Athletic Recruiting

How to Make Sure College Coaches Will Watch Your Highlight Video


By Mike Adler, NCSA Senior Recruiting Coordinator

The Internet has completely revolutionized how college coaches recruit. The days of coaches coming out to a high school to watch a student-athlete are few and far between. Instead, many coaches now rely on watching highlight videos on platforms like Hudl and YouTube. It’s an easier, more efficient way for coaches to initially evaluate recruits.

With so many coaches viewing athletes online, how do you make sure you get noticed? Below are a few tips on how to make sure your highlight video will stand out.

Keep it short

As you might imagine, college coaches are very busy people with a lot of videos to watch and a lot of players to evaluate. That means your video needs to be short and sweet–about 2-3 minutes max! Coaches typically watch 30 seconds to a minute and, in that short time, they’ll decide if they want to continue to recruit an athlete or move on. You can make a 10-minute highlight video if you want, but just know coaches won’t be looking at the vast majority of your plays.

Put your best plays first

Given the brief time college coaches spend watching videos, it only makes sense to put your best highlight first. Follow that with your next best highlight, then your next, and so-on. If you have a great play buried minutes into your video, there’s a very good chance coaches won’t even get to it. Remember: Video could be the difference between getting recruited or getting passed over. Make sure you start with your best.

Make sure coaches know where to look

A spot shadow is simply a highlight, usually a brighter circle, that makes it easier for the coach to find you. Put yourself in the coaches’ shoes for a minute. You have dozens of videos to go through and you’re simply not going stop, rewind, pause and hunt for a prospect. You will just go on to the next video.

In-game footage or skills footage? It depends on your sport.

Most college coaches want to see your in-game footage and not video of you doing drills. There are a few exceptions. For baseball and softball, college coaches want to see a skills video for pitchers and infielders. For wrestling, college coaches want to see your best full match (or 2) and then some highlights if you have them. For most other sports, however, they want to see in-game footage.

Make your video easy to find

It’s great if you have a killer highlight video but what good does it do if no one is looking at it? Your video needs to be online in a place where college coaches will see it whether it’s on your recruiting profile, YouTube, Hudl, etc. You can also share it on social media, provided your account is free of inappropriate content.

No bad plays

It may seem obvious but you wouldn’t believe how many highlight videos are out there that include a play not showing the student-athlete in their best light. Before you upload any video ask yourself, “Will this help me get recruited?”

Content is more important than quality

Don’t worry if your video is not professional quality. Coaches don’t need to be entertained with music or special effects. If you have a short cellphone video clip that shows you executing well on a play–use it. Try not to be a perfectionist or wait to upload a video thinking next game will be better. Any video that demonstrates your capabilities is better than no video at all. Without video, you will have a difficult time getting serious attention from coaches.

About the author
Mike Adler