Just as high school and club coaches reference practice and game footage to evaluate an athlete’s technique and provide feedback, college coaches do the same to evaluate talent and build their recruiting list. The only difference is college coaches don’t want to review hours of raw footage. Instead, they expect to see a three- to four-minute compilation of short clips that showcase a recruit competing at their best against top talent. The athlete’s performance in this footage doesn’t need to be flawless, but it must demonstrate to college coaches that the recruit has a strong foundation with room to develop and refine their skillset at the collegiate level.
What do college coaches look for in a hockey recruiting video? In this section, we provide ice hockey recruiting video tips, such as the position-specific skills recruits should highlight in their recruiting video, how to capture and edit the footage and what to do with the video once it’s ready for coaches to watch.
Not sure where to start when it comes to creating a women’s hockey highlight video? We suggest following the three steps below to create a high quality and effective highlight video.
Recruiting video is a key tool that recruits can use to communicate their value to college coaches. Coaches want to see that a recruit is experienced and versatile, with the ability to act quickly on their feet in high-pressure situations. When it comes down to position-specific expectations, coaches recruit student-athletes with the skills we’ve outlined below.
The only hockey position that can justify using controlled skills footage on a highlight video is goalie. Coaches expect to see some skills and drills footage that allow them to see the recruit’s skills up close. All other positions should exclusively include game footage that highlights the recruit competing in high pressure and unpredictable situations. The benefit of game footage is it shows the recruit putting their skillset to the test against other athletes as they make quick decisions under pressure, execute plays and communicate with teammates. All goal scoring positions should begin their video with a clip of them scoring a challenging goal.
While recruiting videos are typically between three to four minutes, recruits only have about 30 seconds to grab the coach’s attention and spark their interest. To make sure the video is attention-grabbing, start with the recruit’s top five clips that demonstrate the athlete performing position-specific skills flawlessly. Include an additional 15–25 strong clips from varsity competitions to finish off the video. Remember, college coaches watch hundreds of recruiting videos, so it’s likely that they won’t make it through an entire video.
Forward: College coaches look for forwards that can skate forward and backward with strong stick handling skills, maintain control when receiving and passing the puck and progressing toward the goal. Forwards need to demonstrate their technique and follow-through, as well as power and accuracy when shooting the puck.
Defense: Just as any hockey position, defenders need to demonstrate the ability to skate backward and forward efficiently. These recruits also need to highlight their ability to effectively position themselves when challenging an offensive player, good stick handling skills, strong stick possession on the puck and puck control when gaining possession and quickly clearing the puck from the defensive zone.
Goalie: College coaches want to see what goalie style (hybrid, stand-up, butterfly) the recruit uses. Goalies need to demonstrate their skating edge work with lateral movements, strong body and glove positioning in the cage, aggressiveness and playing the puck outside the crease. Include footage making various types of saves and rebound control.
While college coaches may stumble upon a recruit’s NCSA profile while browsing our network of athletes, it’s important that recruits take initiative if they want to be noticed by a college coach. The first step to catching the attention of a college coach is to send an introductory email to coaches that run ice hockey programs on the recruit’s list of target schools. Recruits should start this email explaining why they are interested in the program and what makes them a good fit for the team. To keep the conversation going, recruits should state a specific time that they plan to reach out to the coach or invite them to evaluate the recruit at an upcoming tournament or game.
Recruits will also need to provide basic information, including:
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
College coaches have a limited budget to travel the country and recruit talent, so many coaches will begin the recruiting process by evaluating recruits’ highlight video. To make a highlight video accessible to college coaches, recruits should follow the steps below: