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The French Top 14 is one of the leading rugby union competitions in the world and is also one of the most advanced in terms of rugby performance analysis.

In this article we learn how leading Top 14 team Stade Francais have changed the way they provide feedback and presentations to their players using a platform new to the club.

The ambition for Stade Francais this season was to finish amongst the first six positions in Top 14, qualify for the finals and make a push towards fighting for the overall championship. 

The season was a success in regards to these goals as the Parisian club claimed a fourth place finish and a quarter final berth. To understand how this season has been successful with the use of video analysis, we asked Forwards Coach Laurent Sempere about the role of technology in keeping players focused through delivering specific information to players in the Stade Francais camp. Sempere will become the Assistant Coach of the French National Team following the upcoming World Cup and understands how to use technology to reach objectives in elite rugby union. 

“Of course we are doing a lot of video analysis to achieve our goals,” said Sempere. “One way we are doing that this season is trying to reduce the length of video sessions to help players keep focus and learn more information - so more meetings are happening. 

We simply give three key points to players and the meetings don’t last more than 15 minutes, so we are spending five minutes on each topic and can repeat the same information in order for players to remember it.”

Soon to be the National Team's Assistant Coach, Stade Francais Forwards Coach Laurent Sempere saw a much-improved Top 14 campaign in 2023.

For the Stade Francais coaching team, understanding the information consumption habits of players in the current generation has been crucial to identifying how to have the players, especially young players, retain information more effectively.

“I studied a lot about how people are learning and it changes depending on where you are, but here in France we have had the same scholar system for 150 years,” said Sempere. 

“With the new generation, we can see the influence of the smartphone and what we call a “TikTok tendency”. Young players are able to screen information in less than 10 seconds, but they like to go straight to the point then switch points quickly.”

The key tool Stade Francais are using to convey their coaching ideas quickly and effectively is Studio. Studio opens directly from Sportscode, so Sportscode users can now quickly add professional, dynamic drawings and graphics to multiple angles in your video packages, all while switching between platforms without effort.

“The integration between Hudl Sportscode and Studio saves me a lot of time,” said Sempere. “In less than five seconds I can send a sequence from my organizer to Studio, then the same in the other way, it is really handy! 

With Studio I make my presentation like a real movie with pauses when I need to speak. Thanks to that I don’t need to ask the analyst to stop the clip and more importantly, I don’t forget anything I need to say.”

The ability to quickly communicate with two-way sharing of video with multiple angles and telestrations means presentations at Stade Francais are interesting and to the point.

“Most of the time we have multiple coaches speaking during a meeting so each of us needs to develop his own style in order to be different from the previous speaker and get player interest,” said Sempere. “This is where Studio is super interesting! I’m the only coach to have the Elite license which includes Studio, so I can captivate players thanks to the telestration.”

The Zoom Tool used to Studio to highlight scrum positioning and technique in a match against La Rochelle.

To even further improve presentations, Stade Francais utilize the Zoom Tool within Studio. Coach Sempere how the Zoom Tool can be used to analyze set piece situations: 

“The tool I like the most in Studio is the Zoom Tool, where with the magnifying glass I can show the body language of the opposition and help my players guess what will happen in the next lineout in order to win the ball,” said Sempere. 

“To highlight synchronization between players during driving mauls, I’m using the line graphic with discs as well. I like the chrono to showcase reactivity or highlight our “win the race” principle of play with a lot of precision. To “win the race” means to be first to everywhere. For example: first to the ruck, prepared under the high ball, setting up the lineout structure before the opposition. 

“The integration between Hudl Sportscode and Studio saves me a lot of time. In less than five seconds I can send a sequence from my organizer to Studio, then the same in the other way, it is really handy!" Laurent Sempere - Forwards Coach, Stade Francais.

“The beam graphic is precious when I say for example, to look at the number five and he is highlighted. There is no possible confusion and players are focused on what really matters in the presentation.

The link between coach and analyst is vital for optimizing team review, game trends and overall preparation for upcoming opponents. Studio has created a stronger working bond between these two roles at Stade Francais.  

“I’ve been working for several years with our Video Analyst Dimitri Jacquot and we have developed a good workflow between us,” said Sempere. “For me he is more of an Assistant Coach than a Video Analyst as he is analyzing everything in the way we need, then I come in and prepare the final presentation to the players. 

The Beam Tool used in Studio to highlight an individual player's movements during a presentation.

I don’t want to bother Dimitri with producing drawings as it is more tricky to delegate creative tasks and I like to do some stuff myself as well, so I was happy to learn how to make good telestrations in Studio. Both Dimitri and I have a lot of tasks, so it is important to avoid time wasting by going back and forth. 

Since I’m autonomous with Studio I can do exactly what I want in my area of creating drawings. Sometimes I also get new ideas while creating the telestration so I can improve the video presentation as I create it.

After I showed my first presentation to the players using Studio, I heard them speaking about it in the changing room and they really appreciated it and recognized the effort made. Now if I don’t use it, the players complain about it!”

Upskilling from Hudl Sportscode to Studio takes your presentation and player feedback to the next level and the learning can be done in a single session.

“I learned the basics of Studio by myself, then after that I took one afternoon of training by David Dassonville, a Solution Consultant of Hudl,” said Sempere. “Straight after this session I was able to use Studio autonomously. 

The last update helped me a lot as well as the calibration is now working super well on tight angles. The more I use Studio, the quicker I become.”

Hudl are powering the success of elite rugby teams around the world - Click here to learn more about Studio and also the professional rugby solutions we offer.