American Football

How We Improved Sideline: An Inside Look

<p>Check out how we took a cue from coaches and reviewed our performance in 2016 to step our game up in 2017.</p>

They say the biggest improvement a football team makes in a season occurs between the first and second game. This saying may be a cliche, but it’s representative of our approach to Hudl Sideline in 2017.

We helped over 3,000 teams slow down the game and make adjustments in real time last season. Along the way, we were able to gather tons of valuable insights about how to make using instant replay a better experience moving forward.

We took this feedback to heart and we’re excited to roll out an upgraded instant replay system to both new and current Sideline teams this year.

“User feedback is at the core of everything we do,” said Greg Nelson, product director at Hudl. “We don’t build anything without input from the people that would use our products, so the insights we gained talking to coaches that used Sideline proved invaluable in identifying the upgrades we needed to offer this season.”

So what’s new?

Minimal Setup

Sideline helped teams gain insights in an instant, but coaches wanted us to take a cue from the technology and speed up the hardware setup on game day. After all, coaches don’t have time to deal with unpacking hardware and figuring out where cords should be connected.

“It’s important for us to have Sideline easy to set up because I want to be able to easily tell our camera guys what to do,” said Freezy Smalls II, an assistant coach at Jack Britt High School in North Carolina. “Oftentimes we have to train new camera people because of unforeseen events and video is vital to our success. So when I can easily show them how to set it up, I don't have to spend precious time away from game planning.”

That’s why we made the decision to ensure all packages come preconfigured in a hard, protective case – one for the press box, and one for the end zone

Because everything is connected and protected, all you have to worry about is plugging in your cameras and pointing your antennas in the right direction. Setting up Sideline will still take a few practice reps, but the minimal setup will allow you to spend more time coaching and less time dealing with hardware.

The fact that now you open the case and 90% of the cables are already attached and ready to go made that part of the setup much faster and more efficient. Nolan Hochgrebe, an assistant coach at Blue Springs High School in Missouri

Stronger Network, Better Coverage

Games can turn on a single play, so gathering insights as quickly as possible is crucial for every coaching staff. And even if you are able to quickly communicate key observations to your coaches, those insights don’t mean a thing if you’re not seeing the entire picture.

"When we searched for a sideline product it was important for us to find a product that was easy and efficient to set up,” said Matt Garris, head coach at Coral Springs Charter School in Florida. “Even more important was the reliability of a strong network with fast download speeds so we don't miss any plays that will provide us with critical information to make a quick game-changing decision. Hudl Sideline met and exceeded these expectations!"

New access points provide a stronger connection.

Plus and Premium teams can rest easy, as we’ve added additional antennas and an improved wireless setup to ensure better coverage on the sideline and in the press box. Placing an access point in the end zone adds a wireless signal at the field level, ensuring a stronger connection to viewing devices on the sideline. The wireless bridge connecting the sideline and end zone angles has been updated to provide an upgraded connection.

"The network strength and download speeds could be the most important aspect of this system. When we can get the clips fast, we are able to make real time adjustments during drives." Kevin Morris, assistant coach at Sebastian River High School​ in Florida

Upgrades, on Us

Sideline teams may have gained a ton of valuable insights last season, but we also learned a lot from them. That’s why all 2016 Plus and Premium teams are eligible for hardware reconditioning this season only.

All you have to do is enroll in the reconditioning program. Once you pay your 2017 invoice, we’ll swap out your old hardware for new equipment. Just tell us you want to opt in and we’ll walk you through the process.

These upgrades will enhance your Sideline experience in 2017, but we are constantly working on software improvements. Whether it be optimizing Sideline’s performance on the latest iOS devices or figuring out ways to enhance download speeds, we’re always looking for ways to level up your usage of instant replay technology.

“We make it a point to get down in the dirt to see how our products perform,” said Nelson. “With how fast technology evolves, it’s crucial we get out of the office as much as possible to find ways to improve what we offer to coaches. That’s why last year we sent out Sideline kits to teams playing in state championship games and were on the field with coaches throughout the season. This type of due diligence helps us make immediate improvements and shapes what we focus on in the long term.”

Sideline has streamlined the way coaches make in-game adjustments, and now it’s even easier for you to reap the benefits of instant replay. Start making adjustments on the fly today.