In the days leading up to the 2015 Nebraska boys’ basketball state tournament, there was quite a bit of buzz surrounding the team from Winnebago. The bracket was full of Class C-1 powerhouses, and Winnebago hadn’t won a state tournament game since 1941, but they had one loss on the season and, despite hailing from a town of 800, an excess of senior leadership.
Our philosophy regarding video is “That eye in the sky don’t lie!” We film everything and take pride in our filming procedures. It’s better to see a wrong step in August and correct it right away – or even the next day – than to try nipping a bad habit in December when that state championship is on the line. And even if you don’t see your mistakes, somebody else will.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that highlight viewing consumes a good chunk of our days. We’re frequently alerted anytime a new reel gains traction, and – most of the time – it’s for good reason. A lacrosse goal from 40 yards out or the starting QB sticking a flip for six in the state championship are what we expect to see. What we found a few weeks ago, however, was a little different. It featured an Iowa sophomore with his own style of school spirit.
Maybe you’ve seen it, maybe you haven’t, but Jack Lenihan’s Recruitment Showcase has taken over as the most viewed Hudl highlight of all time. With more than 830,000 views, his link has been pasted into articles from Bleacher Report, Fox Sports and Men’s Health, and with a final slide requesting only D-I offers, you can bet he’s received a few emails.
I believe it was Shakespeare who said, “You gotta pay the cost to be the boss.” Well, maybe it wasn’t Shakespeare himself who said that, but we all know it’s true. As a coach, practice, games, and training alone take up hours a week. So, it’s safe to say that for a coach, the cost of being the boss is paid in time – and that doesn’t even include the organizational tasks that come with coaching.
This time around, we’re stressing the use of larger sensors that work better in low light, plus the cameras that will give you full 1080 HD at 60p. The 60p helps eliminate choppy videos that you often get on the lower priced cameras recording at 30p. It’s also worth noting that the larger sensor cameras shoot and operate with a shutter speed of 125, good enough to pull stills off the video, something the players will just love.
Hudl may be the best thing to happen to my coaching career. When I was an assistant football coach and director of strength and conditioning at Denison University, we hired a former player/student assistant as the defensive coordinator. Upon his arrival in 2010, we implemented Hudl as the football program’s video scouting and exchange system. As a coach, husband, and father I immediately reaped the benefits.
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.
The importance of a well-made highlight reel for recruiting cannot be emphasized enough. A player doesn’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The highlight reel is a tool for recruiters to make early determinations on whether or not to pursue a prospect, or evaluate him further.
We all love the cloud that Hudl offers, but it gets tricky when game film is the only category with unlimited storage. So every season we’re left with the task of managing the space consumed by other playlists. Fortunately, there are a few different ways to deal with that never ending storage dilemma.
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?
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.
I’ve filmed high school football for many seasons and, in looking over opposing schools’ equipment, I’ve noticed most schools opt for cheaper cameras. It’s no surprise that these usually give mediocre results. You don’t need to spend a bundle, but when buying a camera, you can follow a few guidelines and end up with much better video.
As an athlete, your highlight is often your first impression on a recruiter. You have thirty seconds to get their attention, and less than ten minutes to prove why they should want you. Having the right plays in your reel is key in proving you’re the athlete they’re looking for – but you don’t want to overdo it.
The following post is from Will Hewlett, Director of Player Development for National Football Academies, and while it focuses on quarterback reels, there are plenty of tips that all athletes should take note of when creating highlights.
As a high school teacher and football coach, the old adage is “football doesn’t pay the bills”. People who utter these words aren’t aware of the amount of time, effort and shoe leather that goes into running a successful program.
Think of the program as a car: You can do the bare minimum and change the oil twice a year, wash at the end of the winter, etc. Your car runs, but are you getting the most performance out of your machine? Compare that to the person who washes and details their vehicle regularly, keeps the tires properly inflated and rotated, and gets all scheduled maintenance done on time regardless of cost and inconvenience. The later description is often called a “car guy” and, for the purposes of this discussion, the equivalent to a high school football coach.
