How Emporia State uses Hudl to help maximize small coaching staffs across the program. 

The average small college coach typically wears many different hats. 

This rings true at Kansas’s Emporia State University, a Division II school with an enrollment of around 5,000. Many coaching staffs across the program consist of five members or fewer, giving coaches and assistants a wider range of responsibilities than their large-school counterparts. Aside from their fluid job descriptions, coaches also face a lack of resources, especially for underfunded sports. 

So how do small school coaching staffs combat these common challenges? How do they find the necessary time to develop their teams? For Emporia State, the answer is with Hudl’s suite of tools.

Set It and Forget It 

Hudl’s Focus camera automatically captures game and practice footage, instantly uploading it to Hudl once the event ends. It’s been a massive time-saver for the coaches at Emporia State, eliminating steps from their previous workflow. Coaches no longer have to worry about how they’ll capture film. 

“Before we would just have a student assistant [film] or we'd hire somebody to go up there,” said Kiel Unruh, assistant coach of the women's basketball team. “Hopefully they’d pay attention and move it from side to side and catch everything.” Emporia State has Focus Indoor cameras installed at their arena and more recently at their practice gym, giving them a robust library of film. “We don’t miss a play,” he said. 

Not only is capturing film made easier through automation, but the quality of the film is also vastly improved, with crystal-clear HD footage. “It’s like you’re watching it on TV,” said Unruh. “You can tell a huge difference between our film and the film from the schools that are still using a cameraman and a student to film those games.” 

Now, we don't have to spend all of our time literally uploading a video. We can go and actually talk to the girls about what's on the video. April Rosales, Head Softball Coach, Emporia State University

Players Take Ownership 

With film now captured automatically, Emporia State coaches can shift their focus to things like player development. The Hudl platform is key, serving as a central hub where they host their film and communicate with athletes to share coaching tips and feedback. 

Being able to upload film directly to Hudl has freed up hours for softball coach April Rosales. “Before Hudl we would upload it to Google Drive. Taking the time to upload was probably the longest part…that took all night for me,” she said. “Now, we don't have to spend all of our time literally uploading a video. We can go and actually talk to the girls about what's on the video.”

The softball coaching staff consists of three coaches, so anywhere they can fix inefficiencies and regain time is an advantage. Hudl allows a small staff to shift some responsibilities to their athletes, allowing them to take ownership of their growth. Namely, athletes can access film from anywhere on their own time with Hudl. Film sessions don’t always have to be done in the facility anymore, allowing coaches to be more hands-off. “That’s their homework,” said Unruh. 

The constant access to video gives them the tools to understand what they’re doing well and where they need improvement. Players can watch the film immediately after a practice or a game, getting an instant understanding of their performance and overall growth. “It’s so easy for the girls to go in and watch. It makes it so much easier for them to actually have that real-time footage,” said Rosales.

Having access to practice footage has been especially essential to player development. It gives athletes a daily measuring stick of their progress. For men's basketball associate head coach Evan Lavery, practice film is such valuable teaching tape that they’ll have student assistants cut it up into daily reels to send to players. “We can keep track of who's watching what, so then we can hold them accountable,” said Lavery. 

“Being able to film practice is just better for skill development,” said Unruh. “Being able to show that footage to those guys and talk about the finer points of things that they need to improve on is really big. It's something that we haven't had in the past.”

Emporia State coach Kiel Unruh discusses Hudl's ease of use.

Building Program Continuity

You won’t find many recruiting coordinators across the Emporia State athletic department. Instead, it’s another task that coaches play a big role in. For Unruh, Hudl Recruit has helped ease the burden, allowing a small staff to cast a wider net. “It’s a great resource for us to see high school kids play. We’re a two-man staff, so we don’t have endless people that can get out and recruit.”

Recruit gives them access to film of thousands of high school players in their target areas—like Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Nebraska. If a potential recruit draws their interest, they can search Recruit for more information. And if that player uses Hudl, their information will pop up, allowing coaches like Unruh to watch more of their film and potentially contact that player. It saves them valuable time, allowing them to bypass time-consuming steps they would have had to take in the past. 

“It’s just a time saver,” said Unruh. “It helps schools of our size see more kids and get a better view and evaluate the kind of kids we want to bring into the program.”

Once they bring players into the program, Hudl helps them get acclimated. Unruh sends workout footage to incoming freshmen and transfers, ensuring they’re up to speed when they arrive on campus. It’s another example of coaches giving athletes the tools, and trusting them to take some ownership in the process. 

Tech For Everyone 

New technology doesn’t help its customers if it’s hard to use. Fortunately, the transition to Hudl was seamless for Emporia State coaches. “Hudl’s helped with our time management, just with the ease of using the product,” said Unruh. “Our head coach would tell you he isn’t a very tech-savvy person—I was able to easily tell him how to use the Hudl products.” 

Athletes have bought in as well. Considering the amount they’ll use Hudl on their own time, it’s important they understand the ins and outs of it. Player adoption has been a breeze, according to Lavery. “The Hudl app is really easy for our players to use,” he said.  “And if it's easy for our players to use, naturally, they're going to be more inclined to use [it] and watch it.”

It’s not only easy to use. To the Emporia staff, Hudl perfectly suits the way that athletes of today learn best. “Hudl really aligns with our players learning style because they get to see everything that’s going on,” said Lavery. “Seeing is believing.” 

I think that stuff really goes a long way for kids these days, being able to visually see what you're talking about, being able to have that video because we see it all the time,” said Unruh. “The film doesn't lie.”

Maximize your coaches, empower your athletes and prepare your entire program for success with Hudl’s solutions for small colleges.

Learn More