Recruiting Column: Why video is critical in the recruiting process

Recruiting Column: Why video is critical in the recruiting process

Recruiting Column

Recruiting Column: Why video is critical in the recruiting process


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 is an industry leader in college recruiting. Their technology based recruiting service identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and their recruiting experts provide a recruiting experience that is backed by a money-back guarantee.

There are two absolutes about the role video plays in the college recruiting process:

  1. Video doesn’t lie, and
  2. Video does not have an opinion.

It is undeniable how important video and game film have become in the world of college recruiting. In fact, over the last 10 years I believe the biggest change in the college recruiting process has been the integration of technology into the process.

MORE FROM PLAYCED: Recruiting advice from 5 real experts

Look, video alone may not land you a scholarship at your dream school, but it can certainly serve as an introduction to any college coaching staff in the country. Student-athletes now have a way to share important information with college coaches by simply sending an email with a link to their highlight video. In fact, by simply viewing a recruiting video, a coach in Pittsburgh can evaluate and connect with an athlete from Bisbee, Ariz., without the time and expense of a trip to watch the player compete.

Millions of athletes are now creating and sharing video of their athletic performance on social media. Given the above facts, let’s talk about why video is so important in your college recruiting journey and how you can make an effective highlight reel.

How your recruiting video can help you “get noticed”

Discovery is the name of the game when it comes to college recruiting. That said, you need to be “discovered” in the right way. Every year college coaches find athletes because of their recruiting video. This applies to all levels and every sport. Whether you are a Division I or Division III recruit, your video can get you noticed by the right college coaches.

There are a few rules when it comes to sharing your video with college coaches. First, sending the link to your video to a coach at a school that doesn’t match your abilities is a waste of time. If you aren’t physically ready to compete for a roster spot at a school, then ten seconds into your video the coach will hit “delete”. That’s right, ten seconds is all it takes.

Second, sending a Direct Message that reads “Hey coach, check out my video” might do more harm than good. A polite, respectful email will be much better received than a cocky, brash DM. To be honest, college coaches don’t want to watch your one and only highlight of the year, they want to see multiple video clips in various situations.

MORE: The top 5 ‘Don’ts’ of the college recruiting process

Finally, posting your video with an online recruiting service might be helpful, but it isn’t enough. Why would your video stand out from the thousands of other videos? If a coach did stumble across your video, what are the chances he or she will be the coach at a college you are interested in? Target the schools that you are interested in and make sense for your abilities. Then send your video link to the coaches at those schools.

Video can help an athlete develop their skills

In addition to helping you get noticed, video can help develop an athlete’s skills in many ways. Of course, you can use video to review performance on the field. Reviewing game film after every game has become a ritual for all programs. Mistakes and weaknesses become obvious when you can spend some time watching tape.

You can also use video as a preparation tool. Athletes and coaches use video to scout opponents before every game. The more prepared you are, the better chance you have for success. Finally, you can also use video to improve your individual performance by focusing on technique and listening to the advice of your coaches. If you don’t know the areas you need to improve on, you won’t ever get any better.

The use of video has allowed athletes to be more engaged with their sport. More engaged athletes are typically going to go have better results, on the field.

An effective recruiting video

Not every athlete is the same; therefore, there is no blueprint to a perfect recruiting video. You need to be creative and find what works best for the attributes you are trying to showcase. Overall, here are few key guidelines:

  • 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.
  • Know what coaches in your sport 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. If you aren’t sure, talk with your current coach.
  • Showcase all your skills: Use clips that show your athleticism in different situations.
  • Use spot shadows: You want to make sure they are watching the right player!
  • Don’t spend a fortune on your recruiting video: A ten-minute video with inspirational music playing in the background is great for your grandparents, but isn’t necessary. Keep in mind, college coaches aren’t looking to watch a commercial, they just need to form an initial impression of your abilities.
  • Post your video online: Post your video online and provide college coaches the link in your first correspondence.
  • If your highlight video doesn’t make you look like a stud, don’t send it

Here’s the deal

Your highlight video can make a huge impact on your recruiting journey.  College coaches can decide almost immediately if they are interested in an athlete. Spend some time developing a quality video, but don’t spend the college fund creating an academy award winning production.


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