If you want to get on a college coach’s radar, it is very important for you to be marketing yourself to them especially with game film video links. Although the media often portrays the image that college coaches will just come knocking at your door if you are a talented athlete, that just isn’t the reality for about 95% of the students who get recruited! You need to take a proactive approach to emailing college coaches. I highly recommend finding ways to distinguish yourself from the hundreds of emails in their inbox. We have created a document to help you in the process: Special Report: Strategies to Emailing a College Coach.
A very essential aspect to your initial emails to the coach should include a video link of your athletic abilities in competition. If you are in a team sport, coaches want to see game film, but most do not want an entire game. It needs to have some editing. However, it is important to note you do NOT need to spend hundreds or even thousands on a professional video service!
In the research for my book on the college recruiting process, Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide, we interviewed 65 college coaches and athletic directors to get further insight beyond my fourteen years as a college coach. The majority of these coaches stated they valued videoclips as a first step of the recruiting process, but that it did not need to be a professional video. For the majority of coaches, it is acceptable to put a video together and put it on youtube and send the link to a coach!
Here are some important tips in creating those video links as gathered from interviewing those 65 college recruiters:
- Most coaches want a video 3-8 minutes long. College coaches get tons of videos each week. The video is often the first step to getting a coach to come see you play live. They rarely will watch more than the first 5 minutes, so make sure those first minutes demonstrate your best competition footage.
- Always show 15-30 seconds before and after the play. Provide multiple clips including 15-30 seconds before and 15-30 seconds after the student-athlete makes a play, especially for sports that are constant moving (lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, football). The recruiters want to see how the play was set up which impacted the decisions you made, as well as what you did after the play.
- For team sports, show a large playing surface. Make sure the view on the video shows a lot of the playing surface and others around you, especially for larger sized games like lacrosse, soccer, football, field hockey, etc. Even for for indoor sports like volleyball and basketball, most coaches are looking for your decision-making both on and off the ball. When the film only shows the athlete up close, it only provides a limited amount of evaluation of their technical skills versus their tactical decision-making. I received thousands of videos over the years, and this was one of the biggest mistakes a recruit could make. Make sure you tell your videographer what is needed!
- Help the coaches quickly identify you from your teammates. In the student’s email to the coach, it is imperative that you label the team’s color, position being played, jersey number, and I highly encourage the athlete to wear something to identify them quickly multiple times if allowed in your league such as a wrist/headband, bright colored cleats, a braid in your hair, etc. It makes it easier for a coach to see you in multiple clips and quickly identify the same athlete, as jersey numbers aren’t always clear from a distance.
- Include your contact information at the beginning and end. Always, always, always include your name, high school/travel club, graduation year, and email address. Again, coaches get hundreds, if not thousands of videos in a span of a few weeks. I would often sit down with 1-2 weeks worth of video links and I would forget which recruit I was watching. Always including this information will help a coach differentiate you from the others!
- Stay Safe! After you have uploaded the video online, make sure you create a password to protect it on Youtube since your personal information is now included in the video and submit it to the coaches in your email. This is very important to protect your identity!
- Differentiate yourself. You can set the video up to also have background music but again, this doesn’t have to be a major production. I had one potential recruit who had some guitar skills include an original song in the background. Another student-athlete sent a letter via snail mail with her video on a dvd and included 2 bags of popcorn for me to enjoy as I watched it. I definitely remembered that recruit when it came to offering a scholarship. Go above and beyond to make this first impression the best you can!
- Mute the conversations. Coaches really, really, really don’t want to hear parents on the sidelines! Ask whoever is filming the video for you to turn the microphone off while filming or use the music to cover up the crowd’s conversations!
- Follow-up with the coach. Especially if you are a junior or senior, it is important to send a follow-up email to the coach about 7-10 days after you sent your initial email to investigate their interest level in you as a potential student-athlete for their team. If they are in their championship season, you may want to give them more like 10-14 days as they are likely swamped with traveling for their season.
It is imperative you only ask if they are able to provide feedback on your potential as a recruit for them.
I do not recommend asking about scholarships at this initial stage in the process. Many coaches will still want to see you live before they would offer a roster spot or athletic scholarships as we describe in our recent blog Coaching Beyond the X’s & O’s.
Providing film to college coaches can be very valuable to understand where you stand with a potential university.
While it is not typically the only information a coach needs in making a decision, it is a very crucial component to the process, especially for team sports. They will still want to evaluate your test scores, GPA, class rank, get to know your character, and hear from references. They will typically want to also evaluate your potential for leadership as well (Be sure to read our Special Report: Leadership Characteristics College Coaches Look For in Recruits). Be proactive with sending your video links, along with a professionally written email, to market yourself early in your high school career! These steps can help you in taking steps towards finding the right athletic college program for you!
Would you like help with the college recruiting process?
1. Go to www.lookingforafullride.com to get your FREE Report: Strategies to Emailing A College Coach.
2. Want some help with the recruiting process? Join some of our 9 Facebook Groups:
- Parents of High School Student Athletes Walking Through The Process (All Sports)
- Beyond Xs & Os 4 HS Athletes: Health, Recruiting, Team Building, Mental Training (All Sports)
- Athletic Recruiting Education for Principals, AD's, and Counselors (All Sports)
- Club/HS Coaches Learning College Recruiting Process (All Sports)
- Play College Soccer (Soccer Specifically)
- College Recruiting for GK's (Soccer Specifically)
- Mindset & Leadership Lessons for Athletes, Coaches/Teachers, & Business Leaders (All Sports & Business Leaders)
- Positive Team Building for Pro, College, HS & Youth Coaches (All Sports)
- Christian Competitors (Coaches & Athletes Serving Christ @Field/Court/Gym) (Sports Ministry for All)
3. Would you like her to do individual consulting with your family to get an insider’s perspective?
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4. Did you know Coach Renee Lopez can come to your school or sports organization?
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Coach Renee Lopez
As a 17 year coaching veteran, Renee Lopez is a recruiting expert for high school student athletes. She uses her NCAA Division I, II, and NAIA Head Coaching experience to help families navigate the recruiting process to be identified by college coaches and help them find the right “fit” for playing at the next level.
She presents recruiting seminars across the country, has recently been featured on ESPN Radio, and is the author of the book, “Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide” where she interviewed 35 college recruiters across all sports and college levels.
She also does private consulting for student-athletes and their families to help in understanding the often daunting process of recruiting. (See one family’s testimonial.) If you are looking for help in the college recruiting process, please email Coach Renee Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org.