In November 2012, the Northeast was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Most schools were closed for at least a week, if not more. Our school was dismissed for a week due to the amount of destruction in our town and how unsafe the area was post-Sandy. Not to mention we didn’t have power at the high school for five days. We downloaded cut-ups and game film to our iPads, iPhones, Androids, any device we could to stay ahead of the curve, knowing we were going to lose power and internet. We shared what we wanted our kids to download and sent out a Hudl message telling them what to download.
It’s time to give your quarterback the attention he deserves. This is the perfect opportunity to apply your improved, simplified attitude and increased repetitions.
Passing five times a game applies much greater pressure than passing 20 times a game. The value-per-rep and the cost of failure increases as game-time passing repetitions decrease. Too often, coaches get mad at their quarterback for making the incorrect read on a play, but they only practiced the play seven times that week. When the repetition is reduced, success becomes scarce.
Optimize your QB play with more passing in practice and during games. Interceptions will happen, but that is part of the process; without failure, there is no learning.
You know getting reps during the team segment of practice ensures the offense and defense get a game-like environment. Clearly, you should increase team segments as the season goes on, right? Wrong. Sacrificing individual skill development and consistency quenches discipline and fundamentals.
Now that you have all coaches and players on the same page with a common language and simplicity, it’s time to organize your practice to give team and individual reps the attention each deserves.
Does your quarterback look indecisive on the field, are your pass plays hit-or-miss, or is the win column paltry? You might have a talent problem or a coaching problem. Then again, maybe it’s a practice problem.
For 15 years, I observed hundreds of football programs ranging from youth to Division I and made a critical determination: Successful programs share several things in common, but the most crucial to QB consistency and pass completion is a well-planned practice.
Playoff time is here and hopefully all of your offseason strength and conditioning work has paid off. Injuries this late in the season could determine the outcome of your state title, so it’s important to focus on post-game recovery for your athletes. We have a mandatory recovery session every Saturday following our games.
While post-game recovery is often overlooked, it will help your players regenerate their bodies so they are ready to hit the playing field for Monday’s Practice.
The more prepared you and your film crew are before you begin filming practice or a game, the better your video will be. Preparation, regardless of the level of football you play, will keep things running smoothly. I’ve found that when I’m properly prepared and have prepped my film crew, they take more pride in the video they’re capturing and the job they have to do.
You may have other ways you get your film crew prepped and ready but this is what I’ve found works best for us.
In order for the program to be successful and benefit the football program, student training was and continues to be essential. We didn’t want to put the money into a new program and then not get the quality of video we knew our equipment was capable of.
Growing up a coach’s son, I saw firsthand how much time my dad devoted to his job and preparing for his team. My father’s time was valuable and as a family we knew that; any time we could spend with him, we took advantage of.
As I started at my first year as secondary coach at Foley High School (Ala.) last fall I realized I couldn’t give the attention to the video operations department it deserved and still fulfill my coaching responsibilities. I used my previous experience from the video operations department at Auburn University (Ala.) to design a video operations department for our team. This added efficiency to our football program and minimized wasted time at the office. The student workers do all the filming and uploading to Hudl. That way, our coaches can spend more time coaching, preparing, and with their families.
Did you know athletes can lose lean body mass at rate of 5% per month when not actively strength training? This means that your middle linebacker who started the season at 225 lbs. could be down to 210 lbs. by week seven and feeling weak as playoffs approach.
As high school football coaches, we spend countless hours developing, modifying, and implementing our offseason football strength programs to ensure that our athletes are at their peak physical condition. Unfortunately, the beginning of the school year and football season can mark the end of a consistent strength program.
This time of year the heat can be just as tough on your athletes as the 11 players lining up on the other side of the ball. The heat can lead to dehydration, which can lead to serious athletic disadvantages. Muscle contractions will begin to slow and weaken, causing your athletes to lose their optimal muscle function. This increases their chances of muscle pulls and strains.
It’s important for your athletes to know the importance of hydration and how to gauge their own hydration levels. There are a couple signs your athletes should use to gauge their hydration level.
There are so many tools out there to help your athletes get better, but none are quite as powerful as video. Video doesn’t lie, so it keeps the “I did that” or “I wasn’t doing that” conversations to a minimum.
