Practice time is in short supply for the Sandringham Dragons, but Hudl helped the coaches further connect with the players.

Time is one of life’s most valuable resources, but it comes in short supply. This fact isn’t lost on the staff of the Sandringham Dragons, who only get about six hours of team training time each week.

But that didn’t stop the Dragons from claiming the 2016 Premiership – and they had some help from a secret weapon.

The Sandringham staff used Hudl to steal some time back, interacting with the players even when they were away from team facilities. Through video and notes, the coaches communicated instructions and strategies to teach their players on their personal time.

“We’re very time-poor,” assistant coach Jackson Kornberg said. “Last year when we didn’t have Hudl, there was a lot of feedback that our meetings were going too long and we were having too many meetings. Having Hudl cut down on our meeting times and we got more vision online. The players could watch it online and they loved it and we found it invaluable.”

The Dragons get three two-hour training sessions each week to prepare for that weekend’s game – a limited window that puts a cap on how much they can teach the players. But the coaches maximised learning time by distributing the relevant video to players at each position, accompanied by comments from their line coaches.

The players watch the video Monday and Tuesday, so when the week’s practices begin Wednesday, the squad is ready to hit the ground running.

“It’s more streamlined for the players,” Kornberg said. “They can just be sitting at home or lying in bed and they can just get their phone and watch the two minutes of vision. If they have a question, they can message the coach or call the coach. It was easier because it was quick feedback, rather than having to wait until later in the week to actually physically speak to the coach and see the edits at training.”

Not only did this new workflow help the coaches get more information to their players, but it also helped prepare the players for what life is going to be like as a professional, should they make it that far.

“If we didn’t have Hudl this year, we wouldn’t have been able to show the amount of vision that we did and the players wouldn’t be able to have the depth of learning that we did,” Kornberg said. “Without the education that we were able to give them through the vision, we might not have been on the podium as the Premiers at the end of the year.

“It really gave the players a lot more information to learn off. Without having that, we wouldn’t have been able to do that with the physical time constraints that we have.”

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