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coverBy Mike Kuchar, Lead Research Manager, X&O Labs

Here is an update on perhaps the biggest “little known secret” that is changing the course of in-game operations at the high school level.

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikekKuchar


Last month we let you in on what is perhaps the biggest “little known secret” that is changing the course of in-game operations at the high school level.

We told you that in 2013, the NFHS changed its Football Rule to allow the use of video during games. This change allows the use of video on iPads and other tablets by coaches and players. What was surprising was the fact that only 1% of high school programs were using video replay during games. We suspect the low adoption rate stems from the fact that technology hadn’t caught up to the rule change.

Now that we’re seeing multiple companies providing sideline video replay technology at a reasonable rate, we expect a dramatic rise in the number of coaches using video on the sidelines. Particularly after our previous report featuring a system called “Reveal.” Reveal was created by Graham Clark and Peter Foley, who used the product with the United States Olympic Snowboarding Team, and who are now rolling out the product to high school football teams all over the country. Following our last report on this subject, we were inundated with questions from coaches asking for more information on what the product looks like, to what it costs, to how to operate it.

This new rule opened a Pandora’s box of in-game protocol and subsequently sent dozens of technology companies into a mad rush to produce a cost-effective and efficient models for high school coaches across the country. We were especially impressed with the product that Clark and Foley designed, particularly after talking with some of their clients.

I got the chance to use and test the Reveal system last off-season, but rather than provide commentary on the operations of Reveal, we reached out directly to some of Insight Replay’s clients. We asked them for their feedback about the product and how they are planning to use it this fall.

Tagging Plays for Quick Access

Matt Logan, the Head Coach at Centennial High School (CA), has produced a 50-10 record at Centennial the last four seasons, but like other exceptional coaches he continues to try to find ways to get an advantage over his opponents. While his team was performing brilliantly on the field, Coach Logan saw another opportunity to exploit his opponents’ mismatches on the sideline.

In 2013, when the rules changed, Logan and his staff experimented by using a “cube” that was able to rely video from the sideline to the end zone. He thought it was exactly what he was looking for, but later found the technology was made more for business communications than for football programs. “It was all raw footage,” Logan told us. “The problem was organizing the clips. You had to stream it through as raw footage all the time while other things were being recorded. You had to stream through plays.” As a no-huddle offensive operation, this simply would not work.

pic1So, when Reveal hit the market, Logan was ready for a change. Once he received the product, he saw an immediate difference, which came in the form of portability and accessibility. It came in a backpack, with its own self-contained Wi-Fi hot spot and he’s able to use it with his own cameras. When he found that he would be able to tag plays and immediately view them within 3 to 5 seconds of conclusion, Logan was sold. “During the play, I can tell my guys up in the box ‘tag that play when we are on defense’ and I can to go back to it within 3 to 5 seconds with the rest of the staff and players. It’s very user friendly. It will be faster for us to see the clips we want. It’s similar to HUDL in that you can find what you need. It makes it easy and controllable.”

This season, Logan already has his plan mapped out for the Reveal system. “We will have one of our JV guys run the iPad and we will work through him. When we are on offense, the plays will be recorded. After offense, we’ll meet as a group and look at the defensive group, and review our mistakes. We use it to verify what our players are seeing and what our coaches are seeing. We can see front and secondary coverage. It’s instant feedback from series to series. If you are a huddle team, you can get feedback during the middle of the series.” And now halftime will have a whole new meaning in terms of the ability to improve. “Halftime is huge because of the tagging component,” said Logan. “You can go right to those plays that you tagged during the course of the game on offense, defense or the kicking game. You no longer are guessing about what the opponent is doing or relying on your players. The proof is in the video.”

As you can see from Logan’s feedback above, with Reveal’s custom tagging system, you can organize your video exactly how you want it. You can see any play you want with easy-to-use filters. Plus, you can film from multiple angles so you can see exactly what you want.

To get more information on Reveal’s custom tagging abilities, check out their website: Go here now...

Reveal, 3 iPads, and a 42 Inch TV

The biggest public school in football-rich Ohio, Mason High School wanted to explore every option for a sideline replay system, which is exactly what receivers coach Roche Croy did. Last season was the first that high school programs in Ohio were experimenting with this concept and Croy couldn’t help but notice the frantic ways in which coaches were doing so.

“We would see these managers running around with an iPad giving the various coordinators clips to view, but they would only show the sideline views,” Croy told us. Considering it was the same angle experienced coaches were already getting, Croy couldn’t figure out how that was particularly useful – until he discovered the Reveal system.

pic2The Reveal system allows coaches the opportunity to use their own cameras, which makes one system compatible with various cameras. “So we are using it with both our press box and end zone cameras,” said Cory. “Reveal allows us to get 24 feet in the air (in our end zone shot), which tells you exactly what the schemes are. You don’t get that viewpoint just with the sideline shot. You can tell where the 3-technique is. You can tell if we are getting the right combinations in our run schemes. You can tell if we are identifying the Mike [linebacker] correctly. With this system, we have access to both of these cameras with this system. It’s such an advantage over every product because of that end zone shot.”

