High school and club coaches often capture footage of student-athletes during practice and games to help evaluate their technique and provide feedback, so it’s no surprise that college coaches also find value in video when evaluating talent to build their prospective recruiting list. The difference – while high school and club coaches review raw footage of an athlete playing at their best and worst, college coaches want to see a series of short clips that highlight an athlete performing at their best against tough competition. Of course, college coaches understand that high school athletes are still developing and expect to see room for improvement. Oftentimes, coaches will look for recruits who they believe are strong athletes but still have room to develop and refine their skillset under the coach’s instruction.
To create a highlight video, student-athletes first need to understand what position-specific skills college coaches are looking to evaluate. Student-athletes will want to capture enough footage that highlights these skills during varsity-level competition to create a three to four-minute video of roughly 20-30 clips. Once the highlight video has been created, it’s time to share with college coaches.
Learn how to make a highlight video for hockey with our ice hockey recruiting video tips below.
Getting ready to create a recruiting video, but don’t know where to start? Creating a high quality and engaging recruiting video starts with simply capturing footage.
Putting together a men’s ice hockey recruiting video can be difficult even during a traditional ice hockey season. More recruits than ever had limited access to ice rinks during COVID-19, and it was essential to get creative and find opportunities to film anywhere, from driveways and empty parking lots to basements or indoor gyms.
Former D3 ice hockey player and coach Alec Thieda agrees that the number one thing men’s ice hockey recruits should keep in mind when creating an ice hockey skills video is to display their athleticism and technical skills. In the video below, Coach Thieda breaks down what ice hockey players should include in their skills video, including:
Recruits know what they can offer a college program, and highlight video is one way that they can communicate their value to college coaches. Experienced, multi-dimensional athletes who can act quickly on their feet are highly sought after by college ice hockey programs. But expectations don’t stop there. College coaches have position-specific expectations that we’ve outlined below.
College coaches want to see some controlled skills and drills footage from goalies that allows them to see the recruit’s skills up close, but all other positions should exclusively consist of game footage. This is so college coaches can see recruit’s put their skillset to the test in high pressure and unpredictable situations against top talent. All goal scoring positions should begin their video with a clip of them scoring a challenging goal.
Hockey recruits should keep highlight videos between three to four-minutes long. This timeframe allows for roughly 20-30 clips from varsity competitions. To grab the attention of college coaches right from the start, begin highlight video with the top five clips that demonstrate the position-specific skills listed above. Remember, college coaches watch hundreds of highlight videos as they go through the recruiting process, so it’s likely that they won’t make it through an entire video.
Forward: Demonstrate the ability to skate forward and backward with strong stick handling skills. Highlight good puck control when receiving and passing the puck and progressing toward the goal. Show ability to shoot the puck with power and accuracy, using proper technique in following through.
Defense: Highlight physical positioning when challenging offensive players, as well as the ability to skate backward and forward efficiently. Demonstrate good stick handling skills and stick possession on puck. Highlight good puck control when gaining possession and clearing the puck from the defensive zone.
Goalie: Showcase the athlete’s goalie style (hybrid, stand-up, butterfly) and skating edge work with lateral movements. Demonstrate strong positioning, aggressiveness, glove positioning in the crease and playing the puck outside the crease. Include footage making various types of saves and controlling rebound. Because an above-ice view is not always the best way to capture these skills, goalies should consider shooting both skills footage and competition footage to include in a recruiting video.
College coaches browse NCSA’s recruiting network every day, but recruits cannot assume that college coaches at their prospective schools are just going to discover them without taking some initiative. To let a college coach know that a recruit is interested in their ice hockey program, recruits should reach out in an introductory email. This email should state why the recruit is interested in the hockey program and what makes them a good fit for the team. To show that the recruit is committed to continuing the conversation, they should set up a specific time that they plan to call the coach or invite them to a tournament or game that the recruit is attending.
College coaches will also need some basic information, so be sure to include the following:
General information: name, graduation year, high school and club name
Academics: GPA and test scores
Athletics: sport specific stats and relevant measurables
Contact information: phone number and email, as well as your club and high school coach contact info
Highlight video allows college coaches’ recruiting efforts to extend beyond the region where their program is located to regions across the US, where talent may not be as easily accessible to them. In order for a recruit’s highlight video to truly service this purpose, it needs to be accessible to college coaches.