New Technology Documents — and Analyzes — Every Play

A video recording from the Suffolk County Class C final between Pierson and Mattituck can be broken down and analyzed by players and coaches through the Hudl program. Michael Heller photo

In the past, coaches preparing for a playoff game might have to travel long distances to scout their next opponent. Now they can do so from the comfort of their own living room.

Players hoping to secure collegiate athletic scholarships used to rely on mom and dad taking video from their iPhones. Now a complete highlight reel can be available and sent to the student’s own phone minutes after every game.

With new technology comes more powerful ways to analyze and track performances and create ways to highlight success. And that technology has arrived at Pierson.

“You want to see every three-pointer a player shot in a game? Hudl will break that down and send it right to his phone,” said Eric Bramoff, athletic director for the Sag Harbor School District. “It’s so in-depth it can be overwhelming. It’s more facts than we would ever need. But it’s great.”

Hudl, the program Bramoff referenced, is relatively simple and does not require expensive equipment or professional technicians. Coaches and players set up an iPad to record every game and the video is uploaded on the program’s software to be analyzed. Automated written reports are sent digitally back to the coach, allowing them to build a more effective game plan. Players can watch the video and study their own performances, with feedback from their coaches, and adjust accordingly.

The program was used for the first time this fall by the Pierson girls volleyball team and its head coach, Donna Fischer. Bramoff said the team used the program to study repeat opponents and adjust their game plans to style of play or formations that worked best.

“We now have a record for all statistical breakdowns, Sam’s hitting percentage, Sofia’s serve percentage for the entire season,” Bramoff said, referencing two of the team’s best players in Sam Cox and Sofia Mancino. “Donna did an excellent job of being the first coach to dig into it.”

“It was very helpful,” Fischer said. “I learned about it two years ago at a volleyball coach’s conference. They had it all set up and they gave me the opportunity to sit and watch. I kept begging for it and I can’t believe we actually got it this year.”

Fischer said she would use the video both in teaching moments and as a way to build confidence in her players by using particularly impressive highlight reels.

“After the game you can go back and watch the video and you can pick and choose and send your team members highlights with little notes that say, ‘Great job with that outside hit’ or ‘Hey, I see you missed your block and your timing is off.’ Or you can send an entire highlight to the whole team saying they did a great job.”

Bramoff said the Hudl program is not yet set up for field hockey or soccer, but that it will be used for boys and girls basketball this winter. It may be used at some point for baseball and softball, but stats in those sports are kept routinely. The video component of the program, however, cannot be overlooked.

“With this new technology we record every game on an iPad,” Bramoff said. “I spoke to the athletic director at East Rockaway,” a Class C team from Nassau County that Pierson teams often play in Long Island Championship games, “and I was literally able to do a film exchange with him right there on the phone. That’s going to save my coaches a lot of trips. Instead of my coach driving all the way to Nassau County, they can just exchange films.”

“The plan is to video volleyball, both basketballs and then work with Hudl to see if it’s usable for baseball and softball,” Bramoff added about the program, which was approved by the board of education with an annual budget of roughly $10,000. “And then soccer will come on board, and then field hockey.”