The Hudl basketball squad has been working ridiculously hard trying to create an awesome new basketball product for our coaches. But when it comes to fully understanding how coaches utilize the product, there’s only so much we can do in an office.
To gain some first-hand insight, a few members of the basketball squad took a trip to De Soto High School in Kansas to see how their team uses both versions of Hudl for basketball - the current system with five-minute long clips, and the beta system built for iPads and automatic bookmarks.
We showed up just in time to catch the varsity practice and were able to watch them warm up, go through some drills, and play a few situational scrimmages. We were ready to put on some practice jerseys and show off our skills if needed, but unfortunately we weren’t called upon.
After practice, we sat in on a film session covering the next night’s opponent, Ottawa (Kan.) High School. First, head coach Matt Rice ran the team through a self-scout of a previous game, dissecting the good and bad. He then moved on to scouting the opponent - breaking down Ottawa’s plays and studying their key players.
Following the film session, we got great feedback from the staff on the strengths and weaknesses of both basketball products. After grabbing dinner with Coach Rice, Coach Hessong, and the freshman boys’ coach Erik Bell, the three Hudlies took in the thrilling Kansas vs. K-State game on TV, then called it a night.
Before De Soto’s game the next day, we watched Coach Hessong use the current Hudl basketball system to break down their previous game.
“Hudl has the unique capability of combining video with statistics and data. Our players and coaches use these features for self-scout, opponent-scout, and highlights.”
Here’s a sampling of some breakdown data Coach Hessong enters:
Complete player stats for his team
Offensive plays run by his team
Opponent defensive type (zone or man)
Out of bounds situations
By that point, we had already gained plenty of new insight to take back to the office, but the best part of the trip was just beginning. For the boys’ varsity game, we were able to sit in on the team’s pregame, halftime, and post-game talks. It was awesome to see which in-game stats were important to the coaching staff and how they used that information to adjust at halftime. But after a hard fought game, De Soto unfortunately fell to Ottawa by three, 51-48.
On the long three-hour trek home, we pulled together some major takeaways that other beta basketball coaches might be pretty excited about:
Complete game breakdown needs to be much quicker. In the new basketball product, we’ll need to have a way to quickly associate players with stats, and add “breakdown” data (offense, defense, press break, etc.) to each possession.
Text and ink annotations are important as reminders of what to discuss during team film review, but are even more important if you want your players to review film on their own time.
While we’ve been heavily focused on the beta’s iPad experience, it’s important to remember the web experience, as well - especially for film review.
Compared to football, there’s much less time to look at video on the sidelines or in the locker room (plus, it’s not allowed in all states). That said, there’s potential for Hudl to present tons of new, actionable stats and info for coaching staffs to study during the game.
All in all, it was an extremely valuable and eye-opening trip. It gave our team a much more in-depth look at a high school coach’s daily tasks, and ideas on how Hudl can help teams become more successful. We’re already taking what we learned and applying it to the new basketball product as this season’s beta wraps up.