Pentagon adds pro-quality highlight reels for athletes

Hudl video partnership offers streaming, coaching, recruiting benefits amid pandemic and beyond

Three sizes of screens display sports video and stats from the Hudl program.

The Sanford Pentagon is now partnering with Hudl, a leading performance analysis company that provides video of sporting events to players, coaches and fans.

More specifically, the Pentagon uses Hudl to deliver high-quality video with easy access.

It is the first time in this country a multi-sport facility has been able to use Hudl Focus cameras and offer Hudl services to its basketball and volleyball teams.

By partnering with this global leader in performance analysis, the Sanford Pentagon is offering access to an expansive array of coaching aids that has become a more and more popular choice for teams and coaches wanting to get better. Hudl works with more than 180,000 teams in more than 40 sports, from youth clubs to more than 2,600 NCAA Division I and professional teams.

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While those are impressive numbers, the most important aspect of this partnership is how it helps athletes, coaches and families on a local level.

“Where it’s going to benefit us the most is as a development tool for the things we do in practice and in individual training sessions,” said Mark McCloskey, club director of volleyball at the Sanford Pentagon. “We can go back and review and show kids the things we’re talking about — we’re able to help them develop individually and as a team.”

Breaking it down with Hudl

Let’s say you’re a volleyball player and accustomed to reviewing matches recorded with a hand-held smartphone. Now you’re competing in a match streamed live and captured by automated Hudl Focus cameras at the Pentagon.

And once the match is over and the video is sent to Hudl Assist, analysts deliver advanced team and individual stats within 24 hours. Players will be able to review their own performance more easily with every data point tied to the moment it happened in the match film.

Or, let’s say a basketball team has just completed a tournament. Coaches want to make sure the next practice includes a review of how things went. With Hudl, assembling key points for players — and showing  them specific examples — is much easier.

“We can break things down and say, ‘Hey, this is what we did really well.’ And then, ‘Here’s a few things that didn’t work so well,’” said Taylor Fechner, who serves as basketball team coordinator at the Pentagon. “Hudl breaks that all down for us. It’s just so fine-tuned. The capabilities are endless.”

In addition, Sanford serves as a testing and development partner for Hudl. As the organization continues to revolutionize the use of video capture in sports, Sanford and Hudl will meet regularly to identify opportunities and improvements.

“The Sanford Pentagon is a world-class facility, which is making it easier for teams to develop and fans to stay connected with the action,” said Greg Nelson, Hudl’s vice president of competitive sports. “Our mission is to make every moment matter and through the power of video capture and analysis, athletes are able to compete, improve and get recruited. We are excited to share this vision with Sanford and build our partnership to impact athletes from all over the upper Midwest.”

For the visual learners

In a way, video gets to the essence of coaching and learning.

“Some kids know what you’re going to tell them before you say it, and other kids you can explain something a million times and they’re still not going to get it,” McCloskey said. “That same kid might see it on video once and know exactly what we’re talking about. It’s another option we have now to make kids better.”

Hudl’s versatility is one of its strengths. It helps coaches working with players and can also help those who are recruiting them.

“A lot of videos people post online are just Mom or Dad recording the game and posting it,” Fechner said. “You’re not getting the entire floor and a lot of times you’re looking at it from ground level so you can’t see exactly what is going on all the time. In that way, Hudl has been a huge advantage.”

During the pandemic, conventional viewing of sporting events has changed considerably. Quality video has become increasingly vital. For fans, seeing an event can be a click away. For coaches, assembling pertinent video of their own team — a task that can involve entire video teams at the NBA level — is both detailed and convenient with Hudl.

“It’s a great way for us to have a quality camera with a quality picture where you can see everything,” Fechner said. “And it all goes to one big database. From there, you can send full game clips or cut them up for highlight tapes, or you can send whatever you need to your coaches.”

Making the most of Hudl

The same level of quality and convenience is at work when college coaches are looking for opportunities to review the efforts of athletes they’re interested in recruiting. Access to athletes the last two seasons has been severely limited. Hudl’s presence at the Pentagon has presented these coaches with workable options.

“We have a lot of kids who have not been able to play in front of a lot of college coaches the last two seasons,” Fechner said. “Kids can make clips off those videos and get them sent out. It’s a huge plus. And obviously, the way we’ve had to limit fans at games, Hudl’s streaming service has been very valuable to us. Everybody can see them now.”

The benefits of having access to new technology will continue to increase, both for coaches and for athletes. It’s a process the coordinators hope leads to better performance.

“We want to make sure we’re maximizing it,” McCloskey said. “When we started with it I was anxious to use it for skill development. When you can put something on a phone or a computer it can sometimes be a better way than just having an old guy teaching volleyball. It’s going to be super helpful to us in a lot of ways.”

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Posted In Basketball, Company News, Sioux Falls, Sports Medicine

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