Tuesday, October 16, 2012

7 Tips for Better Recruiting Videos

You would be absolutely amazed at how many recruiting videos are sent to college baseball coaches everyday.  And the larger the school, the more videos they're going to receive.  So, if part of your recruiting plan is sending videos to coaches (and it should be!) I want to give you a few tips about making videos that coaches will enjoy watching.

First, let me say that a good video doesn't guarantee that you're a good fit for a particular school, and a poor video doesn't mean that you won't have the opportunity to play college baseball.  These are just tips coming from a college baseball coach about what we like to see, and some things we don't.  These are just my opinions, but I know a lot of other coaches feel the same way that I do!

1.  Send a DVD or link to YouTube?
I think that every coach would rather have a PSA (prospective student-athlete) send them a link to a video hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or a recruiting service rather than send them a physical copy of a DVD.  The reason for this is because it's quicker for us to click on a link and then watch the video as opposed to inserting a DVD into our disc drive, waiting for it to load, and then watching the video.  You may be thinking "It may only take 30 seconds for a coach to load a DVD, what's the big deal?" Well, imagine a coach is getting a dozen DVDs in the mail everyday...they may spend 10 minutes just taking DVDs in and out of the player.  It's much more convenient to just click a link and immediately see the video.

Also, it's a lot easier to find that video again just by searching for the prospects name in my inbox than it is sorting through a stack of DVDs.  So, if I like your video and want to pull it up again to show one of the other coaches I can just forward them the email that you sent me instead of giving them the only copy of the DVD that I have.

This one is a no-brainer...coaches want video emailed to them.

2.  Include all your crucial information in the video.
Let's say I like your video and it sparks some interest.  The next thing I'm going to ask myself is "What are his grades like?  What is his coach's contact information?  What year in school is he (you would be surprised, but this is left out A LOT)?  What summer ball team does he play for?"

All of this info should be in the intro/exit to the video.  Include anything you think is important that a coach might need to continue recruiting you.  Here are a few examples of info that MUST be included:

Grades/Test Scores
Phone #
Coach's Contact Info
60 Yard Dash Time

Don't have all that info scroll for the first minute of your video!  Put it up there briefly (10 seconds or so) just so the coach knows it's there and can reference it if he needs to.

3.  How long should the video be?
I've received videos that are as short as 1:30, and some that are as long as 10:00.  You have to remember that college coaches are busy and receive a lot of videos.  I said earlier that we might receive a dozen videos a day.  If they're all 10 minutes long do you really think that we have 2 hours every day to devote to watching videos emailed to us?  No, we don't!  We watch every video that crosses our desks, but can't spend all day doing it!

I'd recommend keeping the videos to 3 or 4 minutes maximum.  If the coach isn't interested after watching 3 minutes of video that YOU SELECTED he may not be interested in you.

4.  Use a Tripod.
It's much easier to evaluate a player when the camera is stabilized and not bouncing all over the place, and ultimately that's what you want!  An inexpensive tripod can be bought at Wal-Mart or Target for about $20.

Sometimes when Mom is videoing a game and you crush a ball in the gap she will jump up and down and scream right next to the microphone.  That doesn't make good footage, and it brings me to my next point...

5.  Know what audio is in the video.
Using the same example, I know that Mom is excited that you just hit a double, but we don't want to hear her screaming.  Sorry Mom!

I have also been sent videos where whoever is recording was having a conversation with another parent about the coach...that's going to get your video immediately turned off and deleted!  Listen to the video before you post it online or send it out.  If there are any derogatory comments about the coach put the video on mute and add a song to the background music.

Here is another tip about adding a song in the background...believe it or not, it doesn't have to be an AC/DC song!  I actually like AC/DC, but it seems like half of the videos I receive either have Back in Black, or Thunderstruck in them.  Be sure to choose a song that has clean lyrics and gives off the right message about you.

6.  Game vs. Practice footage.
This is one that could create some debate.  I prefer receiving practice footage over game footage, but all coaches won't agree with me.  The pros of practice footage is that you get more "bang for your buck" from a time standpoint.  I can see you throw a 20 pitch bullpen in 2 minutes.  For me to watch you throw 20 pitches in a game situation it might take 10 minutes.  Or, if you're a hitter, I don't want to see your entire 12-pitch AB...I just want to see your best swings.

However, a lot of coaches want to see game footage to know that you can do it in a real game.

My suggestion is to have both.  If you're a hitter show 10-15 swings in the cage or at practice, and then show a video of you blasting a HR in a game.

7.  What to include in your video?
Position Players:
We want to see you hitting, fielding, throwing, and running.

Hitting: Practice swings or game swings (read above).
Fielding: Taking ground balls/fly balls so that we can see your mechanics.
Throwing: Place the camera where we can watch the flight of the ball.  That is how we're going to measure your arm strength (if a radar gun isn't available).
Running: If you have video of the 60 dash that's great, if not include yourself running to 1B.  Coaches will put the stopwatch on you just like if they were at the game so use a clip that shows you hitting the ball and touching first base.

I hope these 7 tips help you create better recruiting videos and to also understand what coaches are looking for in your video!

We want to see you throw all of your pitches.  FB, CB, SL, CH, whatever you've got, show it to us in the video.  Be sure to throw them out of the windup and the stretch!

It's not a bad idea to show it from a few different angles too.  Have some video of the camera behind the mound (so we can watch the flight of the ball), and some video of you from your open side (camera at 3B for a right handed pitcher) so that we can really watch your mechanics.

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