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.”

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