A modern video analysis workflow, powered by Hudl, is the backbone to the back rooms across collegiate and pro­fes­sion­al sport. Detroit Mercy Men’s Basketball has gone from the dark ages to the modern era in just a few short years. 

“When we first got here [five years ago], I spent the entire first year burning DVDs.”

Will Finch, Video Coordinator for Detroit Mercy, has been with his head coach Mike Davis for a long time. Davis, who took over for Hall of Famer Bob Knight at Indiana – where Finch first linked up with him, was a bit old school. Change, as Finch can attest, can be hard.  

“Actually, you know what? We made it to ‘19 doing DVDs. 2019! And the reason I say that… My buddy left probably 50 DVDs at a hotel in Youngstown, Ohio. And that was when the boss said, ‘all right, forget the DVDs.’ I'm very thankful to say that we're way beyond that. And it is a very distant memory.” 

Gone are the days of VHS tapes and portable DVD players. Since its inception, Hudl and its analysis tools, like Hudl Sportscode, were built to help bring staffs into the 21st century– to modernize their analysis and save time. 

Finch and the staff at Detroit Mercy are detail oriented. With coaches who have had multiple stops across Division I, they’ve seen the game at the highest levels. Relentless preparation is how they find success on the court and off it. That process starts in the film room.  “We literally use Hudl every single day,” said Finch. “We live capture all of our practices through Sportscode. We will create timelines that are as detailed as can be, we’ll click notes to certain clips as we're coding at the end of practice. Our preparation for scouts and games is very extensive, and more so for the coaches than it is for the players.”

The opponent scout is where everything starts, and that’s directly tied to the basketball film and data available in Hudl’s NCAA League Exchange. It gives teams access to Sportscode ready film less than 24 hours after a game ends. “It’s a game changer,” said Finch. “When I tell you that [NCAA League Exchange] freed up hours, HOURS… I'm so busy in a season trying to gather games on so many opponents, I can have that in a matter of minutes where it used to be, you know, at or however long it would take me to download it, cut it myself, make my personal touches to it, etc.. I mean, it was a big game changer.”

As part of the NCAA League Exchange, teams get access to Sportscode ready data. “We get to see minutes played, because you cut all that,” Finch added. “And we get to see shots taken as well. So you can determine usage. Basketball, you know, has become so heavily driven by advanced analytics that sometimes it's just simple enough to see how many times you may have run one play in a game or how many times you may have utilized somebody.”

The analysis process doesn’t always have to be extensive. Finch and his staff try to simplify whenever possible. He’s enabled the coaches to take control, and that in turn has helped him elevate the quality of their game analysis. “What our coaches will do is they will go through and clip their individual instances from the 3 to 5 games that they're studying for that opponent,” Finch elaborated. “From there, you know, you'll have 3 to 5 different orders and there will be detailed notes on each and every one of them.”

“If I were to show you a folder of our preparation… It's every game cut up– its offensive tendencies, defensive tendencies, personnel and we take all of it molded together into one presentation and boom, there we go. The amount of film that you do have is extensive, but it is phenomenal because you truly do feel prepared when you have it all in one spot.”

Finch and his staff distill everything down into a ten minute scout. It’s four minutes of personnel and six minutes of action. “When the coaches receive these phenomenal Sportscode packages in detail, everything’s organized,” said Finch. “I'll come in, sit with the coach, and we will create one package based on what we're doing. So you'll have personnel and it'll be organized and that'll be ready to go.” 

And for the modern athlete, it’s never been more important to optimize time. Attention spans wane, and keeping a player engaged is growing more and more difficult. What Finch’s relentless commitment to preparation with his staff has unlocked is the proverbial light bulb for their players in the film room. “It's so huge. It really is,” said Finch. “I mean these kids, if they don't feel like they're engaged in what they're watching, well, then you're wasting time. When a kid comes in and wants to see his minutes from a game, it's already there.” 

A modern analysis workflow, powered by Hudl, is the backbone to the back rooms across collegiate and professional sport. Finch is building a process that is opening up new doors for him. “A lot of them do know the story about the DVDs,” said Finch. “There's no instance now where you say, ‘Oh, man, Coach, I can't get you the video.’  Hudl really has helped us tremendously in what we do.”

For more on building a fully customized workflow in Hudl Sportscode, click here.