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 software identifies the right colleges for potential recruits to pursue and their recruiting advisors provide a recruiting experience that is trusted by college coaches and backed by a money-back guarantee.
It’s undeniable how important the role of highlight videos and game film have become in the world of college recruiting. While video alone will not land you an athletic scholarship, it certainly can serve as an introduction to any college coaching staff in the country. There is no better way for a college coach to get an honest, unbiased evaluation of your abilities in just a few minutes.
First things first. You don’t need to spend a fortune on your recruiting video. In fact, a 10-minute video with inspirational music will do more harm than good. College coaches aren’t looking to watch a commercial with you as the product, your recruiting video is just a way for a coach to form an initial impression of your abilities. It’s the first step in your college recruiting process. Even if your video is great, it doesn’t guarantee a scholarship and it won’t make you something you are not.
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. It’s never too early to start collecting video. You might not use your initial footage, but it’s a good idea to get used to filming. Also, you really need to have your highlight video created by the end of your junior year if not sooner. Here’s my take on creating and delivering an effective recruiting video.
Skills video vs. Highlight video
Different sports require different approaches. For example, baseball and softball coaches prefer video of your skills rather than game footage. Sports like basketball and football are the opposite and they prefer game film.
- A skills video includes a series of stages sports-specific drills not filmed at a game. It can be a helpful way to show coaches your skills and athleticism.
- A highlight video is exactly that: Game film that showcases your talent and athleticism. These videos are important because they save coaches the time and money of going to games.
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. I highly suggest that you invest the time and energy into creating a video of your skills that you can be proud of. Here are some helpful hints on how to create an effective highlight video:
- Provide some personal information with your video: At the beginning of your video, it’s a great idea to include your name, position, high school, jersey number, graduation year and contact information. You could also add include a few sport-specific metrics if you like.
- 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: If they’re only going to watch the first 30 seconds, you better convince them early.
- Make your video easy for coaches to view: 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. As I mentioned previously, 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. Coaches are looking for well rounded players who possess all the skills for their sport and position.
- Use freeze frames and/or spot shadows when appropriate: Freeze frames and spot shadows can be effective as you want the coach to know who to watch, but don’t overdo it.
- Include some footage from before and after a play: Coaches want to see how you react to in game situations and how you communicate with your teammates.
- Make sure the quality of the video is high: If the quality of your video is poor, coaches will go on to the next athlete. A shaky camera or blurry footage is a turnoff. Don’t give them any reason to stop watching.
- Don’t send it if you’re not ready to be seen yet: If your highlight video doesn’t make you look like a stud, don’t send it yet!
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 or send a Direct Message that reads “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 Butte, Montana with a college coach in Miami 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.