Set expectations for success this season
Meet your club’s new best friend—Hudl. But like any friendship, you need to set a foundation. It’ll take some planning, patience and persistence.
To help you and your team get to know Hudl, we created ten goals to focus on. Like getting parents on board, and creating highlights to get your team and players noticed. Each goal is paired with a game plan full of tactics you can use to reach that objective.
In the end, everyone at your club will be more aligned and ready to get the most out of Hudl’s tools. In other words, that friendship will be rock solid for years to come.
Ready to dive in? Keep scrolling to see the first goal.
Commitment—/kəˈmɪtmənt/ (noun): the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. Let’s go ahead and add team to that definition. After all, you’ve made a commitment to your team by signing up for Hudl (high-five).
So what’s the driving motivation behind your decision to add Hudl to your team? Maybe you want to use Hudl to find insights into your team’s performance more easily and efficiently. Or you signed up so your athletes have access to tools that allow them to create highlights in seconds, get noticed and have a chance at the next level. Is it because you want to help build your organization’s brand and attract more athletes to your club? If so, you’re on the right track—you’ve already shown that you’re committed to helping your athletes and teams be the best they can be.
It’s time to share those motivations with your coaches and set expectations early. For example:
- As a U12 team, we want to use Hudl to help athletes learn the game and build a culture of video review early. We’ll hold team film sessions after each tournament and ask athletes to watch on their own at least once a month. We’ll call this a success when video review becomes part of our weekly routine and athletes consistently do it on their own (through the individual activity tracking feature on Hudl).
- As a U17 team, we want to use Hudl to give our players the best chance at reaching the next level, while also using it as a promotional tool to attract top talent in the area to our club. We’ll be successful when X% of our athletes are committed to playing college ball, and we see an increase in the amount of players trying out every year.
From there, it’s a cascading effect. A committed coach can set expectations with their team managers, athletes and parents so every single person at the club (regardless of role) knows how and why they need to get the most out of Hudl.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. First we’ll need to get your coaches bought in. Here’s the game plan.
- Host a kickoff meeting with club directors and coaches to determine what your expectations are going to be for using Hudl this season. Have a good ol’ brainstorming session and write any and all ideas on a whiteboard or on sticky notes posted to a wall. You could even write up a survey on Google Forms and have this core group vote on what they relate to the most. From there, you can discuss and narrow it down to what motivates you the most. Pro tip: Not all of the teams at your club need to have the same motivations. Like the example above, your U12 team might be using Hudl to improve and learn the game, whereas, your U17 team could be using Hudl to create highlights for recruitment purposes.
- Now decide on a rallying cry. Sure, it sounds cheesy, but it’ll help—trust us. When it’s crunch time and your team plays in 15 minutes, remind everyone of the rallying cry and the commitment you all made to the team. For example: You’re the U12 team whose Hudl motivations include helping your athletes learn the game, so your rallying cry could be “Focus on the fundamentals.” Before the match, remind everyone to focus on the fundamentals so everything else can fall into place. The next time you review video, don’t let your players dwell on just their shots—remind them to focus on the fundamentals. Learning the game applies to the less flashy parts too, like movement off the ball and good defense.
Don’t forget to share the expectations and rallying cry with everyone (assistants, parents, directors, etc.). Create a snazzy PowerPoint presentation, Google document, or host a meeting so you can talk about it in person. Everyone needs to be on the same page for this season to be a success.
Get parents and players on board
Hudl is a great tool for teams—but it’s extremely powerful on the individual level too. Parents can watch matches they might not be able to attend. Or they can send their son or daughter’s highlights to extended family members. And athletes? They can review video on their own to improve off the pitch, then create and share highlights to social media. And everyone can stay in touch with our messaging tools.
Let’s talk about how you can let these people know they have access to Hudl, what it can do and how you expect athletes to use it this season. Here’s the game plan.
- Send an announcement email to athletes and parents. Not sure what to write? Check out this email template to make sure you’re hitting on all the right points.
- Athletes need to be added with email addresses (it’s how they’re able to login to their accounts, just like you). Sending that announcement email will be a good excuse to gather your players’ info, too. Once you have the whole team’s, add them manually or import a spreadsheet. (Then, send them the this email template to let them know they’ve been added.)
- Or have the athletes do the work. All you need to do is share your team’s unique code in an email or team meeting.
Note: We don’t currently offer parent accounts. If you have parents that want access to log in to watch video, have them use their athlete’s account.
Figure out filming
We know it can be a serious struggle to film your matches. But good quality video is extremely important. So we’re going to give you the know-how you need.
You might be wondering why having excellent video is so important. It’s because of the impact it has on your post-match review and your ability to create highlights. Whether you plan to track stats yourself or send your matches to Hudl Assist, the video has to be clear enough to show what happened and who was involved.
