Tips For Making A Great Sports Recruiting Video
By Richard A. Fromm
More high school student-athletes are interested in playing collegiate sports than ever before. An essential early step in the overall recruiting process is making a recruiting video. Thanks to video technology, college coaches can observe the skills of players who live far away to be seen in live play or have not benefited from publicity. Here are some thoughts and suggestions to make a recruiting video worthy of coaches' attention:
Video that shakes continually, is out of focus, and is inaudible makes it difficult for college coaches to watch the drills or plays being shown. With so many student-athletes vying for a limited number of spots on college teams, a poorly shot recruiting video risks being set aside and an opportunity for an individual will be lost. Use a tripod and a microphone. Both pieces of equipment can be purchased inexpensively at local camera and electronics stores.
Use digital video equipment. The original footage can be transferred directly to a personal computer for use with any number of easy-to-learn video editing products. Regardless of whether the finished recruiting video is on a VHS videotape or a DVD disc, duplicate videos will always have the same quality as the original version.
Including game highlights only does not necessarily make a successful recruiting video. After all, everyone hits a home run or scores a goal once in a while. Include drills and game footage that displays the student-athlete's fundamental talent in his/her sport. College coaches are making a four year investment in each recruit and they are looking for players who have the baseline skills upon which a better player, team, and program can be developed.
Avoid musical backgrounds and fancy video transitions. They do nothing to improve the quality of a student-athlete's performance on the recruiting video. College coaches are not movie critics. Concentrate on providing them the good content they need to watch.
As a general rule, a recruiting video should not exceed ten minutes in length. College coaches are able to make informed assessments of a student-athlete's skills fairly quickly. Nine innings is too much. Four quarters is too much. Provide purposeful footage in small, manageable chunks.
Sports such as softball and baseball lend themselves very well to shooting drills footage. Other sports such as soccer and lacrosse place an emphasis on game footage because the action is mostly non-stop. For example, an important element of a lacrosse recruiting video is to demonstrate how a player reacts and recovers after being beat by an opponent in the midfield. Game footage is required to show this sequence with any authenticity.
Never submit a recruiting video of a tired player to a college coach. Allow the student-athletes ample time to rest between drills when shooting the recruiting video. Otherwise, there will be unusable video footage, a student-athlete is even more tired, and it continues to spiral down from there. The videographer's approach is "More rest means less video." Instruct the student-athletes "Give me two hundred percent for two minutes at a time."
The recruiting video does not have to show a perfect player. If a pitcher throws five curve balls in a row and the third one is out of the strike zone, do not delete it from the video. College coaches are realistic about what they are viewing. They are more impressed with the fact that the student-athletes came back with two good pitches after the bad one.
Before compiling the footage to be used on the finished recruiting video, review the sequences to make sure the student-athletes is not doing anything that is obviously incorrect. If an outfielder only makes one-hand catches, throw the footage on the floor.
"I prefer a hard working player with some talent over a naturally gifted athlete who doesn't try to improve his or her game." This axiom continues to ring true. The student-athletes with a strong work ethic makes a positive impact on the entire team at practice, on the road, and at game time. Demonstrate this attribute on the recruiting video as much as possible. Make sure the player is running, not walking from the beginning to the end of each drill repetition. A shortstop, for example, makes a great line drive catch, but then walks back slowly to re-execute the drill. Discard this footage because it allows the college coach to draw an undesired conclusion about the student-athlete's working attitude and physical endurance.
Include a brief autobiographical introduction. It doesn't have to be a recital of a student-athlete's entire academic and athletic records. In no more than half a minute, communicate "I'm a student. I'm also an athlete. I'm looking for an opportunity to get a college education while competing athletically at the collegiate level. Thank you for watching my video." It doesn't have to be a polished Hollywood speech. It can be read from notes or cue cards. Coaches have a better chance of remembering you when you put your face, voice, and story in front of them on the video.
Contact college coaches soon after the recruiting videos have been sent out. College coaches are very willing to talk with student-athletes (subject to NCAA regulations) and it's usually just finding the time to do so that causes any delay in doing so. What are the possible responses to the question "Have you seen my recruiting video?" 1) "Yes, I have and I'm glad you called." Now, there's a chance to start a recruiting conversation or schedule a visit to the school. 2) "No, I haven't seen it yet, but since you called, I'll watch it later today." Coaches appreciate proactive interest and that is beneficial to the recruiting process. 3) "Yes, I've seen it, but I don't think there's a place for you on the team at this time." Although the reply may be disappointing, the student-athletes knows where he/she stands and does not have to spend more time focusing on an opportunity that won't bear fruit.
A recruiting video does not guarantee a place in a collegiate athletic program. It is an athletic resume. If a college coach contacts a student-athletes to schedule a visit to the campus or to begin a discussion about playing opportunities, then the recruiting video is a success.
About the Author
Richard A. Fromm is an independent videographer who owns and operates FULL RIDE VIDEO PRODUCTIONS. His company specializes in producing recruiting videos for high school student-athletes interested in earning a college degree and playing intercollegiate sports. For more information, go to http://www.fullridevp.com or contact Richard at email@example.com.
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