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Technology on the Gridiron
Nov 28, 2012 4:30 pm
For players and coaches alike, preparing for an upcoming football game can be a daunting, time-consuming task.
Friendship Christian coaches started providing technology to streamline the preparation process this year, and the effort, in part, has translated in the Commanders’ repeat appearance in the state championship game Saturday at 11 a.m. against Adamsville at Tennessee Tech.
Friendship head football coach John McNeal admits his coaching staff previously relied on old-school coaching methods. But the discovery of an Apple-based app called Hudl, combined with all students on campus equipped with iPads, led to a more advanced style of preparation that goes far beyond players huddled around the field house watching game film.
“To be honest, we are a little behind with the technology,” McNeal said. “This all started in the playoffs last year when we spent a lot of travel swapping tapes on Saturdays with coaches in the eastern part of the state.”
Instead of driving sometimes hours to track down game films, McNeal said the Hudl app allows for uploads and downloads anywhere. And with students in their second year at Friendship working with iPads, players can access the films anywhere.
“They have it at their disposal,” McNeal said. “They also have other teams’ tapes. It really makes it beneficial.
“Film work always takes a lot of time, and it still takes time. But we can tell them to watch certain clips, and it does cut down on time.
“We were behind, so we had to catch up. It took last year to really see how far we are behind. With the iPads, we have been able to catch up and maybe a little ahead of some teams. It makes it more convenient for players and coaches to be able to watch what they need to watch anytime, anywhere.”
Senior strong safety and receiver Cale Mitchell said the new process allows for players to do their prep work more quickly and conveniently.
“It’s a lot easier than having a meeting with the coaches,” Mitchell said. “We can just sit at home and watch what we need to watch.
“Before we had the Hudl, we used to have meetings before practice. Now, we pretty much know what’s going on before our Monday practice. It makes it easier to key on certain things. I pretty much know where I’m going to line up by the offense they are going to run.”
Friendship headmaster Jon Shoulders said the iPad project is part of the One to One initiative from Apple. He’s seeing a difference in both the classroom and on the football field. The Hudl program will also be used during basketball season this year.
“Technology has changed the game because our players have the information readily available,” Shoulders said. “These students not only use the iPads in the classroom, they can also prepare for the game.
“Coaches can send out the top 50 plays and players can review those over the weekend, so when they come into practice on Monday, they will know what they will be preparing for on the field. It allows them to be more efficient on the practice field.”
Both Shoulders and McNeal said a majority of teams across Tennessee are using the Hudl program. But the use of iPads by the students give Friendship players a bit of an advantage.
“Most schools have Hudl for their coaches and are on the Hudl system to exchange films and things like that,” Shoulders said. “But most schools don’t have the technology to push the information to the students.”