How Video Brought Together an Entire State of Youth Football Players

Steve Conner uses video to con­nect his all-star team of play­ers from all across the state of Texas.

How Video Brought Together an Entire State of Youth Football Players

Steve Conner uses video to con­nect his all-star team of play­ers from all across the state of Texas.

Steve Conner was faced with a conun­drum. Texas is one of the nation’s most tal­ent-rich foot­ball states, but it’s also one of the largest. Conner want­ed to build an all-star team to com­pete among America’s best, but how could he real­is­ti­cal­ly expect to form any sort of cohe­sion between play­ers that live four hours apart?

Hudl is the cyber-bridge that makes Conner’s goals pos­si­ble. From his home in Katy, Conner sends out video of pre­vi­ous games so play­ers from across the state see the schemes in action. He also shares his play­book through Hudl, allow­ing the ath­letes to study and go through region­al practices.

We used Hudl and the Hudl play­book to short­en the men­tal gap so when they show up they at least have a base lev­el of knowl­edge,” Conner said. We also share video from pri­or sea­sons so they under­stand down to the o-line stance steps and the block­ing schemes. It’s eas­i­er to plug a kid into our system.

It’s a way for us to col­lab­o­rate across the entire state, com­mu­ni­cate and share video.”

Using play­ers from the 2020 and 21 class­es, Conner has man­aged to assem­ble a bevy of tal­ent, and many of his play­ers already have pro­files on Rivals and 247 Sports. But get­ting them togeth­er and on the same page for events can prove tricky.

Conner, a youth coach of 16 years who has used Hudl for the past six, exe­cut­ed this strat­e­gy suc­cess­ful­ly a few years back in the sixth-grade FBU National Championship, a 64-team, sin­gle-elim­i­na­tion team that pits the country’s top squads against each oth­er. In addi­tion to shar­ing the play­book, Conner would have a par­ent film each game. The coach­es would break down the video that evening, then give the play­ers their next assign­ments dur­ing din­ner for the fol­low­ing day’s game.

We used Hudl as a means to com­mu­ni­cate pri­or to get­ting every­one there. The chal­lenge with those types of events is you can only have a very lim­it­ed play­book because you can only install so much. But the kids are smart enough now that if we can at least lever­age a tool like you guys have.” Steve Conner, Texas youth football coach

Of course, a sys­tem like this can’t suc­ceed with­out buy-in from the play­ers, who must put forth the effort to famil­iar­ize them­selves with for­eign plays and team­mates that live hours away. But Hudl allows Conner to track who is access­ing Hudl and for how long, allow­ing him to keep his ath­letes accountable.

I made it a pre-req for our kids before they even step on the field,” Conner said. They have to log in and be account­able. They need to use the tool. You can’t put enough into a well-man­aged, well-coached team that knows what to expect the next day.

“(Without Hudl) it would be an old-school, two-dimen­sion­al print­out play­book with no secu­ri­ty around it, no notes, no video. Having the abil­i­ty to flag cer­tain plays and upload the play­book and the usage is, that wouldn’t be possible.”

Conner’s ambi­tions are lofty, but he believes he can make it work. He has coach­es in the Houston and Dallas/​Fort Worth areas that will hold region­al prac­tices togeth­er this fall so the team only has to actu­al­ly prac­tice all at once twice a month, sav­ing hours of trav­el time.

The glue that will hold it all togeth­er will be Hudl,” Conner said.