One of the ways we’ve used Hudl this year is by quizzing our players as they watch tape on their own time. For example, the defensive backs need to be able to check into different coverages based on the offense’s formation and personnel. So we make sure our players are mentally prepared by creating questions in the video’s notes.
We make sure they know things like, “What coverage do we play to this formation?” Or, when we play teams that go unbalanced or cover their tight ends, “Is this player an eligible receiver?”
We’ve also shown our players how to make and share their own notes, so they can respond back to the coach right on the clip as soon as they see the question. It’s perfect, because there is no fear of “looking dumb” if they get it wrong and they can respond with their own questions if needed. It has opened up communication between the players and their position coaches because they can instantly ask a question, even if we’re not all watching film together.
It also helps our kids focus on what we want them to focus on. Not many high school players understand “how to watch tape”. They get caught up looking at other players’ cleats and uniforms, the cheerleaders, big hits or guys who get juked. Now we’re helping them look at it as if we are in the meeting room with them, asking the same questions and getting everyone’s responses, then we can assess where they are in terms of being prepared to play. It shows us where we need to review or, if they’ve mastered what we’re already doing, we know to add more questions and expectations.
I recently listened to a clinic talk by Urban Meyer where he makes a ton of great points, but the 23-minute mark where he mentions “on-edge teaching” is what really resonated with me. It’s all about direct instruction and questioning that helps the kids stay focused all of the time. They don’t know when we’ll share a note asking, “What’s your alignment and assignment when we go Cover 6 to this formation?” Much like in an actual game. We don’t know when they’re going to do “A”, but we can teach the kids to know that when they do “A” our answer is “B” and they can respond right away.
We’re taking the advantages of up-tempo offenses, motions, shifts, and tendencies away, and are now able to focus more time on fundamentals and installing our own wrinkles into the scheme without spending a ton of time practicing things like, “What do we do when they go Bunch?”
Barry Merritt is the co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at North Iredell High School in Olin, N.C. This is North Iredell’s first season using Hudl, and Coach Merritt’s favorite feature is the ability to filter and share playlists.