By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
Perhaps no company has changed the way coaches prepare for games in the last 10 years more than Hudl. The software has allowed coaches to watch and share game tape on devices.
Created by three graduates of the University of Nebraska business school, Hudl is built around digital video playback: Coaches upload game films captured through the app or on a camera, and then Hudl makes the video available to anyone with viewing permissions, from training staff to players to scouts and recruiters.
Coaches can flag sections of the video, inserting notes, scribbles, or audio commentary for their players. They can also use those clips to create digital playbooks for the team. Athletes can study plays, edit and share highlight reels, and send their coaches clips to analyze.
Dirk Wedd, 65, has been a part of the coaching staff at Lawrence High (Kan.) for five state championship teams. He’s constantly trying to find ways to relate to younger players.
“I’m about as high-tech as the Pony Express,” Wedd said. “Kids today love seeing themselves – whether it’s pictures or video – immediately. That’s where they’re coming from.”
Wedd purchased software from Hudl that allows his coaches and players to view video on the sidelines.
“It was important for us to do whatever it took to get a bunch of young kids to develop at a faster rate,” Wedd said.
If a whiteboard and erasable marker were the primary tools of the trade for previous generations of coaches, Hudl is fast becoming the 21st-century analogue. More than 100,000 sports outfits around the world currently rely on the software, paying annual subscription fees from $99 (for club teams) to as much as $50,000 (for pros).
Introducing the Hudl Products
Hudl Technique is a free stand-alone app based on Ubersense code. It lets athletes see the velocity of a quarterback’s pass or a kick returner’s speed in the open field. Coaches can also use it to correct the form of a tackle.
Hudl Combine, an app that is the product of a new partnership with Nike, lets players upload stats from the 40-yard dash and other football combine events and share them with potential recruiters.
Hudl Sideline provides a live-playback feature. Coaches can connect up to five devices to Sideline, and share and annotate clips in real time. You can call a time-out, bring up the relevant clip on your iPad, and point out the opening.
The 2017 Football Trends Report is the product of a partnership between Hudl and X&O Labs. X&O Labs used Hudl to create detailed breakdowns based on formation type, play design, strategy and more. This report will look at the five most trending topics that X&O Labs uncovered during the 2016 season and how they will affect the game moving forward.
Hudl recently raised $30 million to bring cutting-edge sports analytics to teams around the world. Hudl’s team of investors included Accel, Jeff and Tricia Raikes, and Nelnet.
Hudl plans to use the funds to pair innovations in machine learning and computer vision with its in-house group of professional analysts, providing teams around the world quicker access to the insights they need for training and game preparation.
Effectively using sports analytics takes a lot of work – both to collect the necessary data and to analyze the information to gain meaningful insights. The analytics will empower teams at every level, from grassroots to the most elite professional organizations, with tools that allow them to gather insights as efficiently as possible.
Helping teams learn from video and stats by combining the two for a more in-depth film study experience has always been integral to Hudl’s mission of capturing and bringing value to every moment in sports.
“We see huge opportunities in the U.S. and abroad and will continue to grow our team globally to bring our products to new markets,” said Matt Mueller, COO of Hudl.
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