Recruiting Video Questions

My interest is specifically in soccer, but this topic need not be that narrow in focus. If your advice is about a different sport please make sure you clearly specify that in your response.

  1. Do they have value? If yes, why do you believe they add to the process?
  2. How early in the process do you create and send videos? Does this answer change for males vs. females?
  3. How long are the videos that you create? Are they skills videos or full game footage?
  4. What video editing software do you use, and why? Which software offers the best value?
  5. Is there a recommended hosting service preferred by coaches? YouTube? Vimeo?
  6. Do you make videos public or keep them private to better analyze targeted viewing statistics?
  7. What device do you use to record the videos?

GK video expectations are different from field player as I’ve heard GK video includes practice sessions to demonstrate specific skills. Check KeeperDad recruiting thread from several years ago.

For D3 Men’s Soccer recruiting a couple years ago, we used modest handheld videocamera, no tripod, we were in bleachers to get above the play. Used imovie to select relevant clips – remember to strip out the audio, especially if you are an animated fan or even just to eliminate the parent chatter around you. For a CM, the skills demonstrated included passing, receiving, defending, speed on and off the ball, shooting. set pieces etc. Length of video was around 5-7min. No music or fancy graphics. As we got better film, we added that and deleted the older stuff. We met some coaches who said they wanted unfiltered, entire game film rather than highlights so that is what we sent.

He posted it on youtube, making it “unlisted” which meant it would not show up in a search but could be accessed by coaches he’d sent the link to. As the film had his name, email, cell phone, high school, gpa, club team, height, weight, position, jersey number – we did not want that generally accessible.

My kid was physically a late bloomer so we didn’t really film until club season 11th grade. We sent it to coaches when we were scheduling campus visits in spring of 11th grade and requesting coach meetings. Some schools which were safeties for recruiting purposes told him he had a roster spot based on film and the on campus meeting with coach, they never saw him play live. If a school was more of a match or reach for recruiting, then they definitely wanted to see him play live at tournaments and see him at camp. A program which was a big reach for recruiting purposes invited him to a small camp based on his film and communications, so film made a significant impact on that school’s process.

Sport wrestling.

  1. I think they add value although no coach told us it did so maybe I'm wrong.. If nothing else I think it is expected and a red flag if missing. But I could be wrong. For wrestling they probably add less than most because you can Google pretty much any recruitable HS wrestler and find tons of footage. I think that is different for team sports particularly, so the video is probably more valuable there.
  2. We sent it after sophomore season and updated it occasionally.
  3. This is very sport specific. Wrestling wants only complete matches. No chance a coach watches an entire 80 minute soccer match.
  4. Complete matches made that easy. Mostly I pulled a free matches from public sites, also a couple from Hudl which the team used.
  5. Used YouTube.
  6. Started private, but frankly was a hassle so switched to public.
  7. See 4.

Not sure if that helps OP much. What may be useful info for you is that I did have a recently retired college girls soccer coach suggest D do a video, he said he looked at them to do initial screening. Daughter is thinking about trying to get recruited for soccer but not really committed to it so we haven’t done video yet.

For wlax, coaches have access to all IWLCA tournament games on demand, so they can see full games any time they want. Not sure if this is true for other sports, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it is.

Agree with @dadof4kids that coaches use your video as an initial screen. No one is recruited off of film alone, but it can get you on the list to be scouted live.

For womens basketball, the coaches wanted a video of a full game and highlights of best games featuring D playing. I assume soccer is similar.

If you are sending full game videos, pick out a few places where you shine. Tell the coach “at 11:05 in the first half, I made a good defensive play/had an assist/took a shot.” They like to see the whole game but also to see YOU doing something.

I watched my daughter and her teammates so often that I could tell by the way they run who was who. A college coach wouldn’t be able to do that so need some clues as to who you are. Girls are lucky as they can say “I’m the one with the black ponytail and I have yellow tape on my stick.”

For tennis recruiting, we posted to Google Drive, sending the link to targeted coaches. We set no password (which is optional) to simplify access for the coaches. There are a number free video-editing options… including but not limited to HitFilm Express, Apple iMovie, VideoPad (good for beginners), Davinci Resolve 15 (advanced options), etc.

  1. Do they have value? If yes, why do you believe they add to the process?

Yes. I used highlights when my kid was a recruit athlete
for high school. This year. Yes, my kid made it to the dream school(s).
You can’t have good footage unless your kid can make good footage.
Coaches and AD know this. Very valuable. All coaches and AD
commented how much they liked the video.

The cycle is starting again for college and will do the same. You must practice as
much as possible to learn how to film in rain, sun, wind, cold, etc.
You must learn not to watch the game while filming.

