How to Make a Softball Skills Video
Your softball skills video is arguably the most important part of your recruiting profile. Coaches use softball skills video to make their initial evaluation of recruits, and it can be the deciding factor between whether a coach wants to recruit you—or move on to the next athlete. And in modern recruiting, it’s sometimes the only way coaches get to see their recruits’ athleticism and skills.
Creating a softball skills video is one of the best ways to get on a coach’s radar and show off your athleticism, skillset and talents as a softball player. But what should potential softball recruits include in their softball skills video? What makes a softball skills video different than a highlight video?
In the video below, NCSA Recruiting Coach and former D3 Head Softball Coach Renee Barrows breaks down key essentials every softball athlete should know before filming their softball skills video:
- It’s okay if recruits don’t have access to a field—a park, backyard, basement or garage can work just as well!
- Footwork, glovework and transfers are key—coaches want to see multiple reps of your throwing motion, including short throws into a net and agility drills that show you improving your speed over time
- Clips from strength and conditioning workouts can showcase how a recruit spends their time during the off-season as well as the mental strength, grit and determination it takes to not let current circumstances slow them down despite any circumstances!
In other words, you need to make your softball skills video really stand out! Before we break out softball skills video tips by position, here are a few general filming tips to keep in mind:
- Film with a tripod with the camera about 5 feet off the ground, if possible. You can even get one for your smartphone! Or, go in on the purchase with a teammate and you can both use it for your softball skills video.
- The camera view should never be obstructed. Avoid filming behind a fence or backstop.
- Keep the camera steady and don’t move it side to side. The easiest way to do this is to set everything up and then put your camera—or smartphone—on your tripod.
- If you aren’t able to get outdoor footage, you can use indoor footage for your softball highlight video.
- Always warm up before you start filming. You want to look loose and natural in your softball skills video.
Softball recruiting video tip: You want to keep your softball skills video short—around 2-3 minutes. Coaches are scanning through these videos quickly, and most don’t have the time to watch a 10-minute video.
- How to find the ultimate college softball team for you.
Every softball position requires its own unique set of skills that college coaches look for when recruiting talent. In the video series below, NCSA’s Holly Bruder, former D1 head softball coach, shares what skills student-athletes should showcase in their highlight video by position.
Filming tips for hitting and base running
Most athletes will need to include hitting in their softball highlight video. In general, the pitcher should throw batting practice-type fastballs or you can use a pitching machine. Some athletes will hit off a tee, which can work, but isn’t ideal. In the hitting portion of your softball highlight video, you need to show two different camera angles:
- 6-10 hits with the camera angle behind the hitter to see where the ball goes
- 6-10 hits with the camera angle on the open side of the hitter to see her form
If you’re a speedy softball player, you should show off your base running. Set up the camera at the 3B side of home plate. Take a swing and run through 1B, and then take another swing and run for home. If sliding is a big part of your game, you can slide into home.
Softball recruiting video tip: The “open side” refers the side the batter faces when they are hitting. Similarly, a pitcher’s open side is the side she faces as she’s pitching.
Pitchers: Show off your full arsenal of pitches
The easiest way to capture you at your best is to film a whole bunch of pitches and pull out your best ones during the editing process. You need to film from two different camera angles:
- Set camera up about 5 ft. behind the mound. If you’re a LHP, move the camera about 3 ft. to the left, and if you’re a RHP, move the camera about 3 ft. to the right. This gives coaches a better look at your form and ball speed. Complete about 3 throws each of your best pitches, including your fastball.
- Set the camera up about 3 ft. behind the catcher so coaches can see the pitch going into the catcher’s glove. Complete about 3 throws each of your best pitches, including your fastball.
Softball recruiting video tip: Team up with your catcher when you’re working on your softball highlight video. While you film your pitches, she can film her catching skills—it’s a win-win!
