How Do I Make A Good Recruiting Video?

If you’re making a video for coaches to see, you want to make it as user-friendly as possible – for the coaches, not for you. You laugh, but too many videos are just an exercise in ego for the maker. You don’t want a coach to stop watching because of video issues before even evaluating your game. Believe me, it happens. Coaches do not have unlimited time. A very poor quality video causes the coach to hit the stop button and you get either no response to your video or a blow-off.

This doesn’t mean you need to pay a service to have it done. The only possible reason to pay to have it done is if you simply can’t be bothered or don’t want to spend the time. Anyone with a smartphone and a  YouTube account can make a good video.

Here are a few rules to make the process work better and improve your chances.

  1. Identify your team, jersey number and color. Coaches don’t know you. They don’t know your hair color, your size, your body language, your position, your team. Don’t make them guess. This is not as important for highlight videos as it is for game video, but you should do it for both.
  2. Game video is preferable to highlight video.
    1. Highlights have a place in the process, but 90% of the players/ parents making highlight videos don’t do it right, leaving coaches frustrated and shaking their heads as they watch. A highlight video should not be longer than one to two minutes, and should showcase abilities that immediately set you apart. This includes things like size, speed, athleticism or special skill.
    2. Game video is where the coach gets to see how you play the game. Are you smart? Are you a team player? What level is your team playing at? Do you do the little things? Do you make those around you better? Make sure you pick a good one. If a coach watches for 20 minutes and is wondering when he’s going to see something good, you’ve picked the wrong video. If you think this is common sense, you haven’t seen all the bad game video out there.
  3. Do not use slow motion. This is an absolute no-no. Coaches can see what they want to see without the benefit of slow motion. Using it makes the athlete look like a prima donna and wastes a coaches time.
  4. Do not tell the world how good you are. This means no over-the-top notes or text introducing or ending the video. Don’t scream at the viewer by using lots of capital letters, or use multiple exclamation points etc. Let the video stand on its own. Let others decide how good you are. That other stuff will only make recruiters think you’ve got a big ego or are likely to be a problem. This goes for the parents as much, or more, as the athletes.

Video is a key part of today’s recruiting process. In today’s world anyone with a smartphone and YouTube can have a good video. There’s not excuse for not having one. Coaches are already picking your game apart looking for problems. Don’t give them any unnecessary reasons to add to that list by providing a poor video or none at all. If you’re lucky enough to get them to watch, don’t blow your opportunity.



Adults are Still Taking Advantage of Kids

You’d think by now coaches, players and parents would be a little more savvy. Apparently not. Over the years there has been plenty of documentation of AAU coaches etc. taking advantage of players. Here’s the latest example.

A foreign national whose obvious athletic talent got him into the United States, GP was here on a student visa. Needing to change high schools, he was pimped by his AAU coach, who was more interested in the power that comes with controlling a player of GP’s caliber than finding the best situation for this young man. So the coach refused help and more reputable schools, sending him instead 700 miles and four states away where he would attend school and play for a different team. (The team and the school are not the same. Don’t get me started.)

As part of the deal, and to maintain his legal status, his new team promised to take care of all his student visa paperwork. He played for the team, but the men running it never took care of the paperwork.

It turns out they didn’t because the school they sent him to, by definition, is not approved by the government to issue the necessary paperwork. Most schools in the US could have easily supplied the necessary paperwork. Not this one. The men running the team knew that when they told him they’d get his paperwork done.

They lied, he trusted them, he played. They got what they wanted, a better team. He’s out of options. He’s in the country illegally. Even though he’s been offered scholarships, he can’t accept them. To be eligible to accept them he must get his paperwork reinstated. To do that he must leave the country. Once he leaves he’s unlikely to ever get back in.

You could say GP and his guardian contributed to the problem. There’s no question there’s truth to that. But he’s a teenager in a foreign country. He and his guardian relied on adults. They let him down.



Quote of the Day

I’m an educator. I believe in education. Why would I care what level of education my son gets as a post-graduate? He’s already a qualifier.


Mother and long-time high school teacher, whose son is a very good student and borderline scholarship level athlete, talking about her decision to choose a place that can barely be called a school over a legitimate school with good academic credentials.