  1. How early in the process do you create and send videos? Does this answer change for males vs. females? Today. Girls much earlier. Boys a bit later due to growth spurts. Always show skill and talent. I won't send unless I have something awesome.
  2. How long are the videos that you create? Are they skills videos or full game footage? 7 minutes max. Make long versions or very short ones, like 30 secs. Short ones can be emailed as attachments, but mostly youtube. I usually have multiple versions and remakes. You can upload full games, but they are huge if 1080P 60. Don't add weird thump, thump music.
  3. What video editing software do you use, and why? Which software offers the best value? I used freeware.
  4. Is there a recommended hosting service preferred by coaches? YouTube? Vimeo? Youtube - unlisted mode so it can't be searched. Send the link.
  5. Do you make videos public or keep them private to better analyze targeted viewing statistics? Unlisted.
  6. What device do you use to record the videos? Cheap 1080 60P camcorder from Costco. Like $250. 60 frames sec @ 1080 is a must. 4K is cool, but don't need to see sweat and blood close up. 4K files are huge. I used tripods, but camera sticks are decent to move around. Buy extra batteries and couple 128gb cards. Try not to swear or yell too much. Camera picks things up. :)

Good luck.

Sport is fencing. Daughter a frosh at D1 program.

  1. Do they have value? If yes, why do you believe they add to the process? I think they can. While tournament results, ratings, and rankings are key stats, video can show a coach the athlete's style, physique, conditioning...any particularly strong actions/weak actions. I believe sharing video of some key victories (as well as close losses) to top fencers helped bolster an admittedly second-tier "on paper" resume. The sport has several national tournaments a year where coaches can scout, but you don't know if a coach is going to catch a bad bout or a good one, if they even make time to watch your kid at all.
  2. How early in the process do you create and send videos? Does this answer change for males vs. females? We started videoing selected bouts when she was eligible for U17 and U20 age categories. We started reaching out to coaches Spring of her sophomore year, with my daughter taking over correspondence once she became an HS junior.
  3. How long are the videos that you create? Are they skills videos or full game footage? Fencing bouts are either 3 minutes long (for 5 touch bouts) or three 3-minute periods (for 15 touch bouts). We would share either an entire 5-touch bout or one period of a 15 touch bout (usually final period).
  4. What video editing software do you use, and why? Which software offers the best value? At the recommendation of a coach, we started using Dartfish. Since we didn't do a "highlight reel", not much editing was needed.
  5. Is there a recommended hosting service preferred by coaches? YouTube? Vimeo? See above. Dartfish has an app for your phone and has its own hosting site. I personally preferred this over putting things up on YT or Vimeo...for privacy as well as integration/ease of use with Dartfish app.
  6. Do you make videos public or keep them private to better analyze targeted viewing statistics? Private.
  7. What device do you use to record the videos? Mostly just a phone (because for the most part, you can get very close to action at fencing tournaments). We'd occasionally use a mirrorless digital camera (not a DSLR), but would always import footage to Dartfish app.

Video is extremely valuable. For goalkeepers, video is going to tell a lot about quickness and also game decisions. Do NOT submit a full game, especially for goalkeepers. I certainly can see why a coach would request a full game for basketball. Since only five play, it is possible to see a lot about a player off the ball, defensive abilities, how much playing time the player gets, the whole nine yards. For a goalkeeper, who may get only so many plays a game, well, I do not see a coach doing more than ignoring the video entirely. I would keep the length to five or six minutes.

I do disagree with @ISDN1200 about when to start. Start now. I had one coach (boys) tell me that he was grateful for more than one video (a year apart) because it showed development.

I would shoot at least four games, more if possible. If the only reason you are shooting is your child and he or she is a goalkeeper (and there are other possible reasons, like highlights for a team banquet), focus the camera with a decent view to capture a good part of the field in front of the goal and leave it there. Make sure that the camera view is wide enough to see the keeper coming off his or her line. And situate it somewhere where the coaches and bench players will not block the view. As your skill level increases, you can try zooming in, but you always run the risk of missing a part of the play and it can be distracting.

Editing software doesn’t need to be that fancy. I think I used IMovie. Just divide the tape up into skills from the several games. Start with saves. Then do coming off line, punts, six kicks, corners, crosses, one on ones.

I do believe that it is possible (at least at the D3 level) to be recruited based on video alone. This is even more likely to happen at the margins with goalkeepers, since it is a specialty position. If a team needs a goalkeeper, and has three in mind and all three commit elsewhere, it is possible that the decision would be made on video alone. I doubt however, that any coach would recruit a goalkeeper without either seeing him or her in person or on tape.

