Coaches, teams use new app Hudl to contact each other, practice

Luke Gentile, Reporter

It’s not abnormal to see Drew Kibler, varsity swimmer and junior, looking at his phone throughout the day. Yet, instead of texting friends or playing games, Kibler watches films of his last swim.

“We use video recordings of different aspects of our swimming such as the start, swimming and the actual stroke.” Kibler said.

Recently, Hudl, a company providing tools for teams to improve through game footage and communication, put its technology in the app store. Now, high school athletes all over the nation, like the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are downloading the tool on their smartphones.

“I think what’s really great about the technology is the instant feedback that we are not only able to get as coaches, but also provide to athletes. I have access to all my swimmer’s times they have ever swum at my fingertips,” Conner Bradley, men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams’ assistant coach, said. “I’m able to record athletes and then turn around and show them what they were doing. With swimming being such a technique-driven sport, it’s nice for them to get that instant feedback and see what they’re doing.”

Athletes on the football team are also using the app, and Austin Newland, varsity captain and senior, said he sees the benefits. The technology tracks opponent tendencies and gives data about the likeliness of an opponent making a certain play.

“It just gives you an idea, when you’re on the field, of what (the opponent) will be doing. It lets you think one step ahead, so you can be prepared for whatever is going to happen,” Newland said.

Newland said he believes pregame knowledge makes the difference between winning and losing, and he credits the sports technology of Hudl for a great deal of this information. According to Newland, this foresight allows him to make decisions comfortably in difficult situations.

While sports technology can allow one to watch individual play more closely and without interruption, both Newland and Kibler said there is still plenty to learn in traditional classroom whiteboard sessions.screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-7-48-35-am

Kibler said, “I like the combination of drawing a diagram on the whiteboard and seeing how we do it ourselves on the video playback. Then, using the app, we can draw on ourselves.”

Bradley said a successful combination of both forms of preparation leads to success, but he said he leans toward Hudl with its immediate access to information.

He said, “I think both of them have their place, but I think the coolest thing about the technology now is the instant feedback. I can show a swimmer how they were swimming 30 seconds prior to that. Also, with the frame-by-frame we can pause at any time and show them specifically what they are doing, what’s working for them, and what’s not working for them. Having that instantaneously or being able to send that to the athletes and have them be able to review it has been a really great tool for us.”

Many athletes said they see Hudl as a tool to better prepare themselves and their teams. It is an updated way of scouting one’s opponent, and CHS athletes are using the technology to its full effect.

Kibler said, “I have videos from when I first started swimming here at CHS, when I first started using the app. I can compare then to now. It’s easy to see the improvements, and I feel the technology is helping us get better every practice.”