Emmitt Holt: The Indiana University Offer Dilemma

Emmitt Holt (Webster Schroeder HS, Rochester, NY) has very recently been offered by Indiana University for the fall of 2014. That’s right, classes would start for him in just a few weeks. Up ‘till now he’s been committed to attending Vermont Academy for a post-graduate year. Whether he should accept the Indiana offer has been a popular topic of debate among players, high school coaches and college coaches.

On the surface, the IU offer changes everything. Indiana is historically big-time, as big as it gets. And Emmitt has no other offers close to this level. (Low to mid A-10 offers were his highest). It’s hard to overstate the power of the feeling that comes with an offer like this. Even adult observers, after discussing the situation objectively, shake their heads and admit they could not think straight if it happened to them. And they’re not 18 years old.

The initial reaction of many is he has to take it. It’s IU. How do you say no? It’s not as obvious as it might seem.


Reasons to take the offer:

  • It’s Indiana. It’s Emmitt’s chance to reach his dream. He may never get another offer like this. Most players, and a lot of parents, would give almost anything to have this opportunity.
  • Chance to play right away. They need bigs. No obvious star big men on the roster in front of him.
  • Possible redshirt his first year. It’s a year to learn the system and adjust to school. It’s also an additional free year of college education.


Reasons to turn down the offer:

  • Indiana is just filling a roster spot. They recruit a better player next year and Emmitt never ends up getting playing time. That’s a process risk anytime you take an offer this late. One D1 coach said to me “putting Emmitt on your (IU) team doesn’t scare away any top 100 prospects next year”. He added: “this is why there were over 600 transfers this year”.
  • Act like you’ve been there before. There’s a certain panic or pressure in the logic of taking the offer because you might never get another one. In this case, I call it the Rochester mentality. If a player really thinks he’s that good, he doesn’t feel compelled to jump at the first great offer. The goal isn’t just to get the offer, it’s to succeed in college and after graduation.
  • If Emmitt’s got one offer like this now, he’s going to have multiple offers like this six months from now. This means less pressure, more time to make the decision, more chances for a better match and improved overall chances for a successful outcome
  • If he’s not that good, he’ll find out before making a big mistake. No need to transfer.
  • The official visit to IU will be at best incomplete, at worst misleading. School is not in session, so the students aren’t there. Professional educators say visiting when a school is in session is critical. The students are perhaps the most important component of a visit.
  • Not losing a redshirt year. By prepping he keeps that redshirt year option. He also removes the risk of not surviving the emotional difficulty of a redshirt year.
  • The head coach might not be there for long. He has had limited success at a place where expectations are extremely high, and there are rumblings that he might not last there unless he wins right away. (Some say taking a player of Emmitt’s caliber is consistent with this lack of success). If he is fired, it’s common for new coaches to make some significant changes, including telling some players they will not be asked back. On the surface, Emmitt could be a likely candidate for that.


What are the risks of saying no to the offer? Some say injury is one. That concern gets overvalued for several reasons. First, it was addressed and accepted when prep school was chosen over scholarships. Second, statistically that risk is much smaller than some others, such as not surviving college academically and socially. Finally, the power of good prep schools and medical science these days is such that even a significant injury can have little to no effect on recruitment.

Let’s remember for a minute, this is only a debate because Emmitt made what to many was a surprising decision to choose prep school over college scholarships in the first place.  Any good thought process would review his original reasons in light of the recent offer. They were:

  • To play at a higher level
  • To have more schools to choose from
  • To improve his overall maturity. (There’s some irony here considering he was mature enough to choose prep school. Others, who are less mature, have gone straight to college). By all accounts he is at risk for not surviving away from home.
  • To improve his chances for academic success in college and his career options after college
  • To improve his chances for athletic success, and at an earlier point in his career

Contrary to initial reactions, it’s clear the IU offer changes almost nothing.

With all the excitement and discussion, it might be easy to forget this isn’t just about Emmitt Holt. Vermont Academy made an educational, athletic and financial commitment to him and is counting on him. He was awarded a spot that other kids and parents would have given a great deal to have. Leaving now would be unfair to the school and those other athletes he was chosen over, and he knew that when he made the commitment.

There’s no question this is a tough decision. Logic is great, but emotion will, and should, play a part. The idea is to make sure the thinking is as logical as possible and no significant facts are missed. This is all about minimizing risk and putting the athlete in a position to succeed, not a position to fail. Although it happens regularly, playing for the exception is a trap.