With the Reveal system, if you have an iPad, you can get in on the game day conversation. This is key, because other systems force you to use one device and only shoot using their camera, with only one or two iPads on the sidelines to view from. Says Coach Croy, “With Reveal you can use other cameras as well as high definition cameras. This system has its own hotspots through Wi-Fi, so we can have 20 iPads on the sideline if we wanted to.” Croy plans on using three iPads this season, one for a manager helping with the offensive coordinator, one helping with the defensive coordinator and one who stays glued to tagging the plays. “The strength of connection is right on the field with antennas,” he told us.

So, instead of laboring over a film session on Saturday mornings, Croy and the rest of his staff make the necessary adjustments immediately, on the field, directly from what they see from each series. “Now we are going off exactly what our opponents are doing – and we can do that in between each series. Three seconds after the play is over, we have that video.”

This coming season, Mason High School will have a 42-inch TV set up on the sideline streaming those specific plays that were tagged the series before. All Croy will do is hook up the iPad to the TV. “We will have an assistant with the DC and OC who will watch the sideline/end zone for every play. He’ll bring that iPad to the coordinator and sit down with kids and show them exactly what we need to change. He’ll say ‘I'm seeing plays 5, 12 and 17. Here’s what they’re doing.’ We don’t have to worry about halftime. The knowledge, instead of coming from assumptions, comes directly from what is happening on field.”

You can see how one person can quickly and easily set up Reveal in this two-minute video:

This video shows you how to setup the Reveal video system. Typical setup time is less than 5 minutes.

To get more information on Reveal, check out their website here.

Before You Buy a Sideline Video Replay System:

As with any technology purchase, it’s important to do your homework before you decide which sideline video replay system is right for you, as rushing this decision could lead to unnecessary frustration. We’re talking about the little things that you may not think about before you make your decision, but these are four little things that can come back to haunt you. So consider them before making your decision:

  • Electrical Access: As basic as it sounds, you’d be surprised at how difficult it can be to find electrical outlets while playing on the road. During home games, you’ll have all the electrical access you need, but it’s important to remember that your opponents have no real responsibility to provide you with electricity… especially if it’s for a sideline video replay system that they don’t have. If you don’t think that’s important, consider this… when we spoke to coaches who use other sideline replay systems that require multiple electrical outlets, they said they can only bring their replay system to a few road games due to a lack of electrical access. Here’s what John Boris, a coach in New Jersey told us: “When you are playing at home you have a ton of resources, but when you go away (at least here in South Jersey) you are relegated to being in the stands with no power hookups. If they see you coming up there with a laptop and Wi-Fi access points on an extended mount they quickly say, ‘Oh you can't do that here.’” This is why we recommend Insight Replay’s Reveal system – it works anywhere with no outlets or Internet required. Reveal is portable, battery powered, lightweight and easy to set up.
  • Wi-Fi Systems: The days of coaches lugging around wires are history. Most sideline video replay systems rely on Wi-Fi to transfer video and information to tablets. But here’s the tricky part, since most football fields don’t have access to Wi-Fi, you’ll most likely be required to use a cellular hotspot with your smart phone to provide the system with Wi-Fi. Sounds good, right? Nope. Here’s the problem. You must have access to quality cell phone reception at every game – home or away. So, you’re relying on whomever your cellular provider is for good reception – which we all know isn’t a given in all locations and on all football fields. Poor cellular reception will provide really bad download speeds and that will give you a bad experience with your sideline video replay system. This is why we’re big proponents of Insight Replay’s Reveal system, which was designed to work in remote areas and on mountain tops with no access to cellular systems. Reveal comes with high performance wireless equipment that ensures you have the range and bandwidth to cover the entire field – regardless it’s a home game or you’re on the road. Reveal is set up with its own advanced-level Wi-Fi hotspots with excellent download speeds that allow plays to be tagged and viewable 3 to 5 seconds after the whistle is blown.
  • pic3How Easy Is It to Set Up? We’re hearing from some coaches that their sideline video replay systems are bulky, heavy and difficult to take to road games. One coach even told us their video coordinator had to drive his own truck to haul all the equipment. With all that equipment, you can guess how long it will take to set up once you get there. Again, this is why we like using Reveal. It’s simple to transport, set up and use. The entire Reveal system comes in a backpack and it can be set up by one person before your players finish their pre-game stretching.
  • Beware of Limited Cameras and Tablets: We have found that some systems only allow you to use one camera and a small number of iPads or tablets, so beware of this as you evaluate equipment. With Reveal you can use as many iPads (or any other tablet) you have to view the action on game day. iPads allow all your personnel and your players to instantly be part of the communication system. And the implementation of your own camera equipment provides the opportunity to use both sideline and end zone shots and quickly intercut them using interfaces such as HUDL. What’s more, you don't need to install any additional apps on your iPad to use Reveal.

While these are only two stories of coaches who have found a distinct advantage on game day over their opponents by way of the integration of the Reveal Sideline Replay system in to their programs, the trend of those who are learning about and buying into Reveal’s accessibility and productivity is on the rise. In fact, by game one this season, coaches in almost 48 states will be using the product. Chances are, it may be up in the press box across from yours. It’s an advantage that will change the outcome of games this season and can’t be left to chance. Reveal is something we recommend you check out…

Get More Information on Insight Replay’s Reveal:
Go Here Now!







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