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How to Make a Women’s Basketball Highlight Video

A well-crafted highlight video can put a recruit on a coach’s radar and secure them a second in-person evaluation. The truth is coaches just don’t have the time (or budget) to travel and see every prospect compete. So, more often than not, a highlight video is a student-athletes first chance at making an impression. Follow these guidelines to create a video that stands out.

How to make a basketball highlight video 

A basketball highlight video could be the reason a student-athlete secures an in-person evaluation. Even though it seems complicated, piecing together a highlight film isn’t as difficult as you may think. Before you set out to film, ask your high school coach if they have footage already available. Online video services for high school coaches, like Hudl, are popular resources that could come in handy. And remember to choose games against the best competition, such as varsity games, high-level AAU games or any nationwide tournaments. College coaches want to see how a student-athlete measures up against top talent. Usually clips from two or three games is enough. 

As you gather footage, think about what coaches want to see (depending on your position): shooting ability, technical ability, quickness, athleticism, ball handling, game awareness and decision making all matter to coaches. Frontload your video with the absolute best five or six plays. Some college coaches won’t watch past the first minute, so it’s crucial to show them your most difficult and impressive plays against high competition right at the beginning. Cap the video at 20 to 30 clips and keep it under four minutes.

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College basketball highlight video tips 

Follow these straight-forward tips to create a video that truly stands out:

  1. Focus the camera from mid-court while making sure the student-athlete is easily recognizable. The camera view shouldn’t be obstructed by the crowd, other players on the court or people walking by.
  2. Use a tripod to avoid a shaky camera.
  3. Don’t zoom in and out.
  4. Make sure the person filming the match isn’t cheering. If there is excessive and distracting background noise, mute the video completely. Don’t add music to the video either.
  5. Put a title card at the front of your basketball highlight video that includes your name and graduation year, such as “Jane Doe Basketball Recruiting Video Class of 2021.”
  6. Stack your best clips first. You’ll probably start your video by highlighting your shooting ability, but if you’re a better defender, then start there. Bottom line: Show off your biggest strengths right away. The first minute matters the most.  
  7. Pick plays against good competition. For example, if you’re an excellent three-point shooter, it’s better to highlight a three off the dribble with a defender in your face compared to a wide-open shot. To truly evaluate your skills, coaches need to see how you do under pressure against the best of the best.
  8. Cap your video at 20 to 30 clips and keep it under four minutes.
  9. Send college coaches your highlight video, as well as one unedited full game video. If they’re interested in a recruit after watching their highlight film, they will want to evaluate the full game next. 

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What do coaches look for in a women’s basketball recruiting video?

A well-edited highlight video gives student-athletes a chance to show college coaches their strongest skills, athleticism, versatility, and basketball IQ—all in just a few minutes. Coaches look for recruits who have the right technique, game awareness and can execute on the fundamentals. They want to see footage against high-level competition where the recruit was truly tested and showed an elevated level of athleticism—think varsity high school games, AAU national tournaments, showcases and elite camps. If the highlight video does its job and captures the coach’s attention, then the coach will also want to evaluate performance from an unedited full game. That’s why we always recommend sending a brief and impactful highlight film, as well as one full game.

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Choosing a good song for your highlight video

Music can set an energetic tone, but it shouldn’t take away from an athlete’s performance. For that reason, we typically don’t recommend including music in a basketball highlight video. And to be honest, coaches don’t care too much about the frills; they just want to evaluate the recruit. In fact, if there’s excessive background noise, like cheering, it’s best to mute the sound completely.

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How long should a high school basketball recruiting video be?

Student-athletes need to quickly capture a coach’s attention—and we mean fast. Basketball highlight videos should be under four minutes with 20–30 superb plays that demonstrate the athlete’s strongest skills. Typically this footage is from two or three games total. In addition to a brief highlight film, student-athletes should separately provide full game footage. If the coach is interested in recruiting the student-athlete after watching their highlight reel, they’ll want to evaluate one unedited game as well.

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Center recruiting video

College coaches want to evaluate the strongest parts of a center’s game. They look for technique and the ability to overpower players. Height and wingspan are key physical tools that will stand out as well.

  • Shooting ability (range) and ability to finish around the rim
  • Ability to score against traditional post defense
  • Rebounding
  • Shot-blocking and defensive ability to disrupt flow and passes (even when not blocking shots)
  • Successfully guard multiple positions
  • Quickness and footwork
  • Properly executed pick and roll plays and defensive stops
  • Game awareness—ability to process in game-time and make the right decisions 

In the video below, Recruiting Coach Nicole Scholl—a former NAIA D1 athlete and D1, D2 and D3 college coach—breaks down what women’s basketball centers need to include to get on a college coach’s radar, from size and length to good versatility.

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Point guard recruiting video 

Point guards who can take control, possess leadership skills and have a take-charge attitude will stand out.

