A skill is more likely to stick when it’s taught at an earlier age – like coaching your toddler to pitch left-handed, or enrolling a four-year-old in piano lessons – and film study is no different. The sooner an athlete makes it part of their routine, the better they’ll become at scouting opponents and themselves. Not only that, but they’ll have Hudl down to a science by the time they head to high school.
We spoke with two representatives of the North Georgia Youth Football Association – an organization with 27 parks (feeder systems) comprised of more than 160 teams. Colton Green, the league’s commissioner, touched on the benefits of getting every team on Hudl, while Rob Alexander, head coach of a 10U group, broke down his staff’s workflow.
How is your team’s game film captured and stored?
We have a designated parent who is in charge of recording all of our games. I usually get the memory chip at the end of the game and edit/upload the film later that day in Hudl Mercury. For scouting, I will either hire a high school kid to go film a future opponent or, if the times work out, go film them myself.
What data did you focus on last season?
On defense, scouting opponents to prepare the kids for what formations and systems they might see and how to defend it is paramount. Also, sharing any little keys or hints to identify tendencies and what play may be coming is very helpful to the kids - especially at this age. When reviewing our own film, making sure kids know assignments and execute them is of utmost importance. It’s much easier for a kid to understand why he should have down blocked rather than kicked the end when you can circle him and show him on film exactly where he did it correctly or incorrectly.
What requirements did you place on players watching film?
None. The kids that really wanted to excel watched film. I send individual clips to individual kids that show what I want (or don’t want) them to do. I try to praise them to reinforce good execution and highlight on “bad” plays what the athlete could have done differently.
How involved are parents in recording/watching/using Hudl?
It varies wildly. Some parents are on there two hours a week while others log in once and never go back. You can usually tell by watching the kids play which parents watch and which ones don’t.
How is Hudl valuable at the youth level?
To me Hudl is more valuable at the youth level because the potential difference in educating a younger kid is much more pronounced. The ability to make connections through film between practices and games is immeasurable.
Why should youth programs consider film study at all?
It’s the ultimate teaching tool. Without it, you’re walking into games blind and not learning from any past mistakes.
How does implementing Hudl for the whole program benefit individual teams?
It raises the bar, team by team. When each team utilizes the program it forces each and every team to work harder and get better.
As a league commissioner, what’s the benefit of implementing Hudl across the board?
Affordability, ease of access, and improving play across the league.
What would you say to other coaches considering Hudl?
Don’t wait. Just do it. Don’t let the idea of technology or film intimidate you. Someone is nearby that would be willing to help you learn.