Tag Archives: on a shoestring

DIY $20 stabilizing rig

When you’ve spent a small fortune on a good camera and you find that watching the movie clips you shoot with it makes you seasick, since it’s shaking so much, what do you do then?
Camera equipment can be ridiculously expensive, so you’re wondering “How can I fix this problem without spending too much money?”.

When I want to come really close to the rugby action and want to study individual technique in, say breakdowns, or want a good wide-angle view of the defense from behind, I use my GoPro.
To keep it from shaking when I move I need a stabilizing rig for the camera. Buying a metallic rig -even a fairly cheap one – like the Fotodiox GoTough Wedge (though certainly not the only option available) can set you back a hefty $150 or more. So instead I’ve built a small rig from plastic sewage pipes which you can get in any hardware store for around $20.

Since I built it last summer, lots of people from both local amateur clubs as well as players and PAs from major professional european rugby clubs have asked me about it and encouraged me to patent the design.
Well, to be honest, I got the idea from YouTube (where else!?) so I can’t patent it and it’s really so simple to make that anyone can do it.

This is how you make a DIY $20 GoPro stabilizing rig:

Just cut a sewage pipe into 6 parts and use 2 90° connectors, 2  45° connectors and a T-shaped connector to put it all together.

I also added some padding just to make it nicer to hold (and it also floats in water, making it easier to stabilize if you dive with it. Just make sure to seal it well to keep the water out of the pipes.)






BJ Botha of Munster Rugby coaching young talents at Munster Talent Camp, Rockwell College, Ireland
BJ Botha of Munster Rugby coaching young talents at Munster Talent Camp, Rockwell College, Ireland and of course – a DIY stabilizing rig in action!


Improve tackles using a Wii remote control

Sounds weird?
Well, not all teams have the economy to buy “G-force measurement gadgets” to use in analysis of forces involved in tackles. So they haven’t been able to use that kind of data when they’re working to improving tackle techniques….
Unless they’re ready to think a little outside of the box.

The Wii remote control has an accelerometer built into it and can send data about it’s pitch, yaw, roll and acceleration in X, Y and Z over a bluetooth connection. Usually the receiver of that data is a Wii console. That is, of course, the whole idea with the Wii remote – to be able to play the games based on how you move the control.

But – if you connect that remote to a computer and record the data it sends, you can graph the registered acceleration and visualize the G-forces the remote is exposed to when moving it around.
A bit nerdy? Yes! And useful for a PA with a tight budget.

So fasten the remote to a tackling bag using some classic duck tape, connect the remote to the computer and then record it’s data while performing tackle drills. You would then get the G-force data onto your computer, and the rest is up to your usual analysis and coaching process…

I’ve tested software from Eziosoft to record the data and it works just fine. A little unstable sometimes, but at no cost at all, what can you expect? Info on how to connect a Wii remote can be found either at the Eziosoft webpage or at the Wiimote Project.
I’m sure there are other Wii remote solutions, or other cheap ways of measuring impact force/acceleration/G-forces out there. Please let me and the rest of the PA community know by telling us about it in the comments below or tweet about it.
By the way – you do follow me on Twitter and Facebook, right?

Simple frequency form

One of the simplest methods of gathering data is counting the number of times a certain event occurs and writing it down on a piece of paper. That’s really all there is to it. But to give that data a bit more meaning you might want to add a quality aspect to it as well, for instance if you’re counting scrums won you might want to set up a table like this:

                 Team A       Team B
Won cleanly
Under pressure

where Team A and Team B are representing the team that puts the ball into the scrum. Then you can just count how many scrums there where during the match, how many your team won cleanly, won under pressure or lost. You also get how many times you were able to put pressure on the opponents, even if they won the scrum in the end. With this data you can quickly evaluate scrum efficiency on a basic level and talk to coaches about why the numbers look they way they do. It really doesn’t get any simpler than this, does it?

Download here!

Below I’ve attached a link to a file with some basic tables for frequency counting in it. Just to get you started. Feel free to download it and change it in any way you like. Simple Frequency Form (Word-format .docx 221 kB) In it you’ll find a couple of pictures of a rugby pitch, or parts of it. You can use these to plot where you and your opponent scored tries and where on the pitch penalties were awarded. Good luck and please share any improvements, or suggestions of such, you might have in the comments below.