Varsity Basketball Coach Maximizes Practice Time with Live Tagging

As any coach knows, time is a precious commodity.

Varsity Basketball Coach Maximizes Practice Time with Live Tagging

As any coach knows, time is a precious commodity.

As any coach knows, time is a precious commodity.

Coaching staffs short on time often rush through video reviews and end up directing their players to execute disorganized game plans. Conversely, coaches that make efficient use of their time create highly-focused game plans and put their players in the best position to succeed.

During our multi-day visit to Sheldon High School (Iowa) in early December, we learned how head coach Eric Maassen handles this balancing act. Specifically, we saw how Maassen and his staff balance their efforts between analyzing game video and effectively relaying key coaching points to a roster with varying degrees of interest in reviewing that video.

Since the main goal of our visit was to observe how the coaching staff used Hudl in their everyday workflows, gathering details about the team’s learning styles was beneficial in relaying those findings to our product team.

“We don’t have any set requirements for our players, but we watch about an hour or two together as a team on a weekly basis. There are obviously kids that watch a lot of footage and perform better because of their efforts, but there is a balance between forcing kids to watch film or watching it with them. If you watch too much, they’ll lose interest,” said Coach Maassen.

As for Maassen’s staff, they watch an average of about five hours of game footage a week. Coming from a program that never used Hudl’s video sharing capabilities, Maassen was quick to tell us about the ease of analyzing now compared to his previous coaching stop.

“When I was an assistant at Dana College, we were without a solution like Hudl to house game film, and it was very difficult for me to watch game tape as we only had one copy of it,” Maassen explained during our visit.

Thanks to our live tag and playlist features, Coach Maassen is able to efficiently identify areas of focus for offseason improvement, make in-game adjustments, and pinpoint key trends that would have gone unseen without the video to accompany specific team stats.

Laying the groundwork

Before we took to the sidelines at one of Sheldon’s games in December, we sat down with Coach Maassen to understand how live tagging has helped with pre-game preparation and offseason training. Maassen finds the ability to sort through specific basketball plays and stats highly beneficial to finding points of improvement for the offseason.

“Before the season, the staff went through all of our games from a year ago and sorted through the video clips tagged as offensive rebounds and 3-point makes our players gave up. This helped us understand the scenarios in which those specific plays occurred and helped us prepare for this season,” Maassen explained.

Since all statistics in Hudl are linked to video, coaches can instantly pull up film clips related to any stat during video review sessions (see Exhibits A & B below). Now, coaches can spend less time in the film room and more time on the hardwood improving player technique.

(Exhibit A): Maasen was able to review these specific clips by clicking on a hyperlinked opponent stat in Hudl.

(Exhibit B): After clicking through a specific stat, Maassen was able to instantly review video clips related to that stat.

Adjusting on the fly

As we sat behind the Sheldon bench for their December 4 game against the Okoboji Pioneers, we noticed each assistant carried a clipboard with a list of questions they needed to reference throughout the game. Some of the questions included:

  • How are they defending ball screens?
  • How are they feeding the post?
  • Who do we want to foul?
  • What defenses are they playing?
  • How much are they pressuring the ball?
  • What kind of action are they running?

Before using Hudl’s tagging app, answering each question and relating the answers to specific team stats would require an intense review of game footage. With Hudl, the Sheldon coaching staff was able to use first half stats to emphasize areas of improvement for the second half of the same game.

After an exciting first half, Coach Maassen and his staff reviewed game stats on their iPads and realized the team was turning the ball over at an accelerated rate. Because Sheldon had 11 turnovers at the break, the coaches set a goal of six or fewer for the remainder of the game.

Learning through visuals

The Orabs were able to knock off the Pioneers 68-52, and Coach Maassen was confident his staff’s ability to make informed decisions with stats played a huge role in the victory. In addition, live tagging made the post-game analysis a much more efficient experience. Maassen was able to instantly pull up all 22 turnovers and review the myriad of stats in an easy-to-view dashboard under the Reports tab in his Hudl account.

The Sheldon coaches also closely monitored “hustle” stats throughout the game. By combining manually-tracked unofficial stats like loose ball gathers with live tag stats, Maassen created a bigger picture of his team’s effort – one he wouldn’t have seen without Hudl. For example, Maassen took all instances of offensive charges taken and offensive rebounds gathered by his players and paired that data with his unofficial stats to identify which players gave maximum effort in the game with Okoboji.

When asked about the value of advanced stats in today’s game, Coach Maassen explained that they play a huge role in providing context to a game’s traditional stats.

“The biggest ones that I like to use are Turnover % and OREB/DREB %,” Maassen explained. “The reason I like using these more advanced stats as opposed to the more traditional ones is because each game is a little bit different. One game, 15 turnovers might be an acceptable number if the game is really uptempo and the number of possessions is high. Whereas in another game, 15 turnovers might be a poor number if it was a slower-paced game.”

In addition to the abundance of post-game data instantly available to Maassen, matching specific stats to actual game clips allows him to watch more of the video that matters in less time.

“I’m able to go through and watch 25 three-point shots by our opponents in less than five minutes because of the tags and playlists feature. In years past, it would have taken me hours, and I probably wouldn’t have seen all of the plays I wanted to,” Maassen explained to the Northwest Iowa Review during a post-game Q&A.

Maximizing coaching sessions

Finding solutions to make better use of your coaching time can make a world of difference throughout the season. Among the many benefits of live tagging, Maassen has also found new efficiencies off the court.

“With the time saved in reviewing games more efficiently, we have more opportunities to prepare for practice and the day-to-day aspect of coaching,” Maassen said. “I have more time where I can communicate with our guys on things they need to be working on and things they can do to improve. Also, I can provide feedback specific to individual players.”

The improved review experience has also encouraged Maassen’s players to study more video.

“Without a doubt our players are more engaged in scouting and watching film than they had been before we were able to get as detailed as we are now. The main reason is because of the efficiency. With the current setup, we can get through a lot of information in a short period of time. Before, we would have to try and find the specific parts of film we wanted to watch and would spend about as much time trying to find film as actually watching it. Now, we can get right to what we’re looking for and our guys stay focused on what we want them to know.”

Checking In

Above all else, helping coaches and athletes improve each time they step on the floor is our mission. Seeing this in action for coaches like Eric Maassen motivates us to provide even better support and product experiences to coaches across the country.

To learn more about live tagging and stat reports in Hudl, and how they can free up time for you and your coaches, check out our basketball page or hit up our support team with any questions!

The features discussed in this blog are only available to users of our newest basketball platform.

Please contact our support team to make the switch today!