Recently I received a player prospect video from a high school senior who attended a College Showcase Camp. The player was from out of state and was promoting himself, looking to receive a college scholarship. After watching the video, I noticed that he made multiple common mistakes. Such mistakes result in college coaches 1. either not watching the solicited video, 2) not watching the video in it's entirety, and or 3) a loss of interest in the player. In the article below, I've listed the player's email (his identity remains anonymous), the mistakes made, and solutions to the problems.
Dear Coaches, My name is Jedd Jones and I am a senior at St. Mary's High School, SoCal. I participated in the Trosky Winter Showcase where I met many of you. I'm writing to inform you of an 8-minute video of my baseball abilities starting in the year 2012 as a sophomore and the remainder of the video during the year 2013 as a junior at Maryknoll High School. You can access the video on YouTube at...
More information concerning me can be found at the Field Level Network.
10 COLLEGE RECRUITING VIDEO RED FLAGS
1. Jedd addressed his email to the college coaches with, "Dear College Coaches."
a. Solution: Be specific when addressing your emails. Address the college coaches by their last name (spelled correctly). For example: Dear Coach Smith. It is also important to not send your videos out as a mass email blast. Only send personal emails to colleges that are a good fit (financially, academically, athletically, and socially).
2. Jedd's video was 8 minutes in length, with over 30 seconds of video footage of him jogging on and off the field (boring!)
a. Solution: To hold the attention of the college coaches, recruiting videos should be kept under 3 minutes.
3. Jedd's video showed approximately 5 unedited live game AB's. Each AB was approximately 45 seconds in length, showing him take over 15 pitches
a. Solution: Make sure each video clip used has a purpose and gets to the point.
4. Jedd's video showed poor technique and also showed AB's of him hitting 2 weak base hits.
a. Solution: Have a respectable instructor / coach that you trust proof your video before you post it or send it out. Pick only the best clips. If you don't have enough quality clips, wait to email your video until you do. Note: game footage is nice to have but by no means it is necessary.
5. Jedd's video had a lot of jerky hand held footage.
a. Solution: Plan your shots and use a tripod.
6. Jedd's video showed him making multiple routine plays, 4 can of corn catches in the OF.
a. Solution: Take your time and capture quality footage of challenging plays.
7. Jedd's uniform choice was not color-coded and it didn't compliment his body.
a. Solution: The night before, pick out a nice color scheme and wear pants and a shirt that compliment your body. The first impression that you leave is passing the "eye test."
8. Jedd's video had audio coming in and out on different clips, meaning some clips had back up sounds while others had no sound at all.
a. Solution: Keep your audio consistent throughout your video creating a consistent feel. I recommend that you do not use background music. The best audio is the ambient sound of the game.
9. Jedd's email and video didn't include important specific information.
a. Solution: In the beginning of your video and in your introduction email, include the following information, Name, School, GPA, Grad Year, Height, Weight, School, Cell, Email, and a Contact Person Serving as a Reference.
10. Jedd's videographer shot some unproductive angles
a. Solution: For college coaches to be able to utilize and critique the footage, it is very important to capture video clips (both hitters and pitchers) from proper angles. To capture the best hitting and pitching footage, film in 2 places, 1) directly behind the catcher, and 2) from the side looking at their chest.
Notes: I found over the past 15 years of being involved in the recruiting world that college coaches watch the majority of the recruiting videos sent to them, especially today with smart phones and the internet. Players, keep in mind the more red flags a video has, the less of a chance a college coach will watch your video.
Keep your video simple and to the point. There is no need to spend a large amount of money on expensive camera equipment or paying a major production company to produce your video. Any smartphone or simple camera is sufficient. Generally speaking, the more elaborately produced your video is, the less chance it will be watched all the way through.
Videos serve as a tool in the college recruiting process, but are not mandatory to be recruited. Out of one club team's alumni (players who have received scholarships, over 150 in the past 3 years) less then 20% used a promotional video. Although many top players have not used video to earn scholarships in the past, technology is changing. You get a few seconds of the recruiter's attention before he's reading someone else's email- make sure you're the one that's remembered. If you're not using video to catch attention, you're missing out on a huge opportunity.
The main purpose of a recruiting video is to develop interest and a relationship between the ball player and the college coach, especially for ball players that are looking to go out of state to college. Typically if a college coach likes a player's video, he will then ask the player to come to their camp so that they can meet and so that the coach can watch the player in person. Note: High school players can attend any and all college prospect camps they choose to attend, without a personal invite or without a recruiting video. College prospect camps are open to the public. NCAA compliance requires college camps to be open to the public.
Stay Tuned: The different components of an impactful recruiting video, for both pitchers and position players