  • Shooting ability (range) and scoring
  • Ability to penetrate and finish at the rim
  • Ball handing and passing (making the right pass, knowing when to pass and when not to)
  • Court vision and controlling pace of the game
  • Good decisions in transition
  • Quickness
  • Defense rotations and ability to guard bigger players and multiple positions
  • Game awareness: ability to process in game-time and make the right decisions

In the video below, former D1 women’s basketball college coach Nicole Scholl provides a great overview of what women’s basketball point guards should showcase in their highlight videos. From good speed, stamina and communication skills to confidence and consistency on the court, see what types of plays will help point guards stand out.

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Power forward recruiting video

Power forwards need to have a dynamic skill set and be able to demonstrate their ability to shoot, especially at mid-range.

  • Shooting ability (range) and ability to finish around the rim
  • Rebounding
  • Shot-blocking and defensive ability to disrupt flow of the game (even when not blocking shots)
  • Successfully guard multiple positions
  • Quickness and footwork
  • Game awareness: ability to process in game-time and make the right decisions 

With more than 13 years of experience as a women’s basketball college coach—and six at the D1 head coach level—NCSA Recruiting Coach Nicole Scholl has watched hundreds of highlight videos. Check out the video below to see what power forwards need to include in their recruiting video, from mobility and versatility to stamina and quickness.

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Shooting guard recruiting video 

Coaches obviously want to evaluate a shooting guard’s ability to score, but they’re also looking at their technique and whether they can execute the fundamentals.

  • Shooting ability and range 
  • Ability to make shots when moving off the dribble (catch and shoot movement)
  • Defensive ability to stop penetration
  • Active hands and touches on the ball
  • Ball handing: this is a must for shooting guards
  • Court vision
  • Quickness
  • Defense rotations and ability to guard bigger players and multiple positions, as well as help defense when opponent is driving by
  • Game awareness: ability to process in game-time and make the right decisions

According to former D1 women’s basketball coach Nicole Scholl, women’s basketball shooting guards should show that they can handle the ball and pressures on the court. In the video below, Scholl breaks down what plays can get women’s basketball shooting guards on a college coach’s radar along with insider tips from her own experiences evaluating highlight videos.

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Small forward recruiting video 

Versatility is important among small forwards.

  • Shooting ability and range 
  • Ability to make shots when moving off the dribble (catch and shoot movement)
  • Defensive ability to stop penetration
  • Active hands and touches on the ball
  • Ball handing
  • Court vision
  • Quickness
  • Defense rotations and ability to guard bigger players and multiple positions, as well as help defense when opponent is driving by
  • Game awareness—ability to process in game-time and make the right decisions

In the video below, former women’s basketball college coach Nicole Scholl shows small forwards what they need to include in their highlight video to get on a coach’s radar and land a roster spot—plus some insider tips on what they shouldn’t include. 

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Using Hudl to make a basketball recruiting video 

Online video services for high school coaches, like Hudl, are becoming more popular in basketball. If a college coach is interested in a recruit after watching their highlight film, they will also ask to see full-game footage. And that is when Hudl really comes in handy. If student-athletes are using Hudl footage to create a highlight video, they should follow the standard guidelines:

  1. Choose games against high-level competition, such as national AAU games or varsity footage. College coaches want to evaluate you against highly-competitive athletes. Typically clips from two or three games is enough, but you can use more if needed.
  2. Make sure the student-athlete is easily recognizable. The camera shouldn’t be obstructed by the crowd, other players on the court or people walking by. Usually a high, centered vantage point works best.
  3. Don’t zoom in and out.
  4. Make sure the person filming the match isn’t cheering. In fact, if there is excessive background noise, like cheering, just mute the video completely. Also, don’t add music to your highlight film.
  5. Put a title card at the front of your basketball highlight video that includes your name and graduation year, such as “Jane Doe Basketball Recruiting Video Class of 2021.”
  6. Stack the very best clips first. Post players should include: shooting ability, ability to finish around the rim, rebounding, shot-blocking, footwork, and defensive abilities (guarding multiple positions). Perimeter players should include: scoring ability, ability to penetrate and finish at the rim, ball handling, court vision, and defensive abilities (guard bigger players and multiple positions). Really frontload your video with the best plays to capture a coach’s attention. Remember—some coaches don’t watch past the first minute.  
  7. Cap your video at 20 to 30 clips and keep it under 4 minutes.
  8. Send college coaches your highlight video, as well as one unedited full game video. If they’re interested in a recruit after watching their highlight film, they will want to evaluate the full game next.   

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How to use basketball highlight videos in your recruiting

Coaches generally prefer a simple, no-frills editing method. They want a quick and clear evaluation of an athlete’s skill set. That’s why some families choose to use a professional videographer who can quickly turn disorganized raw footage into a cohesive sequence of highlights. Plus, an experienced videographer knows exactly which plays to showcase first. 

As part of NCSA’s recruiting suite for student-athletes, our full-service video editing team offers professionally edited video. In fact, they edit more than 40,000 highlight videos each year. And, depending on the membership level, they’ll produce multiple highlight videos for the athlete and help them identify the best schools to send it to. If you’re interested in learning more about NCSA’s video offerings, call our Video Team at 866-495-5172. 

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