The importance of a well-made highlight reel for recruiting cannot be emphasized enough. A player doesn’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The highlight reel is a tool for recruiters to make early determinations on whether or not to pursue a prospect, or evaluate him further.
- It’s imperative to grab the attention of the recruiter immediately, so the order of plays is highly important. The beginning of your reel should draw the viewer in with plays that showcase spectacular feats or skill-sets. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of plays that display refined technique, toughness, mobility and competitiveness.
Allow for easy ID
- Coaches and recruiters want clarity in identifying which player they should be watching – make each clip meaningful and concise. Whenever possible, properly identify yourself BEFORE the play begins. Pausing after the play has already begun to identify yourself is time-consuming and takes away from the flow of the action.
Stay up to speed
- Always let each of your clips run in real time. There isn’t a single evaluator that wants to see a player in slow motion. In fact, utilizing a pause or slow motion effect can take away from the quality of the move or spectacular play that was made.
Don’t dress it up
- Player highlights are always at their best when they unfold without any enhancements. The use of graphics, visual effects and music should be eliminated so that the evaluator can see plays as they occurred. The reel isn’t meant to entertain the coaches, but to provide them with a valuable tool for evaluating. The fewer distractions your highlight reel has, the better.
Make more from less
- The highlight reel should be approximately 3-4 minutes in length. The first minute should consist of top plays that are not repeated later in the reel. If you play multiple positions, show your best play from each. Start on one side of the ball and move to the other before concluding with special teams – an area that can really add to your recruiting stock.
- Even when showing clips from the same position, it doesn’t hurt to compile plays in a specific order to accentuate a well-rounded skill set. For example, if you’re a safety in the defensive secondary, you may want to organize all run support plays before moving on to coverage plays, as opposed to combining them. If you are a running back, showcase all runs, then pass protection, then pass receiving, etc.
Know optimal angles
- The right video angle can keep the recruiter’s attention on your skill set and enhance the evaluation process. The high sideline or wide for a skill player is best. For an interior player, the end zone angle is optimal. If possible, have your program film a wide angle that shows all 22 players, as it dramatically enhances the evaluation process for wide receivers and the defensive secondary.
Promote a professional product
It’s important that the video be as high quality as possible. Grainy or shaky video makes it difficult for the recruiter to focus on the player and evaluate the quality of their play. Recruiters have thousands of prospects to watch and their time is valuable; be sure to trim extra time off the beginning and end of plays to retain their attention.
Note: High definition highlights can now be ordered as downloads from player and team profile pages. Be sure to upload your team’s film in HD to improve the quality of their highlights and allow the option to download in high-def. (Video uploaded in SD cannot be converted for an HD download.)
Be precise in your bio
- Your reel should include information that is valuable to a recruiter including your size, relevant testing times and academic info. DO NOT provide false information here. It will come back to haunt you. If you are 5-foot-11, state you are 5-foot-11, not 6-foot-1. Every player claims they run a 4.4 or 4.3, but very few actually do, and coaches know it.
Coaches and recruiters only have so much time in the day to evaluate players. Providing them with a clean, clear and concise video to study will only benefit you as an athlete.