We begin building the foundation for our athletes in the sixth grade by introducing them to Hudl. We want to give them a taste of what they’ll be using in high school. We also integrate our youth with the high school program by doing community events and coaching clinics together. This helps build good relationships with coaches and athletes at every level.
A big part of building our foundation starts with video. Here are three benefits to starting them early.
In part one, two and three of structuring your offseason football workouts we focused on building stability and strength and increasing lean body mass. After the first three phases, your body is prepared to handle what will be the highest intensity of lifting in the program.
The purpose is to develop as much muscular strength as possible to increase overall peak performance. Football is a game of strength and beating the man in front of you. This phase of training will give you the edge to “out muscle” your opponent.
This program started by laying a solid foundation of stability with Phase 1 of this offseason football workout. After phase 2 you will have successfully built up core stability and overall strength. Now we are ready to build lean body mass, decrease body fat and increase overall muscular size.
In Phase 3, Hypertrophy Training, the purpose is plain and simple: develop as much muscle size as possible. In sports like football, an increase in mass along with a decrease in body fat can aid in speed, power and strength development, which can play a huge factor in your overall performance.
In order for us to constantly improve as a team, we work to constantly improve our equipment. Adding a practice camera into the mix has been great. We get a better angle than a handheld camera or tripod mounted unit gives us, and adding the angle into film reviews is another way to reinforce what we’re teaching our athletes.
Coaches are constantly evolving the build for the PracticeCam—trying to make it more efficient and keep it affordable. Take a look at what we use and recommend, and let me know if you have ways we can improve. If you build your own, be sure to send pictures and let me know how you made it work.
Part two of the structuring your offseason program series focuses on strength/endurance training. This phase of your football offseason workout utilizes a combination of exercises that will help increase stability endurance, muscular strength, and lean body mass.
In the strength and endurance portion of the program we will continue to focus on increasing muscular strength, core stabilization, and flexibility. Supersets consisting of compound exercises will be used for each body part. Each superset will be made up of one strength lift immediately followed by a stabilization exercise.
In order to accomplish your offseason football workout goals you will need to increase the intensity (% of max) and lower repetitions accordingly. Because of the superset format the number of sets performed will go up so be prepared to add some time to the workout.
We’re always looking for tools to take our program to the next level. Last year we started incorporating the GoPro camera into spring and summer practices and our 7 on 7 tournaments and it’s had a huge impact. It’s become an invaluable teaching tool for us.
The GoPro camera is lightweight and not intrusive, so it doesn’t interfere with what we’re trying to do. It gives us a glimpse into what the athlete is thinking when he’s out there, and when we’re done, we come away with a comprehensive video that lets us know where we need to work.
The offseason is a chance for athletes to recover physically and psychologically and to work on improving their performance. The structure of your offseason football workouts plays a big role in reaching your strength goals.
The main goal of an offseason football program is to increase the body’s ability to stabilize and remain in a controlled posture. As the season progresses, muscular imbalances can occur from injuries or from continually cutting in the same direction. This can lead to weakness in underused areas of the body and injury.
It’s easy to get bored with the same offseason workout. We like to switch things up by going through a circuit. Sometimes we’ll use them at the beginning of a workout for warm-up, or sometimes at the end to add an element of competitiveness.
If your warm-up has gotten stale, here are some exercises to throw in the mix for lower body strength training days.
Incorporating a foam roller into your workout can be a valuable tool for your athletes. Using a foam roller during your warm-up can help increase blood flow and calorie burn, and decrease the chance of injury. By providing pressure to the restricted regions of the body, you can help eliminate pain and restore motion.
If you’re not sure how to use the roller, here is a sequence to get you started.
Weight and resistance training programs can vary from team to team, but no matter which weight room you walk into, there are some lifts that you’ll see consistently. The deadlift, power shrug, and back squat have become commonplace, and if you are going to use them, it is important that you pay attention to the details.
Ted Rath from the Detroit Lions shares his thoughts on the deadlift drops, power shrug, a different twist on the back squat, and what his athletes use to warm up before hitting the platform.
Picking the right exercises for your offseason football program can often be a difficult task. While time, facilities, and equipment will often dictate what you can and cannot do, there are a few lifts that every program can take advantage of.
