Hudl: Sports Analytics to Boost Performance

David Graff, CEO As the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers— volleyball team representing the University of Nebraska, John Cook has kept the team at the top of the college volleyball rankings for much of the last 18 years through the ability to alter his teaching style to connect with players. He has realized that the generation Y athletes spend most of their time staring at a screen, making them visual learners. In fact, athletic psychologists have also proven that the video restores human brain's ability to recall specific situations in sports. This helps address the situation where athletes and coaches remember things differently from how they actually transpired during the play due to stress, biases, and pressure psychological factors. These are the factors drove Cook to look for visual stimuli to communicate efficiently with his players, and Hudl proved to be the perfect answer. With Hudl’s system, Cook can break down the details of a match video to pull out useful information about the team performance. Leveraging analytics, Cook gets insights into each player’s good and bad plays to get them above the baseline. He can also leave comments and drawings on the video to point out specific actions and share it with the players. This way Cook can create a game plan with his team to be successful and score against competitors.

"Helping teams learn from video and stats by combining the two for a more in-depth film study experience has always been integral to our mission"

Similarly, Hudl has been instrumental in taking the coaching and scouting of various sports teams to the next level through its revolutionary software that helps coaches and athletes to analyze video, create highlights, track performance and manage feedback. Hudl brings high-level insights and teaching tools to teams at any level. Founded in 2006, the company provides more than 4.3 million coaches, athletes, trainers and analysts across 30 sports with the insight they need to win at every level of competition. “From day one, we’ve built Hudl to meet the massive demand for a platform that makes it simple to record, share and analyze video,” says David Graff, CEO of Hudl.

Tracing back to the company’s inception, Graff was determined to introduce a digital replacement for the manual exchanging of game tapes that coaches use to keep tabs on the competition.


From day one, we’ve built Hudl to meet the massive demand for a platform that makes it simple to record, share and analyze video


“And once you got the tape, there was so much data and so many plays to break down and no easy way to do it. We set out to change that.” Graff seeded the idea for video analytics software for sports and set out with his co-founders John Wirtz and Brian Kaiser to bootstrap Hudl to democratize the tech revolution in sports. Hudl is not just making coaching easier; it is constantly changing the way sports organizations operate in the ever-evolving technological landscape. Today, it has clients spanning some of the world’s most elite international organizations, including FC Barcelona, NFL teams to colleges, high school, and club teams in the U.S.

Performance Analysis Made Easy

Sports teams and coaches can record their games or practice sessions with their devices and upload it to the Hudl software. They can also upload video while recording using Wi-Fi to analyze it within minutes. Once the video is uploaded, the entire team can access and review the video from any device on the go. They can then start breaking down the video and track statistics through the Hudl app. The team can also send the video to Hudl’s professional analysts through Hudl Assist to provide team and player performance analysis for both the teams within 24 hours. As an add-on to the Hudl subscription, Assist provides auto-generated playlists with the ability to dig deeper into stats. After the breakdown of the video, users can gain insights into hidden trends through reports and charts to prepare for the next match.Interestingly, every stat is linked to the video making it easy for users to find the most important moments of the team. Users can create custom playlists based on their stats for the entire team, individuals or custom groups. This way all the players are on the same page as the coach. Also, the platform allows users to pull together important clips to point out improvement areas.

Hudl enables coaches to share videos, complemented with comments, to players showing positive plays to boost confidence or areas to be concentrated on for the next training. By actually showing them areas to work on, Hudl empowers players to grasp concepts or techniques rapidly.
The platform also offers a highlight tool that allows coaches and players to showcase their best moments to fans or recruiters through social media channels. “There are numerous players who have got big offers to play at top schools just by listing their Hudl link on their twitter profiles.” What’s more, Hudl’s communication tools enable coaches and athletes to stay connected.

Along with Hudl assist, the company offers two more add-ons. Hudl Sideline, a wireless in-game replay solution, allows users to make in-game adjustments rapidly by instantly watching previous plays on iPads or iPhones. On the other hand, Hudl Technique allows individuals to record their game and review it in slow motion to break down their techniques with drawing tools along with side by side comparisons.

Specialized Solutions, Powered by Hudl

Hudl has strengthened its product portfolio with acquisitions of Sportstec, a provider of coaching applications and professional services and VolleyMetrics, a leader in volleyball analytics and video exchange. Powered by Hudl, Sportstec’s robust performance analysis platform Sportscode is an elite platform that allows teams to create coding windows to provide a simple and understandable workflow for a complex game analysis. The solution provides the live feed to coaches or team analysts to review performances live and make in-game decisions or change strategies in real time. Customizing the coding window allows the coaches, staff, and players to get the information required according to their roles. Besides, Sportscode streamlines importing and converting video to standard settings optimized for playback. The process of importing video to Sportscode is faster than the legacy methods to ensure consistent performance and smoother scrubbing. On the other hand, joining forces with VolleyMetrics has given Hudl the competitive edge in volleyball analysis. The combined forces provide volleyball teams the required tools to improve and get noticed. The VolleyMetrics solution powered by Hudl brings elite volleyball knowledge and video breakdown analysis to help teams at high school, club, collegiate and pro levels gather complete information about their game and plan winning strategies.

The company is constantly touching new peaks under the leadership of Graff. Staying true to its mission of capturing and bringing value to every moment in sports to improve coaching, performance analysis and recruiting, Hudl is investing heavily in machine learning and computer vision for quicker access to insights for training and game preparation. “Helping teams learn from video and stats by combining the two for a more in-depth film study experience has always been integral to our mission,” says Graff.

Company
Hudl

Headquarters
Lincoln, NE

Management
David Graff, CEO

Description
Provides revolutionary softwares to coaches and atheletes to prepare for and stay ahead of the competition, and recruiters to find talent