Athletic Recruiting Recruiting Responsibility

Your Coach’s Role in Creating a Highlight Video

Highlight video game plan
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For most sports, a good highlight video is a vital component for getting recruited. Your video is the first—and only—way that most college coaches will see you play. In other words, there’s a lot riding on it. No pressure!

To get the best highlight video, you’ll need to recruit some help. For many athletes, their club or high school coach will provide video options. However, the amount of video support you’ll receive will vary by sport, coach, player and program. Before the start of the season, ask your coach how they approach filming games, and create your back-up plan to fill in any gaps. Here are some specific questions to ask—and your next steps based on their response.

Do you provide game and/or skills video footage?

First things first: Find out if your coach even offers video coverage. If not, you need to recruit your parents or a trusted friend to film your games. NCSA provides detailed sport-specific video guidelines. Here are a few general rules to follow:

  • From a position standpoint, it’s better to be set up in the middle of the court or field at a point higher than ground level.
  • Don’t zoom in too far. College coaches really want to see your role in the development of a play. In team sports, coaches also need to see the interaction between teammates. The play may have an outcome that is dependent on several factors outside of the individual student-athlete, and coaches want to see all of it to effectively evaluate the prospect. You can always add a highlight spot or arrow to differentiate yourself from the other athletes.
  • If your parents will be shooting all your video footage, they might want to consider investing in a tripod—you can even get one for your smartphone! You don’t want to make a college coach seasick while watching your shaky video footage.

How many games will you video?

If your coach offers video footage, that’s great news. Not so great: Having a bad game the day they are filming. Sit down with your coach and discuss what games they are filming and where the camera will be located to capture the best angles and shots. Remember: You need enough footage to provide coaches with plenty of film that highlights your different skill sets. If your coach only offers to film one or two games, recruit your parents to film a few others to ensure you capture a broad range of skills and plays.

Is the video footage raw or is it edited?

Getting quality raw video footage can be a huge relief (especially for your parents). However, there’s much more left to do before you can start sending your video to college coaches. Editing involves cutting several segments from a much larger amount of footage and putting the pieces together to tell a story. The best part: Editing allows you to show yourself in the best possible light to college coaches. Here are some key tips:

  • Put your best plays in the front of the highlight video. Don’t try to build up to your best stuff; you need to impress the coach in the first few seconds.
  • Use the “freeze frame” effect wisely. A freeze frame is just what it sounds like: The video is frozen before the action begins so the coach can analyze where the athlete is, what the situation is on the field, and watch what the student-athlete accomplishes.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t need fancy transitions or loud music. In fact, most coaches watch video on mute. Your skills need to speak for themselves.
  • Avoid the “jump cut.” A jump cut is when one play ends and all of a sudden the video jumps to a different play for a few frames then leaps again to another play. This makes it really tough for a coach to evaluate a player. Give coaches enough time with each play to get their bearings.

Can you help pick the plays we should put in the film?

With all the video footage available, narrowing it down to a couple short videos is a challenge. It helps to have an expert with you to determine which plays to keep—and which to cut. Your high school or club coach is a great resource, because they know the skill set you can bring to the table. They can help you find the plays that best show it off!

If your high school or club coach doesn’t offer this, you have a few different options. Check out our sport-specific pages on the NCSA website to figure out what skills you need to show off for your sport. We also offer sport-specific webinars, where you can ask a recruiting expert your questions about putting together a video. Or give us a call at 866-495-7727. Our recruiting experts know what it takes to create an eye-catching highlight film that makes college coaches take notice.

Check out NCSA Team Edition, the new product for club and high school coaches.

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About the author
Kelly Mantick

Kelly Mantick is a writer at NCSA Next College Student Athlete.