Progression matters as much as pins
The first step in any high school athlete’s recruiting process should be the creation of an online profile and a highlight video. For wrestlers, the highlight video is even more important, as college coaches lack the time and budget to check out every potential recruit in person. And if you want your video to stand out, make sure you include what coaches are looking for.
What To Include
Though “highlight video” your best moves, to assess your full potential, college wrestling coaches usually want to see four or five full matches. The video you include of those matches should also allow coaches to gauge your ability in neutral, top, and bottom positions. Try to focus about 60% of the video showing you in the neutral position and 30% in the top position. The remainder should show your ability in the bottom position.
When choosing matches to include, choose matches where you were challenged by high-level opponents, not pushovers. Then narrow your focus to matches where you can show off your best takedowns from neutral, your top turning combinations, and your impressive escapes and reversals.
More specifically, your highlight video should feature both your basic skills and your advanced abilities. Therefore, the matches you include should show the full breadth of your skills, not just a repeat of your two or three best takedowns. Further, including matches against your toughest opponents will help coaches determine if you can compete at the collegiate level. It’s also fine to include Freestyle and Greco Roman clips, as it shows that you compete in the off-season and that you’ve wrestled against top competition. Finally, remember to make sure that you’re always identified in each match video so a coach knows who to evaluate and include an ID card at the beginning and end which includes your name and graduation year.
The key to wrestling highlight videos is to provide enough footage for a coach to see your potential. If it’s too short, coaches may not see what they’re looking for and move on. Make it too long and a coach may tune out before your video makes that positive impression. Just remember that your highlight video doesn’t need to be a career retrospective. Instead, grab a coach’s attention early, make sure the rest of the video shows all your skills and keeps them engaged, and limit the length to five to 10 minutes.
Putting It All Together
The best place to start assembling footage for a highlight video is your high school or club coach. When choosing which matches to include, again, higher-level competition is always better.
If you need to have someone take video for you, shoot from a vantage point that allows the inclusion of as much of the mat as possible, but also focuses on the wrestlers and referee. Be sure to use a tripod for a steady shot and avoid zoom-ins and zoom-outs. To video the scoreboard, wait until the match is between rounds or finished. Finally, make sure the person shooting your video isn’t cheering and keep noise distractions to a minimum. If you do wind up with too much distracting noise, simply reduce or mute the volume. Don’t add a music soundtrack.
Get Your Video Seen
Once you’ve made a highlight video focused on what coaches want to see, you still have to get it seen. To do that, start by compiling a list of schools that you’re not only interested in, but that also fits you academically and athletically. Then, send a personalized email to each coach or recruiter at those schools and include a link to your highlight video. That first email may not get you an immediate scholarship offer, but if it piques a coach’s interest, it will get you on their recruiting radar.
Finally, once you’ve completed your highlight video, posted it, and shared the link with coaches, keep it updated. Coaches look for development, progression, improvement, and growth. Edit it in new matches as your competition level rises and make sure to let the coaches on your list know when you’ve updated your video.
Now that you know what college wrestling coaches want to see in a highlight video, be sure you make a video that will be worth their time. Then, when they do take the time to view it, they’ll see you’ve got what they want for their team!
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