The Southport School: Bringing Elite Level Analysis to School Sport

With three major sports on board, Southport discusses how video has become an integral part of their athletic department’s development.

The Southport School: Bringing Elite Level Analysis to School Sport

With three major sports on board, Southport discusses how video has become an integral part of their athletic department’s development.

The Southport School have been utilising analysis for eight years now. When it came time to re-evaluate the tools they were using a couple years ago, Bryan Hain, Director of Sport at TSS, and Mike Wallace, Associate Dean at TSS, saw an opportunity to implement a platform at all levels of school sport.

“The challenge with high school students is having a tool they can access outside of a normal academic routine,” said Wallace. “Hudl is a platform that suits this particular need, which is different from the professional sports that most programs are designed around.

“The fact that it is simple, user friendly and mobile device compatible made it an obvious choice for our program.”

Implementing new technology can be a challenge. But it was one that the school tackled from the start, because of what it offered their coaches and their players. “I think with any new technology someone has to drive it, whether that be one sport or a coach who has seen it in action and how good the potential outcomes can be,” said Hain. “Anything that helps alleviate ‘coaching time’ and motivates the athletes of tomorrow must be a seen as a good move.”

For TSS, that meant starting with Hudl in one sport, basketball, and moving it into other sports. Daniel Trollope, current sports administrator and former basketball assistant, was one of the first to jump on board.

What they found was their players were so accustomed to the use of video, making the implementation a breeze. “I think the boys in general, young men in general, learn better through watching,” said Trollope. “Whether it’s how an activity is done, they enjoy watching sport themselves.

“Having a tool like Hudl, it’s not just like a video camera where you just play the tape, start and stop, pause and rewind… In basketball, if they didn’t understand a play or they saw themselves getting confused within the set that was going on, they can write a comment asking, ‘What was I doing wrong here?’ The coach can reply there. Or the coach can make a note of it and go through it in practice.”

The fact that it is simple, user friendly and mobile device compatible made it an obvious choice for our program.

The instantaneous nature of review was what led other sports at TSS to adopt the platform. It’s become essential for the football development academy. “The director of the program can’t watch every game,” said Trollope. “But by having Hudl and having the boys clip their highlights, he can go on each week after the game from the weekend and have a look at what those boys have clipped in their highlight reel as to what a strength is and what their review is.”

The strength and reviews process is unique to all sports at TSS. With video, athletes are asked to make note of both their positive and negative aspects of their game that need worked on. “[He] can then send them a message and say, ‘I want to have a chat with you about your clips.’ And that kid will come down, whether it’s lunch time or after school, and just go through those clips,” said Trollope.

The feedback aides their program in developing young talent. They can effectively communicate coaching points through video analysis that their players can turn into action once they hit the court or pitch. It’s invaluable to Joe Dolan, the director of the school’s football program. “The ability for boys to see their own performance and evaluate it is a powerful one, it also alleviates the pressure of subjectivity from coaches,” said Dolan.

The video isn’t left in the coach’s office, though. It’s brought into practice for instantaneous feedback. “So when we’re doing training or drills, if they’re not quite understanding what’s going on, they can physically show them what they were doing in the game the week before to try and rectify it,” said Trollope.

“The fact that our coaching staff can comment on and draw on the clips we have created means that the athletes get a real picture of what we are thinking and looking for in our performance,” Wallace added. “This starts a conversation around how we want to play and where we can refine things. We only meet for very short periods as a whole unit now because the analysis is ongoing with the conversation around the clip occurring in real time.”

The time it saves the coaching staff and the player is what really makes the difference. With a huge focus on academic success, the boys don’t have any time to waste. Being able to quickly reference video through specific data and playlists just increases their efficiency. “Instead of having to review an hour of game video, you might ask them to find three or four different things,” said Trollope.

“That’s normally stuff that’s reserved for professional sporting teams, but here in Queensland, that’s the level of where sport seems to be going. Everyone is trying to get the best from their players, but having a tool that you can review your performance almost instantly and get feedback or comments from your coach, or even other teammates… Hudl is that software that can do that.

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