Catchers: Framing, blocking, pop and throws, and bunts
Catchers have a lot to cover in their softball skills video! There are four main skills coaches want to see in a catcher’s softball highlight video:
- Framing: Coaches need to see the catcher’s movements. Place the camera about 10 ft. in front of the pitcher to show the catcher framing pitches—about 2-3 pitches on each corner.
- Blocking: You need to find the ball and throw to first. Position the camera about 2 ft. to the left and 5 ft. in front of the mound. Block 2-3 pitches directly in front of you, 2-3 pitches to your left and 2-3 pitches to your right.
- Pop and throws: Coaches want to see you coming up from a squat and throw or coming down to a squat and throw. Set up your camera about 3 ft. behind 3B for 2-4 throws and about 2 ft. behind the catcher for 2-3 throws.
- Bunts and throws: You’ll need to show the coach your throws to 1B from two bunts along the 1B line and 2 bunts up the 3B line. Position your camera 3 ft. behind the plate for 2 bunts and 3 ft. to the right of 1B for 2 throws.
Short stop and second base: Let’s see your arm strength and range
Both SS and 2B should take all ground balls from SS to show the maximum arm strength and range. If you’re a second baseman only, it’s OK to field plays from there, but most general infielders will throw from shortstop.
Position the camera about 4 ft. to the left of the mound for half of your throws. Then, set up your camera 4 ft. behind 1B for the other half of your throws. Here’s what you need to show:
ground balls hit directly at you
- 2-4 ground balls hit 8-10 feet to your left
- 2-4 ground balls hit 8-10 feet to your right
- 2-4 slow choppers hit directly at you
Coaches also want to see how you execute double plays. You want to show 4-5 feeds from second base come across the bag, with you making the throw to 1B. Set up your camera 2 ft. behind the mound for the first 2-3 shots and 4 ft. behind 1B for last 2-3 shots.
Finally, you need to show fielding from SS position, throwing to 2B. Position the camera 2 ft. behind the mound for the following:
- 2 ground balls hit directly at you
- 2 ground balls hit 4 ft. to your right
- 2 ground balls hit 4 ft. to your left
First base: Cover the bag and scoop the ball
For first basemen, coaches want to see how well you cover the bag during your softball skills video. Set up your camera behind home plate and about 4 ft. to the left for the best vantage point during the following:
- 3-4 ground balls hit directly to you
- 3-4 ground balls hit to your left
- 3-4 ground balls hit to your right/backhand
You also need to record film of you fielding about 3-4 bunts.
Third base: Strength and accuracy are the name of the game
It’s important to show off your strength and accuracy through hard ground balls, slow choppers and bunt coverage. For half of your fielding, position the camera in front of you and about 4 ft. to the right of home base. For the other half, set up your camera about 1 ft. behind first base. Your softball skills video should include:
- 3-4 ground balls hit directly at you
- 3-4 ground balls hit directly to your left
- 3-4 ground balls hit directly to your right/backhand
- 3-4 slow choppers hit directly at you
Softball recruiting video tip: To save time it’s easier to have someone throw hard grounders to your athlete rather than hit them.
Outfielders: Show off your speed and arm strength
No matter your position, coaches want to see outfielders take your groundballs and fly balls from right or centerfield. There are three main camera angles to capture film from:
- With camera positioned halfway between 2B and the mound, throw two ground balls and two fly balls hit directly to you to 2B. Repeat this for grounders and fly balls hit to your left and to your right.
- Set your camera up directly behind 3B and throw two ground balls and two fly balls hit directly to you to 3B. Repeat this for balls hit to your left and to your right.
- Position your camera directly behind the catcher and throw two groundballs and two fly balls hit directly to you to home plate.
Softball recruiting video tip: If you need any help with your softball recruiting video, we have a whole team of professional video editors who offer softball skills video services. Give us a call at 866-495-5172 to learn more and discuss your softball skills video!
Common softball skills video mistakes
Former D1 head softball coach Holly Bruder breaks down the most common mistakes recruits make when putting together their softball skills video.