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How to Make a Quality Highlight Video

Before you’re offered a spot on a college team, the coach will usually want to see you play in person.

While a highlight video isn’t a substitute for seeing you play in person, it’s a great way to convince the coach to come see you play. When sending a video to a coach you’re just trying to distinguish yourself as someone to be sought out.

Highlight videos are useful, but often overrated. Whether or not you make a video usually won’t make or break your campaign. It’s just another tool you can provide to help the coach make an informed decision.

A Bad Video Won’t Help You Make Any Headway

College coaches receive hundreds, if not thousands, of highlight clips per year and many of those are low quality. Some videos look like they’ve been filmed during an earthquake, or the quality of the video is so grainy that players are little more than blurs on the screen. While some are sleep-inducing, others are downright painful to watch. Don’t be another statistic and send THAT video. 

If you are not able to provide a stable and quality highlight video, tell the coach and find a way to provide them something basic that is good quality.

When you do share a video with a coach, make sure it’s easy to figure out who you are on the screen. Include your uniform number or find a way to briefly highlight yourself on the video itself.

Camera Angle and Zoom

When filming, the camera’s distance from the field or court is very important. Close-ups don’t show the context in which plays develop, and excessively wide-range shots come across as one big smudge on the screen. Find the happy medium that best showcases the highlight you want to feature.

What to Put on Your Video

You have 1 minute to catch the attention of a college coach through your highlight video. Videos should start with a brief, personal introduction and an explanation of how the college coach can identify the recruit in the video. After that, it’s on to action footage.

1. Introduction

Take 10-15 seconds to give a brief introduction with your name, team, and position and why you want to play college sports. It is ok to be yourself here and distinguish yourself, but know that your time is limited.

2. Identification

Inform the coach on how to identify you in the video. Ideally, you would use your position and uniform number if it’s legible but can utilize highlighting tools to briefly place your location on the field.

3. Action Footage

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the actual content of a recruiting video. Most coaches prefer edited clips. Yet there are a few who like to watch recruits’ games in full. If most of your candidate coaches are asking for a short highlight video, you’ll know which format to use. You can also be diplomatic and incorporate elements of each.

Highlights

If you choose to do a highlight reel, show the video clips in context. In other words, don’t just show yourself making a good pass. Show the buildup to the pass. Employ the 5-second rule: show 5 seconds of play before and after the highlight. The coach wants to see how the play developed and how you were involved throughout.

Run-of-Play

If you have access to high-quality video in which you are easily distinguished and featured regularly, you might prefer to utilize a more free-running, extended play format. Run-of-play videos can incorporate anything from five-minute unedited clips to an entire game. Don’t show run-of-play action if you are only recognizable in the frame once every 10 minutes. Watching such a video is a waste of the coach’s time; he or she will lose interest quickly.

4. Length

A highlight reel shouldn’t last longer than 3-5 minutes. Run-of-play videos can feature 10-minute uninterrupted spans. Whether a coach will watch it all is another matter, but at least extended play is available if needed.

If you use extended footage, provide a key that identifies you and your role at specific times on the video. Do at least a little editing, by cutting footage when you’re not on the field.

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