The changes coming to Hudl, most notably their plans to change how coaches are able to use their storage capacity, have had coaches in a frenzy over the past week.
The changes have prompted a number of coaches to discuss the changes on social media, and state coaching associations have also joined the ranks of the concerned.
I had the opportunity to speak with the Hudl team leading the changes who were very willing to listen to the concerns of the coaching profession and answer some of the questions that I, and many other coaches have had since the announcement. While a lot of coaches seem to be ok with the price increase, the major sticking point was being asked to pay more while Hudl cuts back on the storage capacity.
As of that conversation last Friday, Hudl had no plans to offer an unlimited storage option to programs.
Since the changes have been announced, a number of coaches have been vocal about exploring other options. To be completely transparent, as the head coach at a small school with a limited budget, I felt like I needed to as well - so I did just that.
Here's a rundown of a few things that I learned during while exploring those other options:
- UNLIMITED - Most of the competition I researched does, in fact, offer unlimited film storage. But the decision to make a switch isn't all that simple...
- COMPETITION - The competition has a long way to go before it catches up to the user-friendliness that Hudl provides football coaches.
- EFFICIENCY - If other teams on your schedule are using Hudl and thats where you're exchanging your film, and you decide to go with another program, you'll still be able to exchange film, BUT you'll now have to download the film - which means it will take those nice and neat individualized clips and splices them together into one really long clip. Some coaches will see that as an advantage to make their opponents have to do now splice those films into individualized clips, but keep in mind that you and your staff will also have to do the same (manually splice all of them to get them individualized) when receiving film from teams on your schedule still using Hudl.
- HIGHLIGHTS - One thing that Hudl did exceptionally well is give players the ability to craft their own highlight videos, and then easily share those with college coaches. That's another are that the competition will have to make leaps and bounds on before becoming true competition.
- BIG GAP - Talking with a few coaches that have went from the major college level to the high school level believe strongly that the services they had in while coaching in college are FAR superior to what Hudl currently provides high school coaches. However, the reality is that they require expensive, and dedicated server space and (largely because of that) their product is out of the financial reach of the majority of high school budgets.
- THE CATCH - There always seems to be a catch with a competitor Whether it's the exchange issue covered above, player highlights, being made primarily for entirely another sport, or a rather large upfront cost plus limited ability for your players to currently access the server to watch film, or the overall simple and effective interface Hudl offers compared to the competition, there's no clear cut choice for upset Hudl customers to go...YET
- IT'S COMING... - I say yet, because there seems to be a few companies in the tech space looking to get into the video and film exchange space. No word on how long it would be before it was ready to come to market, but the wheels are turning with some companies who see a great opportunity to offer an improved product to the high school coaching market. Many of them have already started reaching out to high school coaches for their input on what they're looking for, and unlimited storage seems to be high on all of their lists.
The coming weeks, months, and perhaps years will be interesting to follow as coaches continue to explore the best option for them and their programs, and companies scramble to tweak their current product (or create a new one) to meet the demand for changes that high school coaches are passionate about.
Feel free to reach out and continue the dialogue on this important issue facing our profession with any questions, comments, or concerns to @CoachSamz.
Stay tuned for the latest as this situation continues to play out.