A few of Hudl’s most active coaches share their tips on how to maximize the product.
After a decade of proving its capabilities, most coaches have a pretty good handle on what Hudl can offer. Thousands of coaches across the country have used Hudl to establish more efficient practices, craft better game plans and get their athletes recruited.
But many coaches and schools are new adopters and are still learning how to use Hudl. So we sought out a few of our most active users to get their thoughts on what rookies should keep in mind as they acclimate Hudl into their programs.
John Holecek, who has racked up more than 100 wins in his 11 seasons at the helm of Loyola Academy in Illinois, and Matt Gingrich, a 15-year coaching veteran taking on his first year as a head coach at Annville-Cleona, have some advice for those coaches experimenting with Hudl for the first time.
Trust the Technology
Some coaches might be overwhelmed learning a new system and way of doing things, but Holecek said that shouldn’t be an issue. Hudl is easy to learn and is very user-friendly.
And if coaches run into any issues, Hudl offers a top-of-the-line support staff to work out any kinks.
“It’s going to help you immediately,” Holecek, who also played linebacker in the NFL for seven years, said. “There are tutorials and when it comes to support, it is second to none. If you have any questions, all that stuff will be taken care of. They’ll walk you through everything. They’re a terrific company and I couldn’t be happier with it.”
Both coaches stressed that recording practice is critical, though for different reasons. Gingrich emphasized the importance of using practice as a rehearsal for game experiences, making sure the staff knows how to set up and operate the equipment.
If a staff can get any issues ironed out before the season begins, it should have no problem operating Hudl once the lights come on at game time.
“The first thing I’d do is I’d make sure all my coaches know how to use it and are well-versed in it,” Gingrich said. “I would do a lot of dry runs on practices to make sure the video equipment is set up correctly. That’s where you’re going to spend most of your time. As a first-time coach, that’s the first thing I would do - make sure all the equipment is compatible and the equipment is ready to go."
Holecek advises recording practice to quickly correct mistakes. If a coach scripts his practices well, he will be able to look for corrections after the session concludes. One of Holecek’s biggest takeaways from his NFL career is that watching practice “is essential.”
“My biggest tip is to put your installation in and then continue to coach and correct through the video. You’ll see a lot less mistakes,” Holecek said. “Then you can make those little corrections which you don’t see live. Even if you’re a position coach, you can’t pick up everything live.”
Empower Your Players
In the past, coaches were expected to shoulder much of the work surrounding a team, while players simply showed up and did as they were told.
Hudl gives a level of accountability to the players. Not only are athletes now able to watch game film on their own, but they can also assemble their own highlights. This saves coaches time and empowers the players with more responsibility.
”As far as viewing it, it’s a whole new world. We don’t have to watch as much film as a team because they’re able to watch it on the weekends. We’ll watch probably 20 clips on Monday but that’s about it, as opposed to watching the whole game like we used to. It saves a lot of time.”
Holecek said they don’t have time for extended team or position meetings in high school and college like in the NFL, but giving players access to video outside of a film session or practice setting changes the game.
“We install and review every day,” he said. “There is no way to do that without five-hour meetings unless the kids can watch it on their iPads or at home or on their phones.”
Have a Structure in Place
Gingrich stressed the importance of fully ingraining the entire coaching staff in Hudl’s software before the season and make sure everyone is fully bought in. While it can be a process to teach the entire staff how to use Hudl and educate the players on how to create highlights, it will prove beneficial in the long run.
“You can in the end save yourself a boatload of time,” he said. “It takes a little time to set up, but anything in life is going to be like that if you do it properly."
Both Holecek and Gingrich have been using Hudl for eight years, so they’re well-versed in the product. Their staffs operate the software as a well-oiled machine, and that level of efficiency isn’t developed overnight.
But Holecek promises that putting the time into developing the structure necessary for Hudl is well worth the effort.
“It’s a no-brainer,” Holecek said. “If anyone puts the time in and tries to understand what they’re doing, they’ll be extremely happy with the company.”
If interested in getting more information on Hudl and how it can help a team succeed, click here. Feel free to leave any other tips you might have for fellow coaches in the comments section.