We sat down with Marc Richards of Hartpury College to find out how they develop young athletes on and off the pitch.

Marc Richards has been the Senior Manager for football at Hartpury College for the past three seasons and has been using video analysis throughout his time as manager. Now the Assistant Director of Elite Sport is bringing Hudl, his preferred video analysis tool, to the rest of the college. We sat down with Richards to learn more about how Hartpury uses video analysis and how it is helping them develop young athletes on and off the pitch.

Richards grew up in football, but like many he eventually moved on from his ambitions of playing professionally and has now helped develop the football programme at Hartpury. The college now has  teams consisting of players that range in age from 16-25. Specifically, they have 8 men's football teams - 4 senior (18+ yrs) and 4 junior (16-19 yrs). For him, it’s been about more than just developing players from a technical perspective. “At Hartpury, we want to be the leader in sport and education,” said Richards. “In football, we will pull players out of matches if they are not performing from an academic perspective.”

That is vital because of the players that make up their squad. “We have a lot of lads in transition. They’ve been rejected from professional clubs and they’re dealing with the emotional and psychological part of that. So we try to get them to enjoy the game again, while also helping them sort out what to do if football doesn’t work out,” added Richards. “We get a lot of late developers who go on to have successful careers in non-league football, but also outside of football.”

Hudl and Hartpury College

Richards and Hartpury have been using Hudl Sportscode since 2007. “I’ve been around a lot of the guys in the professional game just to see how they used it, and we just kicked on from there,” said Richards. They have integrated the whole suite of tools Hudl provides into their day-to-day. “From an efficiency perspective, it’s unbelievable. The boys love it. The staff love it. From a coaching perspective, it’s great because I can access it from anywhere. That’s the bonus. It’s brilliant to have instant access,” said Richards. “The lads love being able to create their own highlights. From both a personal or development perspective. They can show off their ability on the pitch for everyone to see.”

"It’s the best solution on the market at the moment.” Marc Richards

As is often the case, video analysis provides a unique perspective, and Hartpury have seen the immediate benefits. But it’s not just about wins and losses. “If we have a coaching session, we have the video to back it up. So we’re hitting as many different ways that the individual might learn as possible,” said Richards. “The players see a real benefit for their own personal development, so they use it a lot more. Some more than others, but we tend to use it a lot in prep sessions before we go out to train.”

They are going to integrate player-led review sessions this upcoming season. “They will go and collect their own clips and present them back to the group,” Richards said. “It’s players teaching players, and it shows real progress.”

So what would Richards say to anyone thinking about using Hudl with their team or programme?

“If you have the resources, it’s a bit of a no-brainer. I am a massive advocate for it. If you’re videoing all of your games - what are you doing with that video? Where are you storing it? If you ever need to revisit, or even download old footage, it’s all there. If any coaches are thinking of using or looking at ways to improve their video and performance analysis, I would highly recommend looking at Hudl. It’s the best solution on the market at the moment.”

Interested in learning more? See Hudl it in action.