Coaching responsibilities aren’t finished Friday night when the final horn sounds at a high school football game.
Coaches long have used the weekends to secure and evaluate opponents’ game films. In previous seasons, the process was tedious, time-consuming and monotonous. Assistant coaches would make contact with the upcoming opponent’s assistants, agree to meet somewhere to exchange footage of previous games, drive to and from the meeting place, then sit down for hours cutting up the footage for play-by-play analysis.
“I’ve probably lost five years of my life trading and cutting up game film,” Thomson assistant coach Chad Simmons said.
Technology has finally caught up with area high school football, yielding a more efficient and less expensive way to prepare for Friday nights.
Hudl, a cloud-based software, is the tool of choice for many programs in the Augusta area. The program allows coaches to upload game footage then share it with anyone – including players, other high school teams and college coaches – with the click of a mouse.
Several coaches said the initial cost – $3,000 annually for the most premium package – is a bargain compared with the costly Saturday morning road trips to trade game tapes that used to take up time and gas money.
Evans coach Marty Jackson said every team in Region 2-AAAAA – including Evans, Greenbrier, Lakeside and Grovetown – uses the software.
“It’s all online. It’s the best thing since sliced bread for us,” Jackson said. “We’ve been through reel-to-reel, VHS, DVDs, closets full of them. Now we don’t need any of that. I’d say 90 percent of teams in Georgia are on it.”
The program gives administrative privileges to coaches that allow them to set up individual player accounts. The players can watch scout videos of their upcoming opponents from any computer or smart phone with an Internet connection, and coaches can monitor who watches what and for how long.
“It tells me how many minutes my quarterback has watched,” said Richmond Academy coach Chris Hughes, whose program is using the software for the first time this season. “And I can sit at home on my laptop and watch it. Anytime I have free time, I can get on there and watch it throughout the day.”
Individual players can also use the clips to create personalized highlight videos. They can then send the link to a college coach, who doesn’t even have to have an account with Hudl to view the video.
The technology is not brand new. For years, NFL and major college teams have been using the software, which comes from Nebraska-based Agile Sports Technologies. Similar versions are also available for many other high school sports, including basketball, baseball and soccer.