What Are Coaches Looking For in a College Recruitment Video?

Let’s face it, we’re all extremely busy and college coaches are no different. Their jobs go beyond practices and games; it would be impossible for them to travel the country to evaluate every potential college recruit. A recruitment video gives student-athletes from around the United States the opportunity to get the attention of coaches and showcase their skills. In fact, studies have shown that a recruiting profile that includes a highlight video receives more than 10 times as many views compared to those without one. There is no denying the importance of a well made recruitment video as a crucial part of your recruiting process.

Recruitment Video

What is a Recruitment Video?

A highlight video, also known as a recruitment video, by definition is pretty simple: clips from your recent game film that highlight your talent and skills as an athlete. Creating a recruitment video on the other hand, is not so simple. With the increasing access to free editing software, many people now believe they are professional video editors. And while they may be able to create some cool looking Instagram Reels or even a wedding highlight video, a college recruiting video is something completely different.

College Coach

What Are Coaches Looking For in a Recruitment Video?

What you think, your parents think, and what a college coach thinks should be in a recruitment video could be completely different. Simply put, a recruitment video is not SportsCenter’s Top Ten plays. Coaches don’t care to just see goal after goal or assist after assist. They’re not looking to see every goal from your season, they want to get inside your brain and get a sense of your sport IQ. This is why after a coach sees your recruitment video, they will often follow up and ask to see an unedited full length game.  If you had to cherry pick clips throughout the season, this could be a worrisome request. 

Coaches want to see a play develop, you react and anticipate a play, how you move in space, and so on. A lot of the time when parents provide us with clip times, they start them too late in the play or cut off too early. They wrongly believe coaches only want to see the “action”, a steal, a goal, or an assist. But without context, coaches don’t know how that play developed. You could have been standing in place waiting for the ball to come to you or making a play developing run that opened up the field. An incorrectly edited recruitment video can make a strong aggressive player come off as a lazy player.

Football Player

What Should Be Included in a Recruitment Video?

What should be included in a college recruitment video is going to vary based on sport and position. But generally, you want to showcase your skills broadly. Rarely are college coaches looking for a player that can do just one thing. If you have a hard stance and will only play in college if you get to play exactly when and how you want, chances are you might not make the roster. Take for example two-time Olympic champion, Ashton Eaton. When he arrived at the University of Oregon, he only completed in two of the ten events of the Decathlon, but his coaches saw the determination and talent in him to be something more. 

As mentioned above, you want to showcase your sports IQ. With your recruitment video, you only get a snapshot to communicate to a coach your skills and the most important of these is that you understand the game at a higher level than most players. You’ll want to vary the skills you showcase because as we know, college coaches are busy. They have a limited time to watch your video and if they only choose to watch 30-seconds, you want them to see more than just one type of play.

Sports Video Editing

How Long Should a Recruitment Video Be?

Speaking of coaches’ limited time, the length of your video is important. It’s the same weird phenomenon where sitting down for a 2-hour movie may seem like too much before bed, but you’ll watch six episodes of The Office instead. Even if a coach is only going to watch a short section of a video, seeing a video come in at 15-minutes can feel daunting. You want to keep your recruitment video to 3-5 minutes in length, the sweet spot being somewhere more in the 2-4 minute range. The first 60-seconds of your video are the most critical, so use that time wisely. Conversely, don’t include a bunch of what we call, “filler clips” at the end of your video to meet a certain video length. If a coach does watch the whole video, it can leave them less than excited at the end. 

When our sport-specific play analyzers at American Sports Memories review game footage, they rate every play on a five point scale: 1- Fine, 2- Okay, 3- Good, 4- Great, 5- Scoring Play (Goal or Assist). We do this when reviewing the game footage a first time, and again a second time once all the clips are cut up and grouped by rating. This is because a play in game 2 might have seemed like a good play but when put together with the good plays from the other games, we realize it is either stronger or weaker.

Recruitment Video Files

How many Recruitment Videos Should I have?

There is no magic number on how many recruitment videos will ensure you get to play in college. When working with families, we always advise them to weigh the benefits vs the cost. Some families have a larger budget for the recruiting process and want to have a recruitment video created for every game or every three games of the season while others may do only one per season or one overall. 

The benefits of multiple recruitment videos come down to individual athletes and their sport which may have diminishing returns. The benefit of multiple recruiting videos is to have content ready for coaches to see and be able to showcase how you develop as a player from season to season. Additionally, a new recruitment video is a conversation starter with a coach to ensure you stay on their radar. Now, we wouldn’t recommend emailing a coach a new recruitment video every week during the peak of their busy time, but you can include those videos on your profile so when coaches go to check it out they discover the new content on their own. But if you create a recruitment video midway and at the conclusion of your season, this is a good time to send these to coaches to show continued interest in their program and demonstrate your ongoing growth.

Recruitment Video Night

What Should I Avoid When Creating a Recruitment Video?

Your Favorite Song: Copyrighted music can get you into trouble and bluntly put, coaches don’t want to hear lyrics and especially not swearing in the videos. Keep is simple with instrumental royalty free music.

Too Many of the Same Clips: While scoring 15 penalty kicks is impressive, it becomes repetitive and will turn a coach away from finishing a video.

Multiple Sport Clips: Just like a resume, you need to tailor your recruitment video for the team you want. If you’re a multisport athlete, note it on your biography page but focus the clips on which programs you’re targeting. If you play football and basketball and can’t choose which one to play in college, you’ll need two recruitment videos.

Filters and Special Effects: The latest Reel Filter isn’t going to make you jump off the screen, this is routine work for coaches and you don’t want to make an outlandish decision be the reason they shut your video off early.

Poor Video Clips: Shaky and grainy videos are not enjoyable to watch for anyone, coaches included. If your team doesn’t have high quality film accessible, ask a friend or another parent if they do. 

Celebration Clips: A coach is looking for a team player. Don’t include clips of you performing a long drawn out celebration by yourself after a goal. A short team celebration after a goal or game with your teammates is okay, but not an important part of a recruitment video.

Final Thoughts

A recruitment video is different from a keepsake video. Newspaper screenshots and references from coaches are all recruiting components that are best saved for your profile or introduction email to coaches. Your recruitment video needs to stay organized and focused on its objective. Many times parents want to include too much of an emotional appeal in their videos and while it is important to showcase your personal characteristics in the video, you don’t want to go overboard. These elements are important and are great to include in a keepsake video that you can look back on in 5, 10 years and remember the good ol’ days.

About American Sports Memories

Established in 2010, American Sports Memories is one of the largest and most trusted sports production companies in the United States. Over the years, we have worked with thousands of players, coaches, and parents to capture high quality game film and develop result getting recruitment videos. To learn more about our services, click here.