Small School, No Problem: How Ames High School Overcame Its Size to Win a State Title 

Never mind that Ames High is one of the small­est schools in Iowa’s 3A class. Video and reports helped pow­er it to its first state title.

Small School, No Problem: How Ames High School Overcame Its Size to Win a State Title 

Never mind that Ames High is one of the small­est schools in Iowa’s 3A class. Video and reports helped pow­er it to its first state title.

Despite own­ing a 12 – 3 reg­u­lar sea­son record, few expect­ed Ames High School to make much noise in the Class 3A Iowa state tour­na­ment last year. Ames is one of the small­est schools in the class and hadn’t appeared at state in 11 years, mak­ing them one of the field’s underdogs.

But the Little Cyclones shocked the field by bull­doz­ing their way to the title game, where they knocked off WDM Valley, a school with 700 more stu­dents, 1 – 0 to claim the program’s first championship.

We always feel like we get a lit­tle bit less respect because the big­ger schools just have more play­ers to choose from,” coach Bobby Myers said. We always feel like the under­dog, and our group last year real­ly just owned up to that men­tal­i­ty of being able to prove every­one wrong and do some­thing unex­pect­ed. We went into a lot of games with an uncom­mon con­fi­dence and we knew that we could compete.”

Ames had some help in tak­ing down their larg­er oppo­nents in the state tour­na­ment. Myers dis­cov­ered inef­fi­cien­cies in his team’s per­for­mance by pour­ing through sta­tis­ti­cal reports in Hudl. These stats and their linked video clips allowed him to uncov­er insights he hadn’t pre­vi­ous­ly thought about.

For instance, Ames was good about pos­sess­ing the ball, but their offense strug­gled due to their con­ser­v­a­tive style. Myers dis­cov­ered that his team need­ed to get out and attack more often, a rev­e­la­tion that helped the team aver­age more than four goals per game in the state tournament.

Early in the year, Ames’ goal­keep­er devel­oped a habit of com­ing too far off the line, a tac­tic that was exploit­ed by oppo­nents. Myers sat down with her and shared clips depict­ing why she would be bet­ter served hang­ing back, allow­ing the keep­er to make a piv­otal adjustment.

Sometimes they don’t always believe what you say, but when you see it, obvi­ous­ly things change very quick­ly,” Myers said. They can see, Oh, I did do that.’”

With only a few days between games, it can be dif­fi­cult to make improve­ments on the fly. Myers cred­its Hudl Assist with help­ing him get to the data in less than 24 hours. Assist sup­plied him with all the data he need­ed in a time­ly manner.

The sea­son is so short, and if you wait one day to break down the num­bers and sit­u­a­tions and sce­nar­ios that the girls have to deal with, they’re going to be lost because we’ve already played anoth­er game or two,” Myers said. Being able to have the num­bers the next day, we can take those find­ings back to the kids quick­ly with a short turnaround.

It just takes so much work off my shoul­ders. It prob­a­bly takes me three hours to break down a film. On top of prac­tice and every­thing else, where do you find the time? For some­one else to be able to do it and have such a fast turn­around, that’s real­ly nice.”

Ames might not have the biggest pop­u­la­tion or bud­get, but through fundrais­ing, the school was able to deliv­er a game-chang­ing tool to its coach­es and ath­letes. Learn more about what Hudl can do for your school.