Joanna Chadwick: Video program moves football forward

Published Sep. 8 at 9:25 p.m. | Last updated Sep. 8 at 9:26 p.m.

When Heights football coach Rick Wheeler met with Kyle Deterding in 2008, it was at the behest of Heights principal Bruce Deterding, Wheeler’s boss and Kyle’s dad.

Kyle Deterding was an intern then while attending Nebraska, trying to drum up interest in a new web-based sports program that provides video analysis. Deterding sold Wheeler on becoming a beta partner with Hudl, which has grown exponentially in popularity over the last few years.

Hudl is used by 327 Kansas high schools, 10 NFL teams, 83 Division I football teams, eight NHL teams and one NBA team. Hudl, according to Deterding, a project manager, figures that more than 10,000 high schools across the country will use its program this year.

In an e-mail, Bishop Carroll coach Alan Schuckman wrote that Hudl is a “powerful tool for our program.” A few of the ways he uses it are film exchange, scouting reports, daily video sent to players, recruiting, scouting, player evaluation.

The system is such a time-saver for coaches that Deterding said “a couple coaches have said it saved their marriage because they can go home, spend some time with the kids and wife and when the kids are in bed, they can watch film later instead of staying at school.”

Deterding, who was hired after he graduated in 2009, said when Hudl was first conceived it was to help find a way to assist then-Nebraska coach Bill Callahan’s staff on figuring out a way to deal with some of the frustrations of breaking down practice and game video.

“They had to burn DVDs for every player or require them to come in and watch film,” Deterding said.

But Hudl allows coaches to easily upload their practice and game video.

“It’s one of the best moves we’ve made,” said Conway Springs coach Matt Biehler, who started using Hudl in 2011.

Eisenhower football coach Charlie Nally wrote in an e-mail that his staff uploads video and has game film to the players by 10:30 Friday night – that’s game nights.

Hudl is a huge change from the days of watching 16 millimeter film on projectors. Or from when coaches stacked multiple VCRs to run tape after tape for their players.

About 15 area coaches responded to an e-mail request about Hudl, and all praised it

Northwest coach Steve Martin wrote that “Hudl is one of the greatest things that have happened to coaches…. When I started coaching in 2002, I had to sit around one TV with the coaching staff and look for my part of the breakdown. Game plans would take until Monday night to get installed because we were waiting until Monday to finish all of our work.”

Now, Martin wrote, it takes an hour to get data for multiple games.

Dave Fennewald, in his 21st season with Mulvane, wrote that it’s “very easy for us old-timers to figure out how to operate Hudl.” He added that Mulvane used a different system previously and, “you had to have a doctorate to run the system.”

A favorite aspect is being able to break down practice video with ease.

“After a practice, when you know you did something wrong on one play, you can go back and see and correct your mistakes,” Carroll quarterback Zeke Palmer said.

Position coaches can edit it and then send it to their players, complete with voice overs or telestrations about mistakes and how to correct them.

“We’re all educators,” Wheeler said. “Some learn by doing, some learn by writing, some learn by watching. It gives more opportunity to coach kids with different learning styles, and take care of the coaches’ needs.”

Biehler added: “More kids have watched film because of the opportunity to have it up there (on Hudl.) We used it all through the summer. It’s a valuable tool.”

The players can access the video with a password on their computer, Smart phone or ipad. Players can also edit the video to make a highlight DVD that can be sent to colleges.

Buhler coach Steve Warner wrote in an e-mail that he no longer has to burn 50 DVDs for players, and Hudl keeps track of which players are watching and how often.

Another favorite is the ability to share game video with opposing teams, without the early Saturday morning drives to meet halfway with the next opponent and exchange game video.

“Area McDonald’s were like a coaching convention from 6:30 a.m.-8 a.m. every Saturday,” he wrote. “You could see a half-dozen coaches at McDonald’s all over town.”

Not anymore. Now coaches can sleep in on Saturday mornings.

Check Joanna Chadwick’s VarsityKansas.com blog at blogs.varsitykansas.com. Reach her at 316-268-6270 or jchadwick@wichitaeagle.com

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