USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the recruiting process. This isn’t about where just the top five-star athletes are headed but rather a guide to the process and the pitfalls for student-athletes nationwide from Fred Bastie, the owner and founder of Playced.com. Playced.com is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and provides a recruiting system that is second to none for student athletes of all talent levels and ages.
Contrary to popular belief:
* Bats are not blind;
* It’s okay to wake up a sleepwalker; and
* You don’t have to use a professional to create an effective recruiting video.
That’s right, you don’t need to spend a fortune on your recruiting video. In fact, a 10 minute video with the “Rocky” theme song playing in the background might do more harm than good. Keep in mind, college coaches aren’t looking to watch a commercial, your recruiting video is merely a way for a coach to form an initial impression of your abilities. It is the first step of the recruiting process. It does not guarantee a scholarship and it won’t make you something you are not. With modern technology, most smart phone videos will work just fine!
Given those facts, you need to understand the role of video in recruiting, how to create an effective highlight video and how to deliver it to the right coaches. When it comes to college recruiting, the first impression you make on a college coach might be the difference between getting a scholarship and playing intramurals for your fraternity. Since your recruiting video might be your first impression with a college coach, here’s my 2 cents worth on recruiting videos.
The role of video in college recruiting
Last year, we interviewed Erik Pulverenti, the General Manager of Media for Hudl. If you participate in high school athletics, you know about and probably have used Hudl, a cloud-based video sharing platform. When we asked Mr. Pulverenti “What role does video play in an athlete’s recruiting process?” here was his answer:
“Discovery is the name of the game when it comes to college recruiting. Every year we hear about college coaches finding athletes because of their highlight reel. This applies to all levels and every sport. Whether you want to play DI or DIII, a highlight reel can get you in front of recruiters. Quite simply, video has the ability to connect the right players with the right coaches.”
The reason video has become so critical in the college recruiting process is because there are two absolutes with respect to video:
* Video doesn’t lie; and
* Video does not have an opinion.
Video provides an objective way for college coaches to decide if they are interested in talking with you. This is the primary recruiting benefit to game film and videos.
In addition to allowing a college coach to evaluate your abilities, there are many other benefits to video. Game film allows an athlete to review performance on the field, focus on areas to work on and is also used as a preparation tool to scout opponents. Finally, video makes it easier for a coach to analyze technique and suggest ways to get better. All of these benefits will make it more likely for you to land a college scholarship.
How to create an effective recruiting video
A recruiting video is going to give you a competitive advantage against every college recruit that doesn’t have one. There is no quicker way to have a college coach see you compete. I highly suggest that you invest the time and energy into creating a video of your skills that you can be proud of. Consider your recruiting video as a “virtual handshake” or introduction to any college program in the country.
Here are some helpful hints on how to create an effective highlight video:
* Keep it short: Two or three minutes is long enough. A coach is going to decide if he or she is interested in the first 45 seconds.
* Put your Best Highlights First: You only get one chance at a first impression.
* Post Your Video on YouTube or Vimeo: Post your video online and provide college coaches the link in your first correspondence.
* Know What Coaches Want to See: Different sports require different approaches. For example, baseball and softball coaches prefer video of your skills rather than game footage. Highlight videos for sports like basketball and football are the opposite.
* Show all Your Skills: Showcase all your skills and use clips that show your athleticism.
* Use spot shadows when necessary. You need to stand out from the rest of the athletes. Your Hudl highlights will make this easy.
* If your highlight video doesn’t make you look like a stud, don’t send it yet!
Some of the most effective videos I’ve seen are ones created by the athlete. Certainly, if you have the resources a professional videographer is an option, but no matter who creates it, make sure you follow the above suggestions.
How to deliver your recruiting video
There are only so many ways to get your video into the hands of a college coach. You can:
* Send an email with a link to your video to the coaches at colleges that match your abilities,
* Create an online profile with a recruiting service and wait for the scholarship offers to start rolling in the door, or
* Post a tweet that says “Check out my highlight video”.
In my opinion, the only method that makes any sense is the first one. You have to connect with college coaches that make sense for your abilities and provide them the link. Certainly sending a link to an online resume will work also, but the point is that you need to be proactive with colleges you are interested in and deliver the video to those coaches.
Many recruits think that they can sit back and wait for college coaches to magically notice them. That couldn’t be further from the truth! It is your responsibility to get YOUR recruiting video in the hands of the programs you want to be a part of. Use that personal email + your quality video to make the best first impression on college coaches.
Here’s the deal
The use of video in the college recruiting process can be extremely beneficial. It can connect an athlete in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a college coach in Binghamton, New York without the time and expense of a recruiting trip! Make sure you are proud of your recruiting video and share it with the coaches at all the colleges that you are interested in and match your abilities.