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Break Down a Football Game in 30 Minutes

Hudl Edit Breakdown Data

Mike Aveni is the assistant football coach at Silver Lake High School in Kingston, Mass. Coach Aveni has spent many years coaching football and is extremely familiar with the work that comes along with breaking down game film.

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or you’ve never analyzed a game before – you can’t truly appreciate the work it takes to break down a game play-by-play until you’ve stayed up ‘til 3 a.m. doing it yourself. It’s no easy feat. In this post, I’ll lay out the steps we use to make game breakdown a lot easier and faster. In a matter of 30 minutes of shared time amongst four coaches, your data is entered on every play and you are ready to meet as a staff and game plan.

Here is exactly how I divide up our coaching staff to enter data on Hudl.com for both our own game film and when scouting opponents. It’s no longer dumped on the coach with the best computer skills which means no more 3 a.m. nights for me.

Step 1 – Getting the video ready

  • Friday night we get our two trade DVDs from the opponent.
  • Coach 1 puts each DVD into their computer’s DVD drive and tells the Hudl Video Editor to load them.
  • It takes about 20 minutes to load each DVD into the Hudl Video Editor – this time can be cut in half if you have two laptops and load both DVDs simultaneously.
  • Hudl detects scene changes, so when loading is done, the games are already automatically cut into individual plays.
  • I immediately publish the games online and share them to the coaching staff. The publish process takes about 1.5 hours per game, but at this point I can go to bed and let Hudl do its thing. Again – if you have two laptops, you can publish simultaneously and cut your time in half.

Late Friday night or first thing Saturday morning, each of our coaches breaks down his portion of the game and Hudl merges all their work together. What normally took three hours per game now takes us 30 minutes and coaches can work from home.

Step 2 – Divide and conquer the break down

Hudl Divide Breakdown Workload Coaches

Step 3 – Get together and reap the rewards

By Saturday afternoon all coaches email me and tell me they are done breaking down their portion of the two scout games we have of our upcoming opponent. We than spend time getting together on Sunday to watch specific situations in the video and focus on our upcoming weekend’s game plan. With the data entered, it is easy to run tendency reports, create specific cutups, sort the plays, and skip the video that isn’t relevant.

We watch Friday night’s game on Saturday morning, but we don’t break down that game for a week or two later. Data entry doesn’t help that much with our own game, so we use our backup quarterback’s recording sheet to give us our stats since he logs the down, distance, and play from the sidelines.** We’ve always felt breaking down our opponent’s game is much more valuable than self-scouting.**

A few side notes to make this process more effective:

Shared Views:

Each coach will make a custom data view for their specific breakdown columns. For example, our defensive coaches will have views that include the fields blitz, front, and coverage. I’ve requested Hudl let me share views, I’ve got my fingers crossed it’s something they put in a future release. For now, I create views for each of my coaches on their computers.

Quality checking:

Our assistant coaches have full-time jobs and coach on the side (like most HS coaches) such as teachers, cops, etc. They don’t work with computers on a daily basis and therefore might miss a couple values on a play or two. I recommend using Hudl’s filters to sort the data to make sure none of the coaches mistakenly missed any plays when breaking down the video. Another way to double check is to generate a tendency report in Hudl – the report will tell you if it is missing any data.

Quality Checking Hudl

Send Me an Email!

Many times coaches will finish their portion of the breakdown within 20 minutes, but I won’t know for five hours until I ask them. Make sure your coaches remember to send whoever is coordinating your break down an email when they are done with their portion of the game.

Limited Staff?

You’ll see in this workflow, we don’t have a Coach 5, but sometimes we have a coach that we do fill in as Coach 5. Coach 5 is our offensive coach and he spends time scouting the upcoming opponent’s Defense. We aren’t sure how valuable it truly is to scout our opponent’s defense, so many times we just don’t. If you have a limited staff, I recommend not worrying about the opponent’s defense.

You can pretty much say ‘They run a 4-4, they run a Cover 3, they blitz.’ Really want to see your upcoming opponent’s tendencies? Mouse over the column header in Hudl, click Analyze, and sort by frequency. You can quickly pull up their most common blitzes or fronts.

We can now breakdown an opponent’s game in a half hour rather than three hours, and we can quickly share specific plays and tendency reports to our coaches and players. Another great benefit to sharing the workload? We all finally have the same terminology. I never thought we’d agree on what the ISO Dive actually meant until we all were breaking down a game together. This added consistency to communication amongst our staff goes a long way.

Questions about how to make this workflow work for your staff? Shoot me an email – maveni@yahoo.com.

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