A little over a year ago, I began looking for a way for the Seamen to better use game and practice film. I wasn’t interested in anything like Youtube or a DVD duplicator that would allow just for quick distribution of film,
I wanted something more that was more similar to the tools used by High School, College and Pro football teams for film study. Specifically, my requirements were that it had to be able to mark up video (like a telestrator), was easily accessible and easily used. Those seemed to be pretty simple requirements but a few hours of searching had me confused with all the different tools, options, hardware and services available. I could have bought a nice used hard drive unit, with a keyboard/mouse/laser pointer that could hook up to a projector for about $200, and I almost did until I started trying to envision when it would be used. After practice? Maybe before or once a week in a special session? That just didn’t make sense and it’s tough enough getting everyone to every team gathering. I also didn’t like the idea of having to buy or find a projector to use for every film session and being able to only show the video once.
Enter Hudl.com I don’t recall how I stumbled onto the service but I was immediately struck by all the features and tools they offered. It’s also tough not to notice that the service is used by major Pro (Jets) and college teams (Nebraska). I also couldn’t help but notice the price tags, except for a Youth package, were way out of our league. So I emailed and asked if we, a mostly broke Ultimate program at a mid-sized university, could use the Youth package. They said yes and within a few days, I had our account setup, the first videos uploaded and all the team members with accounts. Feedback was immediate and for once, all the Seamen could watch all the video they wanted, whenever they wanted. On top of that, the editing tools allowed me and Coach Beatty to telestrate over the play and point out whatever we wanted. Since then, we’ve used the service with any and all video we get and also look for opportunities to film other teams for scouting purposes.
So what’s the payoff in all this? For starters, it makes coaching a lot easier. If we notice tendencies in players that we need to review, it’s a lot easier to say look at point 3, 4, and 7 from the quarters of Sectionals than it is to correct out on the practice field. For a lot of players, seeing film is a better way for them to learn. It’s also a great tool to use in preparing for other teams. I can already think of one game this year that we won handily where we had film of a previous encounter with the team (that didn’t go so well). Last, there’s no need to setup a time or place to watch film or wait for a DVD to circulate. Once video is uploaded, it can be watched by whomever, whenever and for as many times as they like. I particularly like looking at the view times on a player basis to figure out who’s putting in their homework. That typically pays off on the field.
There are also features that we don’t really take advantage of. The biggest that I’d like to see is use is the
ability to trade film with other programs. Seeing that we’re the only Ultimate team in the world using Hudl.com, the feature to send film and/or comments to a team can’t really be used. We also don’t have the manpower and time to take advantage of the stats software. If we did record stats across all our video, it would be easy to pull up and search situational footage like every 2nd half goal line possession or every assist thrown by player X. I imagine football programs have interns and grad students to put in this kind of effort and maybe one day we’ll figure it out but for now, that’s just too much work.
If your team is interested in the Hudl, drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’ll do my best to convince you it’s a much better way to use your footage than dumping it all on Youtube. I can also hook you up with a coupon that will get you a discount on that $250 Youth package. If you’ve got a team of 25, that breaks down to less than $10 a player for a year of watching footage online, anytime they want. It’s quite a deal and I can’t recommend it highly enough.