Add these five exercises to your offseason football program to add strength, explosive power, and competition into your sessions.
Stretching during practice has been a topic of debate in athletics for a number of years. Coaches and trainers have made arguments for static and dynamic stretching, as well as the use of resistance bands. So, which one is right?
The answer is that they are all correct, it just depends on what you are trying to accomplish. A few years back, our team decided to change warming up from an activity that lacked purpose and direction into a speed-development exercise.
The results were great. We saw a dramatic decrease in pulls and strains that season and our athletes saw a purpose for this part of practice. We only had one player pull a muscle during practice or games the entire season.
Here is a breakdown of each of the three parts of our pre-practice warm-up.
High school football coaches across the country know that the last day of the school year signifies the beginning of the summer football camp season. From the months of June to August, head coaches must figure out how to install their entire offense, defense, and special teams.
Often times, the last aspect to receive attention is the teams’ strength and conditioning program. When hours and minutes are at a premium, it can be difficult to dedicate major percentages of practice time to the weight room. Here are some simple planning tips to maximize your time in the weight room during offseason football workouts.
Mental toughness can be one of the most difficult skills to hone as an athlete and to teach as a coach. It’s easy for players to let things like opponents, fans, or errors get in their head and hinder their performance for the rest of the game. As a coach, it’s essential to help your athletes move on from mistakes in order to win games. Graham Betchart, a performance coach who specializes in mental skills training, outlines a few elements that make up the mindset of a champion.
These are great to give to your athletes before the season starts or to even have posted on the wall in the locker room.
Installing a no-huddle offense isn’t an easy process. Most of it is learned through trial and error. Here are some problems we encountered along the way—hopefully this will help you avoid making the same mistakes we did.
Keeping our athletes engaged in the weight room and making it fun for them is a challenge we face every year. Music has always been one of the ways to do this, but putting together a playlist of high-energy music with clean lyrics can be time consuming. We can task our athletes with putting something together, but their music isn’t always school appropriate.
This year, we’ve starting using Pandora Radio for music, and it’s become an awesome hands-off way to bring music into the weight room. The best thing is that it’s free, which fits into my coaching budget nicely.
I recently did an informal experiment with my athletes. I had them wear a Nike+ Sportswatch GPS during games to see how far they were running. What I found was that they were running upwards of six miles per game. If you consider we play 2-3 games per week from December to late March, our athletes are racking up marathon-type weekly distance. This doesn’t include practice and off-season workouts.
Excessive volume during the season will begin to cause issues if proper steps aren’t taken. Here are some ways to avoid burnout and injury:
Improved vertical is something that athletes strive for in their careers. The ability to jump higher than your opponent takes discipline and practice. Just like any other aspect of a sport, it won’t come without putting in the time and effort.
There are three things that are key to improving your vertical: form, strength, and flexibility.
The recruiting process can seem cryptic to some. Parents with athletes looking to play at the next level can find the task of getting video to recruiters, as well as making sure they’re meeting all of the NCAA’s requirements can be quite daunting. Here are four things coaches, parents, and athletes should know about the recruiting process:
Mike Aveni is the assistant football coach at Silver Lake High School in Kingston, Mass. Coach Aveni has spent many years coaching football and is extremely familiar with the work that comes along with breaking down game film.
Whether you are a seasoned veteran or you’ve never analyzed a game before – you can’t truly appreciate the work it takes to break down a game play-by-play until you’ve stayed up ‘til 3 a.m. doing it yourself. It’s no easy feat. In this post, I’ll lay out the steps we use to make game breakdown a lot easier and faster. In a matter of 30 minutes of shared time amongst four coaches, your data is entered on every play and you are ready to meet as a staff and game plan.
Here is exactly how I divide up our coaching staff to enter data on Hudl.com for both our own game film and when scouting opponents. It’s no longer dumped on the coach with the best computer skills which means no more 3 a.m. nights for me.
Mike Johnson is the d-line coach and video coordinator at Lakeville North High School in Lakeville, MN. He’s been sharing these step-by-step instructions to coaches around the country who have some DIY skills and are looking for an affordable, top-notch end zone camera system. The plans are free - all he asks for in return is pictures of your final product and tips on how to make the plans even better. We love it!