Friday, February 18, 2011

iPad & Hudl = Game-Changer

The way coaches and athletes watch film has gone through many evolutions over time. From 8 mm film, VHS tape, mini-DV cassettes to DVDs, film has become more convenient and easier to manipulate. This week, Hudl released a new app for the iPad that will allow you to watch game film in literally the palm of your hand.

This app is a game-changer.

If you are unfamiliar with Hudl, then you should quickly acquaint yourself with it. Hudl is an entirely web-based sports video editing and analysis software. Instead of storing your video on mini-DV tapes, DVDs, or your computer's hard drive, Hudl allows you to upload your video to their servers (think YouTube), where you can view it from any computer with an internet connection.

Since Hudl began three years ago with only a handful of teams, it has quickly emerged as an innovator in sports video analysis and editing. They have been consistently ahead of the game compared to their competitors, releasing new developments that the other guys haven't even started thinking about yet.

This app will revolutionize the way coaches and athletes prepare for competition by making it faster, easier and more efficient to watch game film. I can see so many applications and uses for this app, it makes the iPad a necessary investment for any high school sports team who uses Hudl.

Here is a video demonstration of the app:

After testing out the app for several days, here are my first impressions:


1. The video quality

As you can see from the video above, the video quality is excellent. I have also had zero problems with buffering or waiting for the video to load. I have been testing it out on a Wi-Fi connection, but I may need to invest in 3G on my iPad so I can watch video where Wi-Fi is not available.

I would dare to say that the video on the iPad is better than through the website.

Imagine being able to take your iPad out to the practice field and showing your scout offense the actual play on video, rather than drawn up on a card.

2. Simplicity

If you know how to play a YouTube video, you will be able to run the Hudl app. Similar to their website, there are very few buttons or options to choose from. This is obviously by design to help with the ease of use for coaches and athletes. You can download this app, log-in, and begin watching game film in literally less than a minute.

There are very few options to choose from, and that is OK. 

A thing of the past
3. Smoothness of the video

Watching film in the app is very smooth, almost easier than through the website. With only your finger sliding back and forth, you can rewind or fast forward the film. This has obviously been designed with coaches in mind. It makes the old cowboy remote obsolete.

4. Mobility

I can't count how many hours over the years I have spent setting up clunky projectors, laptops, and running extension cords. I carried around a huge bag with all of these cords and parts in it. With the iPad, you can carry something the size of a folder to your meetings, practices, and clinics. It makes the ability to watch film so much easier and more convenient. A huge time-saver.

Suggested Additions:

While this app is already very powerful, there are some features that I believe would be beneficial to coaches. However, I am not sure of the logistics of incorporating them in the app.

1. Telestrations

One of the most powerful features of the web-based version of Hudl is the ability to telestrate on top of the video and share your drawings with your team. On the iPad, you do not have any of your saved telestrations or the ability to telestrate. It is purely video.

One of the greatest benefits of the iPad is that you can manipulate what is on the screen with a touch of a finger. Imagine pulling up a video and being able to draw lines to explain a blocking scheme or route concept to your players.

2. Presentations

I also really like the presentation feature on Hudl, where you can create online presentations very similar to PowerPoint. I have used this feature a great deal to create scouting reports and video playbooks. These presentations are not accessible on the iPad.

Even if we can't create the presentations in the iPad Hudl app, it would be nice to be able to view them anywhere you take your iPad.

Bottom Line

This app is truly a game-changer for coaches and video analysis software. There are so many benefits to making your video mobile, without having to haul around a projector and laptop when you want to watch film. In seconds, you can show your players practice film from last night or a defensive scheme that you talked about during practice. I am excited to see how Hudl expands into other mobile markets (iPhone, Android) so more and more coaches can access their game film from literally anywhere.


  1. Coach Allam - love that you are digging the app. Great feedback on where to take it...we are going to be making some enhancements in the coming months that will make it an even more powerful thanks to feedback like this. You are right on point with your line that it is okay to have a concise set of features - especially on a platform like the iPad.

  2. Reading this and looking at the video really makes me want to buy and iPad so I can use Hudl this way :-)

    Don't count out the cowboy remote just yet - being able to sit and watch film back and forward with out having to take your eyes off the screen or put your hand/fingers in the way.

  3. John - Love the app! Keep up the good work.

    pgc - I agree with you. However, it is pretty cool to interact with the video on your iPad in this way. I'm not sure if you can hook up the iPad to a projector wirelessly, but that would make the iPad your "remote" and laptop all in one.

  4. Coach Allam - Love the post and everything that you mentioned above has serious potential to move to the next release (lets hope). After checking out your blog I feel like we have alot in common and I look forward to the next post.

    John - You are still the man