A coaching veteran of 12 years, Chris Blumenstetter has seen just about everything during his career. Now the wide receivers coach at Half Hollow Hills West High School in New York, Blumenstetter has worked with a litany of coaches, experienced countless philosophies and beheld just about every technology innovation in the sport.
But Blumenstetter’s career truly changed when he encountered Hudl about five years ago. The ease with which he could discover season-altering insights and interact with his team forever changed how Blumenstetter approached his craft.
“You can literally run your entire program from Hudl,” Blumenstetter said. “It’s a one-stop shop for everything you need.”
We caught up with Blumenstetter to unpack the different ways the Colts, who won at least eight games for the fourth straight season, used Hudl to take the program to a new level.
Save Yourself Some Time
The days of driving hundreds of miles to meet up with the opposing head coach and exchange DVDs are extinct. Hudl allows video to be traded in a matter of seconds, supplying both coaches with valuable information for the upcoming game. It’s gotten to the point where if the opposing coach hasn’t sent his video by Saturday afternoon, Blumenstetter starts to get annoyed.
He incorporates Hudl into every part of his workflow. He boasts he can tag six games in the car during a road trip, and even coaching meetings have been simplified.
“Now, I’m drawing out a play and we’re having a staff meeting on the speakerphone and I’m annotating plays and we can all see it,” Blumenstetter said. “We use Google Hangouts, so we basically video conference our entire Sunday meetings with the staff. We annotate the screen so we don’t even have to meet anymore.”
Make Adjustments on the Fly
Few programs have taken to Hudl Sideline as quickly and firmly as Half Hollow Hills West, and the Colts are reaping the benefits. Blumenstetter and his fellow coaches are constantly making mid-game adjustments, and instead of just telling the players what to do, they’re able to actually show them.
“It slows the game down for everybody,” Blumenstetter said. “When the offense is on the field, the defense is meeting and breaking down the last series. Sometimes things don’t go exactly the way you planned all week. Sometimes you’re getting a different look. Instead of going to a whiteboard, we’re going to the video. When you ask a kid, ‘What technique are they playing on you?’, you can get nine different answers. You don’t even have to ask kids anymore. You just see it on the screen.”
“Hudl has literally won us three games over the last two years.”
The Colts have flat screen TVs on the sideline during games. Both the players and coaches are seeing what needs to be corrected in real time, making series-to-series adjustments much more effective.
So proficient has Blumenstetter become with Sideline that he’s helped coaches from other schools get their setups off the ground.
“When we show the clips at halftime on the flat screen, it’s perfect,” he said. “It’s not an issue of your guys not being able to perform. They’re just screwing up an assignment, and that’s an easy fix. It’s not that they can’t do it physically. It’s a mental mistake, and being able to fix mistakes with video evidence changes the game.”
Dominate with Data
The coaches at Half Hollow Hills West are big believers in numbers. Blumenstetter dives into every level of the data, mining for tiny details that could make a big difference Friday night.
“The minutiae that you can get into with the reports and the tendencies and the user-friendly interface,” Blumenstetter said. “It just keeps getting better. It’s just so helpful.”
The bonus is everything is connected to video. One click is all that separates the Colts coaches from a complete playlist of every video clip associated with each statistic.
Want to see every pass your team has thrown on third down this season? How about your opponents’ tendencies in the red zone, or every rush by your team in last game’s fourth quarter? All that video can be quickly and easily accessed.
“I find everything valuable, from an offense’s tendencies to your own tendencies to a statistical breakdown on field position,” Blumenstetter said. “You can really break down a team with two or three reports and set up an entire practice. My practice scripts are run through Hudl. My scout team is run through Hudl. It’s everything.”
Blumenstetter and Half Hollow Hills West have found all kinds of value in using Hudl—they basically run their program through it. You can have that same power at your fingertips. Make changes on the fly with Sideline or get data delivered to you through Assist.