From Walk-On to Cap­tain: How Video Made a Difference

Paige Hubl used what she learned from watch­ing video to become a defen­sive spe­cial­ist for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebraska-Lincoln.

From Walk-On to Cap­tain: How Video Made a Difference

Paige Hubl used what she learned from watch­ing video to become a defen­sive spe­cial­ist for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebraska-Lincoln.

With four nation­al cham­pi­onships and 84 AVCA All-Amer­i­can awards, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka-Lin­coln has a bit of a rep­u­ta­tion when it comes to vol­ley­ball. Many play­ers may have been intim­i­dat­ed to walk into a sit­u­a­tion like that, but for Paige Hubl, it was a chance to con­tin­ue play­ing the sport she loved.

Hubl was a three-sport ath­lete at South­east High School in Lin­coln, Neb., let­ter­ing 12 times over her high school career. Schools pur­sued her for soc­cer, bas­ket­ball and vol­ley­ball. Her senior year she decid­ed that sports weren’t in her future — that is, until a call from Nebras­ka head coach John Cook changed her life.

In the fall of my senior sea­son John called and said Hey, I know you’re not doing any­thing for sports, do you want to walk on?’” Hubl recalled.

For most walk-ons, that’s the end of the sto­ry. Hubl walks on at the big school, plays for a year or two, then decides to focus on her edu­ca­tion. This sto­ry, how­ev­er, has a dif­fer­ent ending.

Once Hubl became a part of the pro­gram, she saw how the coach­es at Nebras­ka uti­lized video replay as a way of improv­ing each athlete’s skills, some­thing that she hadn’t expe­ri­enced dur­ing high school.

I remem­ber we watched film twice a year, if that, in high school. We fin­ished prac­tice ear­ly and we walked over to our coach’s house,” Hubl said. She’d pop in a DVD and we’d watch it on her couch. Just watch the whole game, and when we saw some­thing she’d say, Look at your pos­ture here.’”

Things were dif­fer­ent at Nebras­ka, where they filmed every­thing to review the same day. If we were doing serve receive drills in col­lege, after prac­tice we would look at each one of those reps to see what we did right or what we need­ed to work on,” Hubl said. Just know­ing to dip your right shoul­der makes a huge difference.”

It’s those lit­tle fun­da­men­tals that allowed Hubl to flour­ish at Nebras­ka. By the time she was a senior in 2012, Hubl was Nebraska’s defen­sive spe­cial­ist and vot­ed team cap­tain by her peers.

Learn­ing the ins and outs of video analy­sis forced Hubl to become a bet­ter play­er by improv­ing her own tech­nique. The advan­tage, she found, was not only in watch­ing her own film so much, but how much the team spent scout­ing their oppo­nents. Game days and the day before games we’d watch film on each play­er as well as each rota­tion. We’d look at play­er ten­den­cies in each rota­tion, watch their set­ter, if she had a jack rule, things like that,” Hubl said.

Look­ing back, the thing that stands out to Hubl is how vital video review was to her improve­ments. There is good in video review. It’s so impor­tant. If I think about what I learned in col­lege, if I knew that stuff before­hand, I would have been bet­ter,” she said.

It’s nev­er too ear­ly to start learn­ing the lit­tle things — and video is the way to do it. Am I tak­ing a jump hop before I dive to my right, or what was my first action after a serve?” Hubl asked. Just see­ing the video of how your arms are when oth­ers are hit­ting, are they ready to dig? Are you freez­ing on serve receive? That lit­tle stuff, yeah, that would be great so I can focus on it.”