sprongo Founder and CEO Muzi Gazioglu, himself a former ski racer, thinks the SIVA video analysis feature could change the face of sports analysis forever.
Gazioglu explains that the level of analysis now offered through SIVA was previously only available to professional-level athletes, like golfers on the PGA Tour, who had the resources to hook themselves up to expensive and complicated machines to take real-time measurements of their body in order to analyze their technique. With SIVA, all that is needed is a short video clip to get many of those same measurements.
“In ultra-high-end golf analysis, for example, you get all this complicated data from sensors and harnesses that you have to wear,” Gazioglu says. “Here, the cool thing is all you need is a video clip to pull all that out for you, no need for a special device.”
SIVA is currently live on the Sprongo website and allows coaches and athletes to pull angular data either from single frames of their video or from intervals of 3-seconds, capturing data at up to 33 frames per second. SIVA tracks 8 major angular data points throughout a 3-second clip which would process 792 individual measurements.
Since SIVA is tracking angular measurements and not an athlete’s speed or time, athletes can also analyze the movements of the best skiers in the world and compare their measurements throughout a turn to the likes of Mikaela Shiffrin or Alexis Pinturault side by side.
“When coaches watch video, they use a subjective view, with the new AI it makes the coach view the video with an objective eye,” says Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach and longtime Sprongo user, Gus Pernetz. “Skiers are athletes, they all have deficiencies. The new AI is going to be a game-changer for so many sports; from gait analysis to movement screening. If a coach wants to do any movement analysis they used to have to do it in a lab environment. Now you can do it anywhere.”
Although not a current feature of SIVA, Gazioglu and the team at Sprongo have their sights set on another groundbreaking achievement in the world of coaching: SIVA eventually being able to provide technical tips to athletes all by itself, creating, in essence, an artificial coach.
“Initially, we’re delivering the angle calculations to the user, they’ll see their skeleton and their angles, but the next step is for the AI to give recommendations,” he explains. “For example, the AI might analyze a turn and say, ‘Hey, we recommend you keep your shoulders more square.’ That’s the next phase of the project, but for this year we’re really excited about the initial analysis.”
Gazioglu is optimistic that Sprongo will be able to compile enough data points from the best skiers in the world to create a benchmark of data for each discipline. That benchmark will then be used as a baseline for SIVA to analyze your skiing and give you recommendations based on what the fastest skiers in the world are doing.
The concept of an artificial coach might seem like something out of a sci-fi movie for some people, but for coaches like Mark Conway at the Minneapolis Alpine Ski Team, he needs to look for every way to pack as much coaching as he can into a limited amount of time on snow with his athletes.
“Because most of our ski areas don’t open until the end of November, we only get to coach our athletes on snow for about twelve weeks each winter,” he says. “We have a lot of coaching to pack into a twelve-week timeframe. By offering so many tools for analysis and communication, Sprongo helps our coaching staff speed up the skills acquisition process. I am especially excited for our coaches and athletes to use the new AI tool that will allow us to quickly measure and evaluate an athlete’s angles as he or she progresses through the turn.”
SIVA’s analysis is not limited to skiing, either. Does your strength and conditioning coach want to make sure your squat form is as rock-solid as possible? Looking to dial in your serve before tennis camp next summer? Sprongo and SIVA can help with that, along with virtually any other movement-based analysis you can think of.
Since its founding, Sprongo has had the mission of making video analysis as intuitive and hassle-free as possible. Through offering innovative tools like cloud-based video storage and sharing and now SIVA to coaches and athletes, Sprongo continues to set athletes up for success at every level of the sport.
To learn more about Sprongo and SIVA, visit sprongo.com.