Hear from John Woods on his department’s M.V.P. process, a positive approach to film review and how Hudl’s evolution keeps impacting athletic departments.

Libertyville High School (IL) AD John Woods has a lot on his mind this time of year. From wrapping up winter sports and honoring those participants to budgeting for summer camps, he’s pulled in a million directions.

But one thing that helps keep him and his coaches stay focused on the task at hand is their M.V.P. process. Mission. Vision. Core Principles. Those are the tenets Woods and his department live by.

He compares their approach to the Ritz-Carlton hospitality company’s training standards. At Libertyville, his department focuses on teaching students proper behaviors, which then turn into good habits and a standard code of conduct. In sports terms, Libertyville teams are expected to behave like championship-caliber teams with great practice habits and behaviors in hopes of later achieving that goal.

“I believe that what we achieve is a byproduct of who we become. So when we behave like an undefeated team, then and only then maybe we also see an undefeated season. We emphasize behaviors.” John Woods

Woods is no stranger to the demands of the high school athletic director position. He’s seen the evolution of the role and has embraced the opportunities and challenges that come along with it. 

One of those opportunities/challenges is the growing demand and need-to-have nature of social media in high school sports. In a modern world, it’s necessary for sprawling departments like his to keep students, staff, parents and community members connected to the Libertyville teams they love.

How does he do it? It starts with the Gipper platform, which makes it easy to create high-quality, visual branded graphics for your sports programs. Woods and his team have also leaned into enlisting help from interested students, allowing them to contribute to their athletic department's social media channels.

“Why wouldn’t I get our kids involved, and then just get out of the way,” Woods said. “Because our kids, they’re little geniuses and can produce a product that is more appealing to kids than what adults are doing.”

Though the demands of high school coaching and being an athletic director have changed over the years, one thing has stayed the same, according to Woods: The role that Hudl has played along the way.

Woods specifically recalls his time as a basketball coach and how prior to Hudl, he used Windows Movie Maker and a FireWire cable to break down film. The process was tedious and took a lot more work than it would now with access to Hudl and Hudl Assist.

But through that labor of love work, Woods identified a new framework where he’d use film as a confidence booster, instead of as a correction tool. Show the good, not the bad. That framework had a profound impact on his coaching methods.

“It dawned on me, why would I create cut-ups of what we did wrong,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I show our kids what we do well so that we can execute that. If you show more of what you do well, guess what you get? More of what you do well.” John Woods

Woods noted that Hudl’s continued evolution has made the film review process so much better, and made it much easier to share great moments with athletes.

“Hudl has simplified the entire process,” he explained. “So whereas before, just the coach was looking (at film) and sharing it with kids, I can make my cut-ups to show everybody what they did well to make some noise.”

In the future, Woods said he thinks high school athletic directors could benefit from an all-in-one tool that houses internal-facing documents like contracts, worker schedules, registration forms and other backend documentation. He’s hopeful that Hudl could be at the forefront of creating a tool like that.

“When you see the Hudl brand, you know what it stands for,” he said. “...It represents a quality product. It represents incredible customer service and it represents all the things in a user-friendly platform.”

More and more high schools are investing in Hudl athletic department packages to elevate programs, develop players, and provide quality livestreams. Learn how you can benefit from a Hudl Athletic Department package today.

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