There are hundreds of teams with thousands of athletes playing in tournaments across the country every weekend. The environment isn’t conducive to getting noticed by recruiters, many of whom arrive with a set list of athletes they’re going to watch.
Instead of getting lost in the crowd, your athletes can leverage tournament matches to create highlights that’ll help recruiters see them before they arrive on-site at the next tournament.
Our friends at Locker Room Talk asked college coaches what they look for in a highlight—they passed along the best bits for us to share with you.
Keep It Updated
Let's start off by stating that highlights in and of themselves aren't going to get you a scholarship. No coach sees a highlight and immediately offers a player. But they play a huge role in getting your name in front those college coaches you want to play for. So it's important that you have one ready to send when the time comes.
Your club will play multiple matches every weekend for months. As an athlete, that means hundreds of plays every weekend eligible for a highlight. So it’s important athletes don’t just create one after the first tournament and call it a day.
Ball State head coach Kelli Miller suggests continually editing highlights. "Having a consistent video is important to show progression so I'd suggest updating it or sending out new film about once a month or after a big tournament,” she said.
Updates gives coaches the opportunity to see athletes against different competition, but it also shows how athletes have developed and grown over the season.
“Email with updates and new video once every other month,” Greg Goral, head coach at Campbell University, said. “Show progression.”
Make it Personal
Once you have a list of clips ready to send, it's critical to start building a relationship. Coaches are busy—dedicating time to someone who isn’t invested in their program is a lost cause. Be sure your athletes stand out when they contact coaches. You have to teach them how to interact with these coaches.
“Tell us about yourself, who you play for, your travel schedule and how you did in the fall with your high school team,” University of West Alabama head coach Alexis Meeks said. “We love emails and encourage kids to follow schools they really like on social media. Best way to get information.”
Doug Porterfield, head coach at Roberts Wesleyan College, agrees contact and establishing a relationship is the key to the recruiting process. “The best way is to show me that you are interested. No form emails created by your recruiting profile page,” he said. “You want the coach to remember you beyond the conversion.”
Let the Camera Roll
Almost all of the coaches they talked with agreed it’s important to see entire plays unfold, not just the little bit a specific athlete’s involved in.
Sending recruiting packages through Hudl allows coaches access to those full plays. Coaches evaluate more than just skill—they’re looking for good teammates and athletes who will fit in with their culture.
"I prefer un-edited game film,” Dale Starr, head coach at Robert Morris University, said. “[It] doesn't have to be a full match, but I want to see reactions to good plays and bad plays. How you interact with teammates, body language, etc. Anyone can be made to look great in a highlight film."
Krista Cobb, head coach at Ohio Wesleyan, explained she wants see a complete picture. “We want to see your movements prior to the play so we can evaluate your training and how you are getting your results,” Cobb said.
College coaches want to see an athlete’s development, and they want to hear directly from them. Teach your athletes to take ownership of the recruiting process—have them reach out with a personalized email telling recruiters why they’re a good fit for their program. If they throw in an updated highlight link, made with these tips from college coaches, they’ll be set up for success.