How to Embrace Tech to Teach Youth Football Players.

Kids are glued to their phones. Here’s how one youth coach used that to his advantage. 

How to Embrace Tech to Teach Youth Football Players.

Kids are glued to their phones. Here’s how one youth coach used that to his advantage. 

These days it’s rare to find a moment when an ath­lete doesn’t have a screen with­in arm’s reach. Youths and teens are con­stant­ly check­ing their phones or fid­dling with their tablets.

Instead of view­ing this as an annoy­ance, Demiko Suggs decid­ed to put it to good use.

Suggs, a youth foot­ball coach for the PG Chargers (Maryland) of American Youth Football, grew tired of see­ing his play­ers leave their paper play­books on the side­lines or in the bleach­ers after games, wait­ing to be scav­enged by future oppo­nents. He turned to Hudl to share his installs elec­tron­i­cal­ly, but soon dis­cov­ered there was far more worth sharing.

These were the kids born with the phone in their hands,” Suggs said. From the very first moment they could watch them­selves on video and show their friends, (Hudl) was a hit from day one. Everyone is thor­ough­ly famil­iar at this point.”

Hudl is like Facebook. It’s thor­ough­ly main­stream at this point.”

The Chargers are cur­rent­ly made up of 13-year-olds, but they were all around eight or nine when Suggs imple­ment­ed Hudl. Once the play­ers caught on, the coach took full advan­tage of his shar­ing opportunities.

Suggs became enam­ored with Hudl’s Play Tools fea­ture, which allows him to share notes, play­er assign­ments and posi­tions with the Chargers. He can also see how much time each ath­lete spends on Hudl, so he knows who’s study­ing and who needs to spend more time with his playbook.

But Suggs also shares plen­ty of video from prac­tice and games with his play­ers. He uses com­ments and draw­ings to mark missed assign­ments, poor tech­nique and oth­er notes he wants to distribute.

We can coach faster on the field,” Suggs said. We don’t have to stop prac­tice to say, Hey, you did this right or you did this wrong.’ It’s that sec­ond set of eyes. If you’re run­ning a drill, you might be focus­ing on hand place­ment and foot­work. Watching prac­tice lat­er gives us that 20/20 hind­sight to say, Let’s make sure we rein­force that or we cor­rect the foot­work on that play.’”

Some feed­back is instant­ly admin­is­tered while oth­er times Suggs holds back. His quar­ter­back, for exam­ple, might receive some clips of his throws from prac­tice with instruc­tions to watch his foot­work or arm angle. Meanwhile, cor­rec­tions in tack­ling or block­ing are usu­al­ly saved for the fol­low­ing day’s practice.

While not every coach feels the need to share as much as Suggs does, he con­sid­ers using Hudl as an essen­tial ele­ment to com­pet­ing on the nation­al lev­el. He’s inter­est­ed in nab­bing any advan­tage he can get his hands on.

Now kids are glued to their phones, so it makes it much eas­i­er,” Suggs said. And with the mes­sag­ing fea­ture, we don’t have to wait for cer­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tion win­dows. We don’t have to wait until eight o’clock tonight to send a mes­sage. I can send it in the morn­ing. I can send it at lunch time. Hey, there are new plays added to the install. Take a look when you can.’

It removes a lot of bar­ri­ers to com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the kids.”

Check out what Hudl can do for your ath­letes by click­ing here.