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The Best Wrestlers Watch Themselves
University of Nebraska - Omaha - Omaha, NE

The Best Wrestlers Watch Themselves

There’s an old saying that a champion does what’s expected and then some. “He’s always had that ‘then some,” explained University of Nebraska-Omaha Head Wrestling Coach, Mike Denny.“We’ve been proud to have him on our team and in our family. He would be the guy you knew went home at night and studied his every move from that last match.”

The Sturgis, S.D., product is UNO’s most decorated wrestler, owning the all-time career wins title with a 179-7 record from 2003-2006, and is the only Maverick to ever win four individual national titles.

“The world-team wrestlers have one thing in common – they watch video of themselves.

At the University of Nebraska Omaha, wrestling—not football or hockey—is the school’s true marquee sport and there are a million reasons why. One of the most important being that the program has dominated what is D-II collegiate wrestling - winning 5 of the last 7 national titles.

Associate head coach Ron Higdon knows that the teams emphasis on family values is what really gives them a leg up. What else helps the team win duel after duel? He’d be the first to admit (unless a competitor is listening)...Hudl.

“Every time you watch a movie, you see something new – almost like you’ve just watched it for the first time. That’s how we as a team feel about every time we watch film on You can’t truly understand the mistakes you’re making or the success you’ve had during that match until you watch yourself. Hudl allows us to do not just every match, every week, or ever practice, but every day - whenever we feel like plugging in.”

Higdon explained that in the past, the program would film every match, but leave it up to the players to find video not only worth watching, but video of themselves in general.

“In the past, we didn’t have the time to go through VHS after VHS or DVD after DVD. If a player really wanted to discuss something that happened in a past match - it was up to them to dig through the video archive we had, pull it, and then discuss it with me when we had time.”

Now, Coach Higdon can quickly point out what improvements are needed for each player by adding his voice or telestration directly on top of the video.

‘Get your right hip down! Slide chest to chest.’

From there all his coaches and players log-in and can quickly watch their own matches along with the corresponding breakdown data: weight class, wrestler, period, team, and takedown.

“Twenty hours of wrestling video as compared to twenty hours of football video is completely different. You can’ get through 20 hours of wrestling film, unless you have it tagged and can easily sort it. If I want to see all of Blake Long’s matches – I can pull these up in a matter of seconds. From there, I can make these notes directly on top of the film and share them right to each player. There is no longer a need to dig through video and find time to discuss improvements one-on-one.

We haven’t scratched the surface of what we can do with this. It’s invaluable. It was a catch-22 for us at the national tournament because we honestly have an edge. We want other colleges looking at Hudl because it makes the sport of wrestling excel, but we like being ahead of the game.”

Earning five out of the last seven NCAA national titles – the UNO wrestling team has truly built a dynasty, but all that aside, the program continues to hunt for more...