Speed is an incredible resource in football. The ability to make quick adjustments on the fly between drives—even plays—is critical to achieving success.
More than 3,000 teams experienced that power with Hudl Sideline last fall. From speaking with them, it’s clear that instant replay on the sidelines made a big impact on Friday nights.
“This is the best thing since the forward pass,” Anthony Estrada, an assistant coach at Schurr High in Montebello, Calif., said. “There is no more waiting till Saturday to find out what was actually going on.”
But owning power in and of itself isn’t enough. Properly utilizing the technology is the key to unlocking its full potential. Here are some tips we received from coaches on how to get the most out of Sideline.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You wouldn’t throw your players out there on Friday night without practicing during the week, right? That lack of preparation is going to make their jobs much more difficult in live action.
The same applies to Sideline. There's a bit of a learning curve with any new technology. If you want to feel comfortable using it during the game, familiarize yourself with it in the preseason and during the week. Using it in preseason practices, scrimmages and 7-on-7 competitions will make you more comfortable with Sideline and help you pick up some pointers along the way.
“In order for your athletes to get better, you need to practice. The same adage works for this system as well.”
Any benefits you get from Sideline during a game can be applied to the practice field as well. If your quarterback is routinely misreading the coverage, don’t wait until practice is over to make corrections. Simply pull him aside, show him a few clips and demonstrate how he can improve.
Formulate a Game Plan
Make sure you have your logistics down pat by the time game day rolls around. Figure out who is responsible for the hardware and what cameras should go where. Create the best game plan for your Sideline package.
Determine who will have access to the video during the game. Some coaches like to have an iPad to themselves, while others let their coordinators handle the video duties, reviewing with their respective side of the ball between drives. Another coach had two assistants marking important plays in the press box, then communicating with the coaches on the field.
Find your workflow, then practice it before the thick of the season to make sure all the kinks are ironed out.
Show Your Players
There’s no better way to help your players make adjustments than to show them what happened moments after it occurred. You may be accustomed to gathering your thoughts and discussing at halftime, but most coaches don’t want to wait that long. They have players review as soon as they step off the field.
“Every time they come off the field, we meet on the bench and talk about the defensive front and if there were any changes,” Don Weekly, head coach at Fort Myers High in Florida, said.
As impactful as it is to get immediate video feedback, try not to overwhelm your athletes. Their minds are already swimming with the emotions of the game, and they’ll likely be be unable to remember or process everything you tell them. Hit them with a few of your most important points to effectively get through to them.
“Avoid running a clinic,” Joseph Olivas of Troy High School in Overton, Calif., said. “There’s only so much a young mind can process between each series.”
The beauty of Sideline is the option to customize your workflow. We simply supply you with the hardware—how you use it from there is up to you.
So make it your own! We’ve seen coaches use all kinds of ways to switch things up and communicate effectively.
Defense using .@Hudl sideline during the playoffs.
The eye in the sky never lies. pic.twitter.com/tRQ9Qb1eQP
— Gladiator Football (@CCGladsFootball) November 12, 2016
“Hudl Sideline has revolutionized the way we make in-game adjustments,” Chris Bocage of West Jordan High in Utah said. “Used effectively, this system will change the way you coach and win games for you.”