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Archives — October 2013

A little over a week ago, we wrapped up our first-ever international tour: a ten-day journey through five cities spanning over four countries. We met with over 100 coaches, so it took a while to get our bearings after arriving back in the States.

We were surprised at how similar the European coaches’ comments, questions and feature requests were to the ones we get in the U.S.

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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.

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We’ve made Hudl Playbook available to more than 800 teams through the beta program and couldn’t be more excited. While we hope our coaches are just as thrilled to get started, we want to make sure they’re getting the most out of the new feature.

We talked to some of the guys behind Playbook, as well as one of the first coaches to work with it, to provide a little insight on how to change up the Playbook routine to fit your team’s specific needs.

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About five years ago, the first Hudl recruiting package was sent from a high school coach to a college recruiter. We didn’t know it then, but that email changed college recruiting forever.

High school coaches no longer needed to spend countless hours burning DVDs and mailing them to colleges all over the country. College recruiters could see an athlete’s video in seconds rather than waiting weeks for film to arrive. The concept of receiving film through the Internet was new, but we hoped that simplicity and convenience would win out over “the way it has always been done.”

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We can’t tell if Kyle Bradburn enjoys football. Maybe you can help us out: He started playing right around the time he learned to walk. He played in high school and took some snaps at a couple of different colleges. When he was done playing, he had coaching stints at two high schools and one university. Now he’s in charge of selling Hudl Recruit to anyone and everyone.

When he’s not busy loving football, he’s giving everyone a hard time. Literally everyone. Nobody is safe from his jabs. But the best part about Bradburn is that he can take anything he dishes out, and then some.

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High school football stat-keeping has come a long way over the last few years. Previously, a member of the coaching staff kept game stats in a notebook. That poor guy would be up in the box every Friday night, intensely focusing on jersey numbers as the players ran around executing the plays called out from the sidelines. Who did what? Where? And who helped?

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Basketball season is just around the corner and we’re as excited as these guys as we embark on our first ever basketball-focused Hudl Up Tour. Last night, we saw 40 coaches in St. Louis, and will continue the first half of our six-stop tour with Indianapolis and Columbus later this week.

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‘Sass’ is an awesome word. Just say it out loud. It even sounds sassy. And when Bailey Andreesen used it to describe herself in her Hudl application, we were hooked. The best part is Bailey didn’t score big in the height department, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d mistake her for a pushover.

Don’t mistake her for a pushover. She’s been a lot of places and seen a lot of places, and you don’t survive those adventures by coasting through life. You need attitude. And she’s got it.

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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 in to 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.

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The more coaches use Playbook, the better we want it to be. Hundreds of teams have taken advantage of our beta testing opportunities and it’s fueling the fire behind updates to the feature. One of the biggest requests we’ve received in the last few months was printing. While having your playbook online is great, it doesn’t hurt to have those hard copies on hand, just to reference.

We also realized some original features really limited how you customize your playbook. So we put our heads together and recently launched a couple of updates we think coaches will like.

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Given the menu of things we can do to help us in building great software, visiting our users on their own turf is about as good as it gets. The only way to make it better is actually embedding ourselves in the trenches with coaches for more than just a couple hours.

I’ve talked with thousands of coaches, visited hundreds in person, studied coaches and athletes using Hudl, but I hadn’t taken the next step and fully immersed myself in their work.

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While Dustin McKenna is definitely one of the nicest guys in the Hudl office, he also has a knack for keeping everyone in line. That’s not to say he’s bossy by any means, but just knowing you’re in a shared space with an Army platoon leader is enough to make anyone behave.

The intimidation ends there, though. Unless you’re a duck, Dustin is totally harmless.

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Here in support, “you sound like you’re speaking another language” is a statement we get a lot. We really try to put everything in layman’s terms, but we understand – sometimes it still sounds like something you’d like to run through Google Translate. Since Google Translate doesn’t have a “support” translation function, we decided to come up with one for you.

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We promise this isn’t a dating profile. Matt Sheets has been with Hudl for a little over a year and absolutely crushes his role in quality assurance – as evidenced by the Dominate award he won earlier this year.

But rather than talk about his daily routine of making sure athlete profile pages are cool, awesome and totally sick, we figured we’d dig a little deeper to learn about the real Sheets. Because you never truly know a person until you know their astrological sign, right? We thought so.

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With games in full force now, our support team has been working extra hard to make sure we’re getting questions answered and issues resolved. Sure, we haven’t seen our families in weeks, but neither have you, so it’s a team effort. Let’s have a quick run through some mind-bottling numbers from September.

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Back in May, when we called for any and all coaches willing to swap lives, our main goal was to find a handful of teams willing to host a group of Hudlies for an entire game weekend.

We wanted to learn how Hudl helps coaches succeed and how we can improve. After all, some of our favorite things are listening to what coaches want and continuing to get better.

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