Here’s the game plan.
- First and foremost, set a goal for how often you’ll capture film. This will give you extra motivation when you’re on your thirtieth match of the season. If you’re lucky enough to have parent volunteers, you might be able to record every event. But each team’s situation is different. Filming 10 matches in a year is awesome. Whatever you do, decide on a number and stick to it. Don’t let your team make do with any less—but if you have more than that when season ends, awesome.
- Evaluate the equipment you have, decide what equipment you need to get, and figure out how you’ll transport it. There’s a good chance you already have some of the equipment you need. Hudl supports recording from an iPad or a hand-held camera. We also highly recommend using a tripod to ensure you have a stable, smooth stream (plus it saves the filmer from a sore arm). Lenses from our partner, iOgrapher, can help you see more of the action. If you don’t have access to bleachers or a high vantage point, we highly recommend investing in a tower camera. Check out our complete Hudl + Tower Camera package here.
- Find your filmers. Say you have 20 players on your team. That’s probably 20-40 parents already on the sidelines during the match, not to mention grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, etc. Create a spreadsheet and ask for volunteers for specific days or weekends. 73 percent of the club soccer parents we interviewed recently said that recording matches was a positive or very positive experience. Remind them of your rallying cry to get them extra inspired. Then have them take this course in Hudl Academy to learn how to record great video.
- Pro tip: No need to give all your parents your Hudl login (especially if your Hudl password is the same password to everything else in your life). Create a new admin on your team’s account called “Parent Filmer” with an email you don’t use much, or one you made just for this purpose. Tape a note on the back of your iPad or camera with the login information and you’re good to go.
- Write down the basic instructions for your team’s recording equipment and email it to anyone who will be filming. Better yet, include a short video or pictures showing how to set everything up and how to upload the film to your team’s Hudl account.
- Parents not going to cut it? Here are a couple other ideas.
- Sandy, at Central California Soccer Alliance, decided hiring a professional videographer was a cost they were willing to splurge on so they could have quality film from each of their matches. Now this doesn’t have to be done for every team at your club. Maybe you can cut it with just the older ones who will rely on video as their gateway to playing in college.
- Adrian, at South Carolina United FC, hired interns from the University of South Carolina to film their practices and games. If your location allows, seek out college (or even high school) students nearby. It’ll look good on their resumes and you won’t have to worry about finding someone to film every match. Sounds like a win-win!
Train coaches, parent and players
You have all these tools at your disposal—video, stats, highlights, playlists (we could go on and on). Now it’s time to learn how to use them. Here are a couple of ideas that’ll help everyone at your club become a Hudl pro.
- Find (or nominate) a coach who’s willing to become the “Hudl guru” at your club. When a parent, athlete or coach has a question related to Hudl, they’ll know exactly who to go to. Incentives could include a bonus, donuts, club swag (shirts, shoes, jackets), bragging rights, maybe even a homemade certificate. Whatever floats your boat (and your budget). As always, our support team is here to help every step of the way, but Hudl proficiency goes a long way on an up-and-coming coach’s resume.
- Even with a Hudl guru on staff, every coach should still check out Hudl Academy. Through nine self-paced, video-driven courses, they’ll learn about everything Hudl has to offer soccer coaches, from video analysis and stats to highlights and library management.
- Then host a kick-off party and review Hudl Academy as a coaching staff. Order a few pizzas and chat about all the cool things you’ll accomplish on Hudl this season.
- Have a coach that needs to learn Hudl quickly? They can attend Hudl 101, our 30-minute online class that gives a quick snapshot of all the basics.
Parents and athletes
- Dedicate 15 minutes at the end of your first few practices for showing athletes and parents how to do something new on Hudl. Here are a couple of things you could cover.
Practice #1: Talk about how to log in, download the Hudl app, update account information, edit your profile, and where to find tutorials or support resources.
Practice #2: How to save top moments and create highlight reels.
Practice #3: Go over the steps to share highlights or embed a highlight reel (like for your club’s website).
Practice #4: The types of messages they should send and how to view them.
- Assign your players their first round of Hudl homework—an athlete’s guide to Hudl.
Link your video to stats
By studying video and stats together, you can learn a lot about your team’s performance. With them linked together on Hudl, it’s easier than ever to find the exact moments in the match you want to see. No more shuffling through 20-90 minutes of video to find that one shot you’re looking for.
Sounds awesome, but how long will it take? Glad you asked. There are three ways to track stats on Hudl—and they’re all easy. You just have to decide which method works best for your team.
- Track stats live. Grab an injured player, parent or assistant to tag stats in Hudl app at the match. You’ll have them available to reference during the match, and all the data will be ready to upload immediately after the final whistle.
