Hear from Brian Verlaan on how a Hudl athletic department package has been a game-changer for his team, school and their entire Calgary community.

All Saints High School (Calgary, Alberta) teacher and head football coach Brian Verlaan remembers the old days of film review and exchange. 

Verlaan has been a football coach for 24 years, so he’s not quick to forget the practice of lugging around grainy VHS tapes and unreliable DVDs. That’s in part why he enjoys the convenience of Hudl and everything that comes with having his school on an athletic department package.

His vocal praise of Hudl and that game-changing technology has earned him a nickname amongst fellow school administrators.

“There’s a running joke that I’m the school district superintendent of Hudl,” he laughs. “Because whenever someone’s got a (Hudl) question, they all get directed my way.” 

Verlaan’s Hudl fandom started from his roots as a football coach and only grew once he saw the impact that a Hudl athletic department package had on his school.

All Saints High School is located on the outskirts of Calgary and boasts an enrollment of around 1,750 students in total. They offer a wide variety of varsity and junior varsity sports, ranging from football, basketball and volleyball to badminton, rugby and more. 

The school signed up for a Hudl athletic department package after the pandemic and has loved the school-wide impact they’ve felt since then. As part of the package, all of their teams, regardless of sport or level, receive access to the Hudl platform, Hudl Focus smart cameras, Hudl Assist automatic game breakdowns and a personalized school profile with the Hudl Fan Engagement Suite.

All Saints High School's personalized profile

His favorite part of the school-wide solution? It’s a two-part answer.

Transforming the Livestream Experience

He’s a big fan of how much time he and his volunteer coaches have saved thanks to Hudl Assist’s 24-hour stat breakdowns. And he loves how much the school has been able to elevate its livestream capabilities thanks to the ease of their automatic Focus cameras.

“Before, we had a kid in the stands with a camera, analog to a digital signal and then try to get it through an OBS system and onto YouTube. And there were always some technical difficulties,” he explained. “...But (the Focus cameras) are just taking so much off our hands. You just put the games in, put them on the schedule and then they’re up and running. And that’s been great.” 

The positive effects of livestreaming with Hudl haven’t just been felt by athletes, coaches and parents, but also by other non-athletes at the school. Verlaan shared the school had so much success livestreaming sports, that they’ve started experimenting with broadcasting school assemblies and have plans to try and livestream school activities like band concerts and dance performances. 

“The ability to livestream events is so cool because you have grandma and grandpa sitting in a different town or city and they want to see these things,” he said. “And the ability to do that has been really good.”

Leveling Up Your Recruiting Exposure

Among the other positive outcomes of being on a Hudl athletic department package is the enhanced athlete recruiting benefits. The Hudl Focus cameras ensure athletes get great film, while the Hudl platform has made it easy to create athlete highlight reels that are easily sent to college recruiters.

Verlaan said that at one point, he and other coaches held a Hudl recruiting session at the school during an off period. They walked athletes through their Hudl profiles and explained how they can use social media to share and promote their Hudl highlights. All of those efforts have gone a long way on the recruiting trail.

“We’ve had players get a ton of looks from places outside of Calgary and spanning across western Canada,” he said. “Which are probably opportunities that maybe they wouldn’t have had if they didn’t have good film.” 

As the unofficial head of the Hudl fan club, Verlaan is never hesitant to share his school’s positive experience with an athletic department package. On more than one occasion, he’s even heard from parents at other schools who have self-described “Hudl envy” for what All Saints High School is able to do while on a department-wide package.

And despite the “sense of pride” he and the school feel in being one of the early Hudl adopters in Canada, he’s hopeful more schools get on board. When he’s asked by administrators or parents why their school should choose Hudl, his answer is simple. 

“The first thing I do is pull up my phone, and I show them how easy it is to access everything,” he said. “In terms of film, a breakdown of a game we had, and I just show them how easy it all is.”

Learn how your school’s investment in a Hudl athletic department package can elevate your program, develop players and provide quality livestreams and fan engagement opportunities.

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