The Eye in the Sky Don’t Lie with Coach Dukes
I can remember hearing that line for the first time. It was my sophomore year in high school – a Sunday afternoon.
We were in a dark room, the smell of menthol cream and testosterone wafting through. We were watching game film from Friday Night’s game, and my coach had asked one of the linemen if he thought he had done a capable job on the previous play.
When the response came, “Yes sir.” my coach said, “well son… the eye in the sky don’t lie. Let’s watch it again.” Coach then went into detail about how the player should have performed, how he should have set his feet, how he should moved in order to produce a better outcome on that play…and the kid got it.
Right then I realized what a useful tool a camera is. Over the next few years, I would spend countless hours watching film of opponents, and of myself in practice… always trying to determine what I could do to improve my chances of success.
All of that film study gave a kid with mediocre athletic ability a little bit of a leg up, and I was able to perform at a level absolutely no one had ever conceived possible for me (becoming a football letterman and award winner at the University of Georgia).
Fast forward about a lifetime or so, and you’d find me at CrossFit High Voltage…going through the motions in my training, trying to recapture something of the athlete I had once been. Coach Ryan House approached me with his phone and said, “let me show you what you’re doing.”
…and there it was again- the eye in the sky don’t lie.
My squat form was terrible. We identified a few issues and I began to work on them, always double checking with the various coaches, asking them to watch specific parts of my movement…and I slowly began to improve.
If you’ve worked out with me in the past year or two, you’ve likely seen me set up a camera (and if you follow my IG, you’ve seen the posts) but despite popular theory, I don’t do it for the likes. I do it for study, and for accountability. I can look back in my archives and compare the movements I do now to how I did them 6 months, a year, two years ago. I can see the progressions.
More importantly, after a training day I can watch every set & rep and determine where the flaws start to creep in. Do I drop my shoulders when the weight gets heavy? At what point of depth is my back rounding? Am I not clearing my hips before I start to shrug/pull under on my cleans? As I break down each piece, I can work on them.
Our coaches are phenomenal, but they can not be there for every rep. They may watch you do a full set and you perform wonderfully, but then the very next set when you add weight and they’ve walked away, you falter. They may not be able to help you with the “why” because they didn’t see what caused the issue.
…but the eye in the sky don’t lie. It’ll show you where your faults creep in, it’ll show you how your form changes when the challenge is increased. And then, it’s going to be up to you to challenge yourself to correct it.
Now, you’re not alone. I go to different coaches all the time and show them a video where I see a flaw and ask, “If I work on X, will it help this?” or “What do you suggest I do here, do you know any drills that can help?” These coaches are a great resource, and giving them evidence of your issues is only all the more helpful.
I encourage everyone to video themselves when performing movements they need work on. Once you can identify them, you can start to make adjustments and get more GOOD reps. The more good reps you get, the more your body learns to move in that good way.
For me, it’s a matter of constant improvement. You don’t go from a 225 squat to a 400 squat in a month of video capture. But you may get more depth on your 225…or you may improve your form enabling you to knock out more reps at that same weight.
As the better reps over time go by, you watch as those numbers increase, your ability increase, and you become a different athlete than you were- AND you have the whole journey documented to look back on.
The eye in the sky don’t lie, and it’ll help you get better every day.