Pro tip: If you plan on tracking stats live at the match, create a spreadsheet and have people volunteer for a match or an entire tournament (just like you did for filming).
- Do them on your computer after the match. You want stats, but you don’t really trust a parent to know the ins and outs of the game. No worries—just add team and player stats from your computer while you review the match.
- Send your matches to Hudl Assist. Less work, more play. Check out Hudl Assist for soccer and let us handle the stats so you can save your time and energy for coaching.
Cool, I have stats for my matches. What now? We’ll take it from here. All that data is automatically linked to the moment in your video when it happened. Done and done. Now here’s your game plan to easily find and share key moments for review.
- Build playlists from tags. You no longer have to sort through an entire match to find that one shot on target. Filter by a team or player, plus any stat, to quickly narrow down your search for that specific moment you need. Then save it to a playlist, add your coaching notes and share with others.
- Turn reports into playlists. Click any underlined value on your reports page to see the clips associated with that stat. Send those clips to a playlist with the click of a button.
To learn more about data, check out our stats course in Hudl Academy.
Review video with your team
Video is a key factor in player development and athletes are craving it. We surveyed nearly 1,000 club athletes across the country to make sure, and guess what? 86 percent of them think reviewing video is crucial for their improvement.
When you need to create a team culture of video review, it’s best to make it a habit. And to do that, you need to set a cadence. Here’s your game plan for making the most of your team’s video review sessions.
- Just like we talked about for recording matches and creating highlights, it’s a good idea to set a goal for how many times you’ll hold team film review per month. Maybe you’ll want to review video after every tournament. Or you might record practices and review that video as well. It’s all about what makes sense for your team.
- Remember, film review doesn’t have to be an hour-long sacrifice of your team’s limited time together. With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can make a big impact with just 15 minutes of review before or after practice.
- Rainy day? Don’t cancel practice—dedicate that time to a longer film review session instead.
- Set themes for your review sessions. Maybe one month is all about attacking and another is all about defense. Or get even more focused than that—talk about passing one day and shooting on another.
- Don’t limit yourself to one style of view. Try and mix it up to add some variety and keep your players interested. Rather than point out the mistakes of your players, ask open-ended questions for them to discuss with a partner or in a small group. Show a video clip and ask questions like, “What was good about this play?” or “What could we have done better here?”
- Ever heard the saying, “If you want to master something, teach it”? It’s especially true when it comes to video review. If you want your athletes to really grasp the concepts, why not put them in the hot seat? By leading film sessions, your players will learn the tricks of analysis and grow as leaders. (Bonus—video will become a bigger part of your team culture.)
For more ideas on how to make your video review more efficient, check out 8 creative ideas to improve your team film review.
Empower you players to review video on their own
As a coach, your success is determined by more than wins and losses. It’s your job to create well-rounded players with correct technique and the ability to make smart decisions on the pitch. We know you’re under pressure—your players’ (and your club’s) futures are on the line.
It doesn’t help that time with players is often limited. Mom picks them up from practice and sends them off to the next school activity, tutoring session or piano lesson on their calendar.
But that’s where Hudl can help (maybe that was even your motivation behind adding it in the first place). Video ensures learning doesn’t end at practice—it gives you a chance to connect with your players off the field.
Let’s talk about your game plan, which includes tips on how to encourage individual film sessions and build a team-wide obsession with video.
- With our tools, it’s easy to pull out clips for a single athlete, save it as a playlist and share it with just them. Now the whole team doesn’t have to see when you tell Jimmy, “you need to hustle harder for this ball.” See how easy it is to use filters to view tags from your match.
- Give your players homework. A good first assignment would be for them to find their top five and bottom five moments from a match and save them to a playlist. Then have them share it with the coaching staff so you know they’re studying film.
- Athletes are competitive. That’s not exactly breaking news. But how can you take advantage of that? Turn video review into a competition. Under the Manage Team page, you’re able to see how many minutes of video each player has watched in the last seven days. Recognize the player who watched the most video each week and you might just see those numbers go up.
- Hold virtual office hours for your athletes. A couple hours each week when they know you’re available by phone, email, text or Hudl messaging for any questions they have about what they’re reviewing from the last match. These kinds of one-on-one interactions can help strengthen relationships because it gives your athletes a chance to ask questions privately (with no judgment from their peers).
Promote your team with highlights
Remember how we talked about your motivation back in the first tactic? Good—time to reference it. If you want to use Hudl to market your club or to celebrate your team’s best moments, listen up.
Here comes your game plan for highlights—how often you’ll create them, who will create them, where will they be shared, and what they should include.
- Set a realistic expectation for how often coaches should be creating team highlights. For the younger teams, the number might be a little lower. On the other hand, you might use highlights from your older teams to promote your club and recruit new athletes. Either way, set expectations. It’s the surefire way to get everyone on the same page.
