What is the best way to video or film a volleyball game? 5 great tips

One of the best moves you can make if you want to improve your volleyball skills is to tape yourself while you play. This will allow you to see what mistakes you make over and over again but also make you feel good about the things that you master already. You will learn so many things from this that you would not be able to pick up on otherwise. However, taping a volleyball game can be a challenge as there is a lot of action. Let’s discuss what you have to take into account when you want to do this.

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

Get approval

The first step is to ask for the approval of the coach and other players. Some states have laws about filming in sports arenas so be sure to check these. You can mention that it is for personal use and that you won’t upload them on any website. Some players might feel bad if they made a stupid move and you have filmed it. Therefore make sure that you can assure everyone that bloopers or bad moves won’t be shared with other players.

Some people might not like it that you film them and you can try to keep them out of the screen or just decide that it is not worth it to film. You have to respect the decision of others in this.

Who is going to film

The person that is going to film must be prepared for this (bring the right equipment, and batteries) and be dedicated to filming during the game and processing the video afterward. If they don’t send you the files or wait a long time to do so, it can be frustrating as you are waiting to analyze the footage. Some people are just not good at filming and will mess it up. Therefore make sure that you ask the right person to film. 

Best video camera to record volleyball games and action shots

The cameras in smartphones have evolved a lot over the past few years and you can film with these. This is a great way to get started as you don’t need to make an investment in new gear. You can always upgrade later on if you feel that you will use the recordings a lot.

If you really plan to do a lot of analysis on them, you can bring a DSLR camera to film as the quality will be higher and it might be easier to zoom in on certain actions. There is a lot of movement in volleyball and you can experiment with different settings to see what keeps your camera focussed. It is possible that a ball can hit your equipment so make sure that it won’t break if the ball gets in the audience, as can happen during a volleyball game.

The Sony A6400 is a great camera to film volleyball matches. The camera is still affordable (less than 1k USD) and you can carry it around. It has been tested by a lot of people and it is a great camera overall. See more about this camera in the video below:

If you use an external camera, you have to take into account that the file size will be really big. A match lasts more than one hour and if you record in high quality, you will have to deal with several Gigabytes in data. This can make it difficult to share the footage.

You might use software to reduce the size of the file (and the quality of the video). For most people, 720p is more than enough. Once you go above 1080p, most people are not able to use the files anymore as their computer will struggle to deal with this. A lot of people don’t see the difference between 720p and 1080p anyway.

Best app for recording volleyball games

You can just use the standard camera app on your phone. This has been optimized by the manufacturer of the phone. In the past years, they have spent a lot of time improving these apps so they work quite well. You might want to upgrade your phone if you feel that the quality is not that good.

There are also several apps that make it possible to analyze the footage. For example, Coachseys helps you to watch the clips in slow motion and playback each part of the action. You can also import this video into a statistics app and gather a lot of data from it.

It takes some time to set up and get the analysis but it can really show players what they are doing wrong and right. This can give them unique insights that they might not have gotten otherwise. A lot of professional teams already use this type of analysis and smaller teams are starting to do this as well. You can get an edge if you implement this now as not a lot of coaches are thinking about this.

The fact that you can use your smartphone to film has made it a lot easier to tape a volleyball game than in the past. People are also more used to being on camera than before so this makes it easier as well.

Be sure to keep your phone sideways so that you get the whole screen filled with content. In most phone apps you can activate a grid to make it easier to position the camera.

You might look into apps to reduce the file size to make it easier to share the file. This is best done on a computer as this requires a lot of computing power. You can also upload the file to Google Drive and Google will compress it for you so that you just have to share a link.

What stand to bring

Shaky footage is not enjoyable to watch. Therefore it is a good idea to bring a camera stand. You have cheap selfie stands (such as the one below) that keep your phone in a stable position. This will make sure that the images are clear and that you don’t miss out on certain actions because you were pointing the camera in another direction at that point in time. 

A decent camera stand is a secret weapon that will make your movies a lot better. Most people shake a lot or move too fast and this makes their video unwatchable. A stand keeps the camera and footage stable and is a lot more fun to watch. It doesn’t have to be expensive as the following example shows:

The lights

You often can’t control the lights in a sports arena. If it is too dark, your footage will not be useful. Therefore you can ask the manager of the sports arena if they can light up the room better so that you can have a great way to film the team. The lights might reflect in some floors and this can be distracting if you have to watch the footage. You can experiment with settings on the camera to make sure that this is not an issue and that everything is clear.

Charger

Filming can require a lot of power. Therefore it is important that you bring a charger or battery pack. This will make sure that your camera doesn’t run out of juice in the middle of the game. Nothing is more frustrating than missing a great action because your battery is empty. The price of battery packs has lowered a lot during the past few years and therefore it is not that expensive any more to buy one of them. 

Position of the camera

If you plan to film a volleyball game, you have to make sure that you can see the action of the player itself but also how the opponents react. For example, if you are blocking a ball you want to see if you are doing so effectively but also how the other players react after this. This can give you insights into what you could have done better. Therefore it is a great idea to film from quite far away. You are missing some of the details but it is often possible to zoom in if you have a decent camera. If your film is from too close by, you might miss the overview and it is possible that you didn’t catch the reaction of the opposing team. 

Don’t go back and forth with the camera as this is too annoying to watch. Get an overview of the whole field with your camera and start taping then. You don’t have to make sudden movements to catch the action in this instance. 

Short clips

If you film the whole game, it can be too much work to view it all. Therefore you can focus on certain actions or certain quarters. Once players get tired, they start to play completely differently than they do at the beginning of the game.

Therefore it might be a good idea to focus on the last part of the game as players can start to play quite sloppily at that point. If players get confronted by this, they are often shocked as they don’t realize that they are less focused at that point in the game. This can create great lessons for them.

You can also ask the coach what the working points of a player are. For example, if the setting is a challenge, you can film every time a player is in a position to do this.

This will keep the clips short and actionable. Having to watch a whole game can be overwhelming for a lot of players and therefore they might not do this. You can also film the whole game and cut it into short clips but this takes quite some work to do so. This can be done on a phone or with a computer program. 

To conclude, we can say that it is a great idea to film yourself during a volleyball game if you want to improve rapidly. You can see what offensive and defensive movements are easy and what things you have to work on.

You can pause the video to see how your team members and the opponents react to your moves and can think how you could have approached it differently. You don’t have to do this for every match or training but if you do this once every 3 months, you will be able to see your progress over time. Not a lot of players think that this is an option that can help them so you will be a step ahead of them if you do so.