Rule the Pitch, Roll in the Offers: A Guide to Recruiting

Let a college coach tell you exactly what he’s looking for in a highlight video, and how to make a good first impression so you can jumpstart the recruiting process. 

Rule the Pitch, Roll in the Offers: A Guide to Recruiting

Let a college coach tell you exactly what he’s looking for in a highlight video, and how to make a good first impression so you can jumpstart the recruiting process. 

The recruiting landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. It has always been highly competitive, but the field has been leveled through the use of tools like Hudl alongside social media, all in an effort to help players gain exposure.

Showcasing your talent to scouts at higher levels has never been easier, but what exactly are they looking for that can help you stand out from the crowd?

We sat down with Bridgewater State University coach Brendan Adams, the 2014 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, to talk highlights, how to catch the eyes of scouts and much more.

Club vs. High School

In the modern game, especially in the older age groups, many prefer to play for their local club over their school if the seasons overlap. The competition in league and tournament play with a club team might be higher than that of the high school, but Adams stressed the importance of showcasing both.

“I just think that it’s an added way, for a kid that plays both high school and club, for us to go see them play,” said Adams. “It might not be at the highest levels, but that’s why it’s important to see both. How they handle the speed of the game and all of that good stuff, but I think it’s just more about getting a chance to see the kids play.”

The Power of a Highlight

Highlights are critical in getting recruited and creating buzz for your game. It’s many coaches’ first glance at how you conduct yourself on the pitch, so that only increases the importance of having a polished piece to show off. “I do get a lot of the highlights, and see a lot with Hudl,” said Adams. “I can go online, do a Google search and usually I’ll find his name with Hudl highlights on there. Then I have a better clue as to what this kid is all about when it comes time to actively recruit him.”

Recruiters are constantly in contact with coaches, so it is crucial that you have an up-to-date highlight ready to share at a moment’s notice. It can make all the difference.

But what should you include? It’s important to stand out, so make sure you include bits that show off your complete makeup on the field of play. “I think it’s important that they show a wide range of how they play the ball, some of those basic skills,” said Adams. “It’s something on highlights that I’d love to see. If you’re setting up a highlight for a kid, mention that it’d be nice to showcase a full body of work. I’d like to think I’m not the only one that wants to see kids playing with both feet, things like that.”

For example, forwards should show off things like finishing ability in front of goal, the runs they make off the ball to find and create space and their ability to hold the ball up for teammates. Midfielders should showcase their ability to dictate the pace and play of the game through video. “I think it’s important to show yourself so that we don’t lose you [on film],” said Adams. “Tell your story on how you are as a player.”

Value of a Good First Impression

You hear it all the time -  the first impression is everything, and that’s the truth when it comes to recruiting. The first time a recruiter gets in contact with you could make or break their decision to offer you, so make sure you know how to interact with them.

“One of the skills you can’t pick up on (in a highlight) is how much they communicate,” said Adams. “Personally, in this day and age people fall back on texting or email and you don’t even hear a conversation. If you have a center back, one of the things I’m going to look for is how much they talk, and if they’re not, then is that something that’s going to hurt at the next level?”

There’s no denying the power of social media, but make your social media a tool that helps you in recruiting, not one that hurts your potential. Keep your social media channels clean and clear of clutter that might turn someone off to you. Let it be an avenue that shows off your character.

The Big Picture

  1. If you play for your club and for your high school, make sure they get a chance to see you play in both environments, whether that’s in-person or via video.
  2. Utilize the power of video to show off your full arsenal. Take the time to craft a highlight that showcases everything you can offer a program on the pitch.
  3. Quality video goes a long way. Make sure that they can identify you on the pitch through spot shadows and call-outs. Make yourself pop off the screen.
  4. Take ownership of the process. Reach out to the schools you want to attend, but do so in a way that demonstrates initiative.
  5. Keep your social media channels clean. Use it as a tool that shows off your character.

Now it’s time for you to put everything into action. Get started by creating a premium highlight, and share that thing out on social. (Mention @HudlFootball and we’ll RT a few of our favorites.)

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