- Need inspiration for what content to include in your team highlights? Create weekend recaps after tournaments of some of your team’s best moments. Or create a highlight reel each month nominating athletes for having the most hustle, smart shots, best ball control, rock solid defense, best passing, etc. Throw some title slides and spot shadows in and you have a solid showcase to celebrate your team’s successes and recognize individuals.
- Once you have your highlights created, don’t forget to share them on social media so family, friends and recruiters can stay up to date on your team’s progress.
- Grab a sponsor from the community and showcase your team’s highlights on their website. This is a great way to build a relationship with other businesses in your area, and it’ll give your club a boost (maybe even financially). We’ve made it really easy—just embed your highlight reel on their website.
Want the full rundown on highlights? Check out our highlights and recruiting course in Hudl Academy. You’ll learn the different ways to find top moments (spoiler alert: they’re super easy to locate with stats) and save them as highlights.
Highlight your players' best moments
If you coach an older club team, chances are pretty good that you have more than one player with high hopes of playing in college. So let’s say you’ve already beefed up your tournament schedule for the season to give them a better chance of getting noticed by college recruiters.
But it’s a crowded field. College coaches have packed schedules and simply can’t watch every player at a tournament. If an athlete hopes to get on their radar, he or she must be able to grab the coach’s attention before a tournament and make them want to see more in person. An email alone won’t be able to do that. But an email with a linked highlight? Now we’re talking.
Even if you coach U14 and have players who just want to send their best plays from the season to their grandma, you’ll probably need to know how it all works so you can teach your team. Good thing it’s super easy! Here’s your game plan.
- Help your players understand that highlights can help them reach their goals. Start early and start often. On the plus side, it’s basically the same process as team highlights, so you probably already know the gist. But these moments and reels will live on the individual athlete’s profile, not under your team profile. See what we mean.
- Teach them how to use tags to find their best moments, or give them a hand and save a few highlights as you review video.
- If your athletes are having trouble handling the highlights themselves, just send them this tutorial or host a highlight night where everyone can come together to bang a few out. That way coaches can be around to answer Hudl questions, or help identify key moments from a season or match.
Want to learn more about the recruiting process from a former Division I soccer coach? Check out our online class, the Inside Scoop on Recruiting. Bryan Amos covers it all, from the research every prospect should do to the importance of eye-catching highlights.
Set data-driven goals to track your team's progress
What are your team’s goals? Every coach in the country could probably answer this question. But we bet the answers would be really different. Some closely track specific initiatives and put a high value on success. Others set lofty expectations at a preseason team meeting and rarely reference them again. So why does every team spend (at least a little) time on goals?
Because goals are powerful. Challenging yet attainable objectives can help everyone level up and stay on the same page throughout the season. When you’re all working towards the same purpose, there’s a better chance you’ll succeed.
But where to begin? How can you figure out what your goals should be? That’s where we come in. We’ll guide you through the whole process—it all starts with stats. When your goals are based off performance data, you can easily spot strong points or inefficiencies within the team. Here’s your game plan.
- The first step is to sit down with other coaches on your team and honestly assess your team’s strengths and weaknesses, so you can set aggressive, but reachable goals. Choose a few questions from the list below to discuss. Then, write down key takeaways on our team strategy worksheet.
What does our team already do well?
What can our team learn to do well?
Where does our team struggle?
How are we going to win matches?
What might cause us to lose?
- Now that you’re (hopefully) all on the same page about your team’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to decide which stats will help lead your team to success this season. Have every coach list the five stats they want to use to motivate the team on a piece of paper. There are tons of stats to choose from. Possession percentage, saved shots, goals—we could go on. You’ll have to decide what’s most important. Then, discuss them all as a coaching staff to narrow it down to just the 3-5 key stats you’ll base your goals on.
- Now bring your athletes to the table. Introduce them to your key stats for the season and explain why your staff chose them. Have each athlete set a percentage or numerical goal they think is appropriate for each of your team’s key stats. They can use sticky notes or a notes app on their phone. Wherever kids write things these days, that’ll work. Then open up the floor. Let the captains of your team lead the group in a discussion to collaborate and come to a decision on the final numerical goal for each stat.
- You have your team’s goals figured out, but you need to make sure everyone really has them down. Break your athletes into groups of 2-3 and give them ten minutes to come up with short, catchy phrases they can use to remember your team goals.
- Tracking your progress is going to be super easy with our goals report. If you set a goal to have more than 40 goals this season, or a shooting percentage greater than 50%, this report will show you exactly how well your players crush it throughout the season. All you have to do is make your stats are added for each match—we’ll take care of the rest.