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College Recruiting Highlight Reel

College Recruiting Highlight Reel

College Recruiting Highlight Reel
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The Important Role of Highlight and Skills Videos in Recruiting by NCSA Next College Student Athlete.

There is no denying the crucial role highlight videos can play for many student-athletes in their recruiting process. College coaches are extremely busy; it would be impossible for them to travel the country to evaluate every potential recruit. Highlight videos are a chance to get student-athletes in front of coaches and give them an unbiased look at their skills and abilities. It’s a fact that online recruiting profiles that include a highlight video receive more than 10 times as much traffic as those without one. A great highlight video can sometimes be a difference-maker that gets a student-athlete some serious attention from college coaches.

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Highlight video vs. skills video

A highlight video is exactly that: Clips of your game footage that highlight your talent and skill. These videos are important because they save coaches time by allowing them to quickly review hundreds of student-athletes without having to visit them in person.

A skills video, unlike a highlight video, includes a series of staged sport-specific actions outside of a game setting. It is not necessary for every sport or position but can be a helpful way to demonstrate to coaches your technical abilities and mastery of a key skill.

When and how do I get footage?

It’s never too early to start collecting video. You might not use the footage from middle or early high school in your final reel, but it’s a good idea to get used to filming, as there are nuances to capturing the best video for each sport. Ultimately, you should aim to have your highlight video created by the end of your junior year, as long as it feature varsity-level competition.

There are a few different ways to get video:

  • Before the start of your junior season, find out if your high school/club coach takes video. Coaches typically film games to break them down later. Ask for a copy of the footage.

  • Ask the families of other teammates for game footage they’ve shot.

  • Rent or purchase a good camera and tripod and shoot the video yourself.

  • Contact a video company to record the game. 

  • Once you’ve secured video equipment, it’s important to keep in mind some filming best practices:

  • Get footage from multiple games throughout the season so you have plenty of clips to choose from.

  • Find a place to film where you have a clear view of the entirety of the action, while being as close as you can.

  • Keep your cheering to a minimum. While it’s hard not to root for your student-athlete, if you’re next to the camera, your sound is going to be picked up the loudest and can distract from the video.

How do I put together a highlight video?

After you’ve collected enough footage, it’s time to start editing. The goal is to put together a video that showcases what your student-athlete can do, as this is one of the main ways coaches evaluate a potential recruit. Here are some tips for putting together a great highlight video:

  • Include the right highlights. Depending on your sport, coaches will be looking for different types of footage. For example, it’s important for basketball and football videos to show in-game footage, but sports like baseball and softball should focus more on technical skills.

  • Keep your video short—about three to five minutes. If a coach wants to see footage of a whole game, they will request it.

  • Showcase your best clips first. Sometime coaches won’t watch more than the first 20 or 30 seconds of your video. If you start out strong, you have a better chance of capturing their attention.

  • Use freeze frames and/or spot shadows. Right before the action begins, freeze the video so the coach can see what has been set up. Then, add a circle or arrow to identify yo