As an athlete, your highlight is often your first impression on a recruiter. You have thirty seconds to get their attention, and less than ten minutes to prove why they should want you. Having the right plays in your reel is key in proving you’re the athlete they’re looking for – but you don’t want to overdo it.
The following post is from Will Hewlett, Director of Player Development for National Football Academies, and while it focuses on quarterback reels, there are plenty of tips that all athletes should take note of when creating highlights.
Use the right angle
Be sure to capture the entire play. The camera should capture all 22 players on the field. This allows the recruiter to analyze the play and its total progression from start to finish. The more elevated the camera, the better the angle for highlights. Only capturing the offense or zooming in on the quarterback is not as desirable as the overall view.
Allowing coaches to analyze the entire play will paint a bigger picture and showcase your overall skills.
Here is what coaches can gauge from seeing all 22 players on film:
- The quarterback’s ability to make decisions.
- The quarterback’s ability to adjust while moving through read progressions.
- The quarterback’s read on the rotation of the defense and reaction to blitz packages.
- The quarterback’s ability to identify and react to defensive fronts and coverages.
Include what coaches need
Make sure you are completely covered when building out a highlight film by giving coaches two different looks. The first type of film clip needed is the “attention-getter” – the play that showcases elite skills under pressure.
- Explosive pass plays covering more than 16 yards that are firmly thrown and/or showcase velocity.
- Throwing to routes with high velocity and accuracy. Desired routes and accompanying throws are speed outs, comebacks, seams, deep digs and deep posts.
- Extended plays that highlight pocket presence, ability to break backfield tackles and avoid pressure from heavy pass rushes.
- Throwing downfield across body, with examples throwing to the right and left.
- Toughness and agility downfield by breaking arm tackles or making players miss, breaking first contact, aggressive running, throwing under contact, and moving the chains in desperate situations.
The second type of film clip is a “must-have” – the play coaches expect you to make. These should be showcased later in the video, and kept to a minimum. Interested coaches do not want to continually see you throw fade or hitch routes to wide open receivers.
- Accurate passing in the quick game.
- The ability to carry out fakes.
- Depth and rhythm on dropping back to pass.
- Footwork and demonstrating the proper timing on route families.
- Deep ball highlighting arm strength and accuracy.
Have the right timeline
For videos, focus on two plays or a 20-second window to grab the coach’s attention. Once a coach hits play, that video has a very short amount of time to make an impression before he moves on. Don’t have a long, drawn-out intro screen. Keep it at 5-6 seconds and make sure you provide vitals: height, weight and 40 time (if applicable), position and school with state. Only provide stats if they’re substantial and outstanding.
- :00-:06 - Intro screen on black background with plain font featuring vitals and stats.
- :07-:27 - Top two plays of your career.
- :28 -2:00 minutes - Plays in descending order from great to good; the “attention-getters.”
- 2:01-6:50 - “Must-haves”; allow the remaining plays to paint the overall picture.
- The Top 10 plays of your career go first (end-of-season highlight film).
- Trim your clips so coaches have enough time to see the defense and your formation, but don’t show the entire clip – cut out dead time before the snap and after the whistle.
- You can use a dropped pass for a highlight if it is obvious the wide receiver dropped the football and you did not make a poor throw. Be cautious when including those plays. Do not use one as the first play on the film.
- Avoid using slow motion to highlight plays you think are special. Coaches need to see the play in full speed to get a proper analysis. Also, if you slow motion a play that a coach wouldn’t call a highlight, it exposes you. If the play is good enough, the coach will rewind and watch it again in regular time.
- Avoid the use of special graphics. They draw attention away from what is important - you.
- Never use music with swearing or offensive language. If you want music, go with instrumentals, but it’s generally not necessary in recruiting.
- When selecting tools to create your highlight reel, use Hudl as your primary resource for sharing with coaches. They provide recruiting-specific packages and have a very comprehensive program to help coaches find exactly who and what they’re looking for.
- Make sure you update your film on a weekly basis. With Hudl, this is very easy to do. You can organize your top plays from week to week and make sure the information is always up-to-date.
- Have three separate games with tagged highlights to go along with your full highlight reel. Again, these can be updated weekly in Hudl.
- Create an “end-of-season” highlight. As for length, try to keep it in the 6-8 minute range. Remember, quality over quantity.