To continue the “Coach Swap” trips this fall, three of us Hudlies made the trek to Fridley, Minn. to visit Totino-Grace High School located just outside of Minneapolis. Little did we know we’d be visiting one of the top teams in the state, as well as some of the best Hudl users we’ve come across. By the end of the trip, we considered the staff at Totino-Grace Hudl experts when it came to utilizing all features.
Totino-Grace High School currently plays in Minnesota’s largest division, Class 6A, as one of the top 32 teams in the state despite being a Class 4A-sized school by attendance. The Eagles have been Minnesota State Champions nine times since 1977. With a rich history and an experienced coaching staff, Totino-Grace knows what it means to be football experts. They also have a knack for using Hudl, and we were lucky enough to be immersed in their system for a weekend, led by Coach Tim Pastoors.
- Friday: Position meetings, walkthrough in the gym, travel to the game, and camera setup before the varsity game against Robbinsdale Armstrong. The Hudl crew hung out on the sidelines, in the press box, and in the locker room during the 57-21 win. After the game, the team went back to the school where Coach Pastoors began uploading the video to Hudl. We then met up with the coaches for dinner, drinks, and some bonding time.
- Saturday: Position meetings with athletes, separate film sessions for the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, a short practice, and lifting before the athletes headed home for the day. The coaches met briefly before going home to break down film on their own.
- Sunday: Offensive coaching staff met and studied game film for Wednesday’s conference championship game against Osseo High School. After film study, the Hudl crew met with Coach Pastoors to brainstorm ideas on improving Hudl. Sunday is the only scheduled day off for players during the week.
- Monday: Athlete-led film session during lunch, positions meetings after school, and a two-hour practice.
A few things really stuck out during our weekend in Fridley:
Film study at lunch
Each day the football team grabs their lunch and heads to the locker room to review film as they eat. The film session is led entirely by the students, usually a team captain. Athletes are expected to attend every day unless excused for an academic reason. Head coach Jeff Ferguson (Fergy) told us, “It’s been going on for years, even back to the days of VHS tapes.”
Film study during lunch may not be a possibility for every school; however, that shouldn’t be an excuse to not watch film. As mentioned in a recent blog post, coaches across the nation are constantly showing our team how they utilize Hudl by implementing such strategies as quizzes over film.
Friday night workflow
Coach Pastoors has the ultimate “techie” setup when it comes to uploading his wide, tight, and end zone angles of HD film every Friday. Three brand new computers wielding quad core processors upload the separate angles of film through Hudl Mercury in less than 90 minutes.
While the video is uploading, live tag data is being uploaded from the iPad. At that point, Coach Pastoors can take off for the night and monitor the upload from his phone by checking how many plays are available on Hudl.com. Once home, the intercutting begins and ends in minutes using the Online Video Editor.
Divide and Conquer
The staff at Totino-Grace does a great job of dividing up work between coaches. Different coaches are assigned film breakdown, weekly scouting reports, voice overs, and notes. Dividing up the work also allows each coach to input his own ideas in the weekly game plan.
Think of Hudl as a Google Doc. Each coach can be breaking down film or adding notes at the same time. As long as one coach doesn’t delete another coach’s work, the changes will save automatically.
Aside from handling all of the football team’s film uploading, Coach Pastoors is assigned any Hudl-related issue within the school. Totino-Grace is an all-Apple school. This allows players to always have game film at their fingertips, but also causes countless Silverlight headaches. Coach Pastoors has become the master of Silverlight, even sending a school-wide email providing directions on how to fix the distorted video on Macs.
Partnering with your school’s IT team can save your entire coaching staff hours over the course of a season. Our support team runs into issues daily that require IT assistance - from allowing Hudl.com to pass the school firewall to granting computer permissions.
Our trip to Totino-Grace showed us a town, team, and group of coaches that live and die for high school football, and we came back with ways to make Hudl even better. If you have any ideas that can improve Hudl, make sure to post those to our feedback page.
Thank you again to Totino-Grace High School, especially the football team, Coach Pastoors, and the rest of the coaching staff for being great hosts. Good luck throughout the rest of the playoffs!