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Mitchell athletic teams taking advantage of Hudl

Watching game film has been a part of football for years.

In earlier days of film watching, college and professional teams viewed film on projectors, VCRs and later DVD players.

But today, the Mitchell Kernels use the web. More specifically, they use Hudl, an online video analysis software.

"Hudl is a very handy tool as far game film, scouting and trying to improve as a football team," Mitchell football coach Kent VanOverschelde said. "The technology has made it very efficient and more available."

The game is taped and downloaded onto the computer, where it is uploaded to the Hudl server. This allows the Kernels and other teams to view each others' games throughout the year. The Kernels began using the system three years ago.

The company, based out of Lincoln, Neb., was founded in 2006 and has since become a tool used by high schools, colleges and professional sports teams. Coaches can use the system to view and breakdown game tape, while athletes can use it to create highlight reels and recruiters can use it to find potential athletes.

In addition to Mitchell football, the Kernels volleyball, wrestling and both basketball teams use Hudl. Users must have a license to use the site, which allows teams to store their games on the server. The price for the license varies depending on the amount of teams that will use the site. This year the Mitchell Athletic Booster Club paid for the license, which VanOverschelde said is close to $3,400.

"All of our activities have access to Hudl," said VanOverschelde, who is in his seventh year as head coach. "Every team we play at the double-A level has access to it. It seems to be universally used in the state because it is not only cost effective but it is also efficient. It is a very efficient way to scout and do game study.

"I think Hudl as far as a program has revolutionized the industry. I know there are some other programs out there, but Hudl seems to really be the one."

The Kernels do film study as a team in groups. Quarterback and receivers view film together and the offensive and defensive lines watch film in a group on Mondays. Defense watches film at different times throughout the week.

Prior to using Hudl, the football team used Digital Sports Video, a company which has since been purchased by Hudl, since 2008.

Back when VanOverschelde was a member of the Kernels varsity team in 1986 and 1987, Mitchell used VHS to break down game film.

He added that people had to meet to get game film and days were spent burning the games onto DVDs to give to the coaches and players.

"During my coaching time, things have progressed from VHS to DVD to video editing online, VanOverschelde said. "The original program we purchased was very expensive and you had software and hardware but the technology just wasn't there," VanOverschelde said. "The iPads and iPhones have made things much easier. The kids can look at the film on the iPad if they want."

"This also gives me a lot more time on the weekends to be more efficient," VanOverschelde said. "I have a lot more time to spend with my family and attend a college football games. It is a nice tool that has helped the game of football."