Soccer experience:

make them 3 minutes or less; have your very best stuff at the beginning (you want to make sure it grabs attention and they don’t get bored and stop watching); there are occasionally coaches who will ask for the whole game, but not usually (and mostly just for field players). Used iMovie (free on mac) and youtube. Youtube has cool features that lets you see what state the person was from who watched it, which videos and how long they watched. If you don’t put your kids full name in the youtube descriptor you can just make it public.

if your kid is a goalie there’s no point in seeing the ball in the other teams defensive side … The full game videos were made by the club hired videographer but the youtubes made by parent with iMovie. In reality, if you are somewhat accurate at which level of play your kid fits, than a school camp is not a bad idea. Do contact coaches first, since if they already have a goalie committed that year you do not want to even bother having that coach watch .

Film most games yourself and use You Tube. Use their editing to add brackets, captioning etc. You can do this all yourself. It is extremely time consuming, but to create a season highlight that capture’s your kid’s athleticism is totally worth it. No more than 3 minutes. Showcases are great, but what if your athlete’s greatest save came during a tournament or game where there were no scouts?
Create a recruiting page on Be Recruited. You can easily do this yourself. Do not recommend NCSA. They charge for providing nothing. With soccer recruiting starts freshman year so the earlier the better.

Much good advice above. Prefer as well, worked well for D19 (soccer not her sport)–coaches followed her and did contact her thru her account there, and her videos received many views. I do not know how active soccer coaches are on berecruited though.

Regarding video, the athlete should also have a twitter account. Pin the video at the top of the account. Follow target schools and coaches on twitter, retweet their tweets to start activity. Follow other accounts that make sense–high school, sport specific associations, teams, etc.

My DD is a volleyball athlete.

  1. Video has value in any sport where technique matters. Sports based on time or distance (T&F, swimming) may not need it as desperately, but in most other sports it lets a coach know who you've been playing with and against, at what level, and how much of your success is physical vs skill. I would create a video out of the clips from all six matches from a weekend tournament so it was a large enough pile to make a good highlights film and still showed a point in time. If you put a couple out there coaches can compare progress from the President's Day tournament in one year to the next, for example.
  2. When to start is based on the sport, but in general D1 picks first, then D2 and D3 get what's left. So if your athlete's skill has you aiming at D1 or D3 then your starting date will depend on the goal. VB liked to see top kids as early as ninth or even eighth grade, but the traditional dates are changing as the NCAA recruiting rules have been in motion the past couple years. regardless, the gathering of film for the vast majority really gets moving as a soph. DD is usually mostly grown by then and has found an appropriate level of play so film has more value.
  3. Have both a highlights film of 3-5 minutes that a coach can glance at and also make longer clips available if asked. Again, what coaches want depend on the sport. In VB it can be valuable to make a skills tape that is just a coach and player in a gym doing a bunch of reps rather than game film that might have been culled from years of games.
  4. I grabbed something free for my win7 box, VSDC Free Video Editor. You're only looking at slapping a bunch of clips together and maybe throw an arrow over your player and some text at the front and back ends. Drop out the sound or dial it way back. Anyway, it isn't Lord of the Rings so keep it simple.

5/6. We used Youtube and just put the basics into the video description to make it searchable (Firstname Last initial Clubname 2016 right side). The email to the coach would contain a direct link as well as a good search string.

  1. We just used an old digital camera, but others use ipads or phones. It just needs to be good enough to exhibit your child's skills, not Ken Burns National Parks greatness. And when you upload to the internet they're going to get squashed down before being sent to a coach's laptop while they eat dinner. This is not art.

another thing…DON"T do music intro or overlay. And mute or silence all " GO JOHNNY". You will get your kid’s application tossed into the can and be labeled “that kind of parent” otherwise.

What about using slow motion for a complicated/quick play? Opinions?

@cinnamon1212: One thing that I like about the Dartfish ecosystem is that it allows a coach (if they also have Dartfish) to download and playback at reduced speed/rewind/fast-forward. We only supplied video in real-time.

@cinnamon1212 Soccer coaches consistently said, no music, graphics or fancy editing – just the play, with a way to identify your player. I watched lots of soccer recruiting videos to help figure out what it should look like and found the repeat of the play, or slow down of the play, a distraction. If I found it unnecessary to slow down the sweet move to appreciate it, I’m guessing that a coach can recognize the skill at regular pace.

For golf, several coaches asked for slow motion swing videos,even though most video can be slowed down and viewed frame by frame. So, rather than tell the coaches they were so low tech, we sent them slo mo video and put it on becruited and twitter as well.

for soccer you don’t need to slow it down also many of the assistant/recruiting coaches are under 30 and they know how to use Youtube to slow things down if they even wanted to. (speaking for soccer)