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Using Hudl to Snap Streaks

When I joined the staff at Incarnate Word Academy as an assistant coach in the fall of 2008, the head coach was in the middle of choosing a video editing system. There were several options on the market, but only Hudl was Internet-based.

I was already familiar with Hudl after hearing about it from football coaches, and urged him to give it a shot, but we ended up using another product that season. It had some great features, but it was Mac-based and tied to one computer – whoever wanted to view film had to have that laptop.

Why We Switched

No one else had access to the video unless we burned DVDs, but that didn’t change that only one person could edit. Scheduling meetings just to hand off the laptop from one staff member to another was aggravating, as were the other limitations that come with a software-based product. We had a great postseason, but scouting meant sending coaches all over the state of Missouri to collect film.

When we made another run at state the next season, I convinced our head coach to try Hudl. It was a great decision and a huge part of winning back-to-back titles. We received film from other teams in a matter of minutes via Exchanges, every coach was able to watch film on their own time, sharing the film was easier, and preparation was a lot less time-consuming.

From the Ground Up

As a head coach, I’ve used Hudl for the last two seasons and it’s made a tremendous difference in each team’s performance. My first season as a head coach in Missouri, the basketball program already had a Hudl account, but the girls’ team wasn’t getting much use out of it. We got acquainted with the stats function so players could review their performance, and broke down key categories like offensive sets, defense, turnovers and rebounding for review after every game.

This past season, I took over as the head coach of Alton (Ill.) High School girls’ basketball. Alton had lost its last 58 conference games – a 4 ½-year dry spell tacked onto 29 consecutive losing seasons. We had a lot of obstacles coming into our first game, but the players really wanted to turn things around. The football team was already on Hudl, so I saw the opportunity to jump onboard for half the package price, and our boys’ team agreed to sign up as well. Thanks to the Alton Athletic Association, funding was taken care of and we got started in no time.

Teaching Film Study

I wanted players to focus on two key aspects of Hudl: Learning how to watch and study how they play in order to grow from their mistakes, and prepare for upcoming opponents with scout film. For players that have never studied film before, trying to learn from an entire game can be overwhelming, so we narrowed things down by discussing specific tendencies they needed to focus on each week.

We showed our players how to log in and watch on desktops and mobile devices. There would be times where I logged on to Hudl late at night to review film or check a scouting report and took a look at player activity to see who was online just a few minutes earlier. I could see who was putting in the effort to turn things around.

How Hudl Helped

Did Hudl make a difference? Definitely. Our team not only ended the conference losing streak, but finished 7-7 in conference play. We won six of the last eight conference games, and finished 10-4 in our last 14 of the season. Both runs helped us break the 29-year losing streak, advancing to the regional championship before finishing 15-13.

I know next season will be even better for Alton thanks to the confidence Hudl has instilled in our players. They performed better because they felt prepared for every opponent. I’m also excited about the growth of Hudl and their continued effort toward making the product better.

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