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Why We Got In The Hudl - Part Two

This is the second in a two-part series from youth football teams talking about their decision to adopt Hudl organization-wide, and how they plan to use it this season. Check out Part One featuring Oconomowoc Youth Football.

Rick Sparks and the Wheaton Rams (Ill.) first heard about Hudl through the coach’s grapevine – word of mouth from other youth coaches, as well as local area high school programs.

Atlanta Colts (Ga.) Draft Coordinator, Grady Thrasher, found Hudl in an article from a simple Google search back in 2009. They started league-wide with Hudl for their 31 teams in 2012, after their travel team demoed Hudl to the board.

Where do you see the benefits from Hudl within the organization?
Rick: “First and foremost, it provides a level of consistency within our program. Prior to this year, each coach and team within the program was free to utilize any program they wanted. Adding this level of uniformity creates an environment in which every coach is doing the same thing and can work with the same tool from year to year. The level of consistency as a coach moves from one level to the next is a great benefit.

“The tool is easy to access and use. Because coaches at this level are volunteers, we also want to limit the amount of time spent learning technology. The intuitive nature of the program makes it very easy to use.

“Finally, the fact that we were able to enroll 21 teams at a price point that was acceptable for the organization was a key factor in the decision-making progress.”

How do you plan on using it this season?
Rick: “Our coaches are free to utilize Hudl as they see fit. Personally, I will be using it with my staff during our weekly film sessions. We will also break down key plays and teaching points for our team film sessions. Parents have an open invite to view the information at their leisure.”

Grady: “We plan to continue to use Hudl as a tool for our coaches, but our parents have really enjoyed the access. We will also use it as a way for the refs to review controversial calls. Some coaches are also planning to create a nice end-of-the-year highlight.”

Anything else you’d say to someone in your shoes?
Grady: “Park-wide adoption really worked for us when we hired local high school students to film and upload all the games.”

Rick: “We’re only a week into storing and sharing film on Hudl, but I can already see its benefits. Simplicity of utilization and access are both a major plus.”

Rick Sparks is President of the Wheaton Rams, based in Wheaton, Ill. The organization participates in the West Suburban Bill George Youth Football League supporting the Warrenville, Wheaton and Winfield communities. The Rams youth football program has a proud and rich heritage of developing players for high school programs over the last 45 years. You can learn more about their program here.

Grady Thrasher is the Draft Coordinator for the Atlanta Colt Youth Association. The Atlanta Colts participate in the Northwest Georgia Youth Football League. The Colts have a long and proud football heritage with a winning tradition including 121 league and bowl championships and nine national championships. Find out about their program here.

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