How to Make a College Recruiting Video Beach Volleyball Coaches Will Actually Watch

Smart-phones, tablets, go-pros, and other video devices on the market enable you to shoot high quality videos yourself. You no longer need to have a professional come shoot your recruiting footage. However, there are a few things that should be done (and a few things to avoid) when you are shooting and creating recruiting videos.

This college beach volleyball recruiting video guide covers:

  1. Setting up a YouTube and/or Vimeo Channel
  2. The Benefits of Game Footage vs Practice Footage
  3. The Best Shooting Angle
  4. What to Include in the Video
  5. The Ideal Video Length
  6. Why Player Identification is Essential
  7. Dealing with Background Noise and Music
  8. What Contact Information to Include

1. Set-up a YouTube and/or Vimeo Channel to Share Video Footage

We used to have to splice VHS tape footage or burn footage to DVDs and mail them to coaches. Thanks to the internet, all you have to do is email the coach a link to your YouTube or Vimeo channel.

These days, more and more coaches are viewing players through an online forum. This is the new normal. Not only that, but most college coaches prefer receiving a link over a DVD in the mail.

Why?

A link can be clicked on and loaded in seconds. A DVD cannot. A link can be easily searched for and found again. A DVD is not as easily found, especially if a coach has a few hundred of them lying around the office. Here are a few other benefits of having a YouTube or Vimeo channel:

  • It’s free! Creating a YouTube or Vimeo channel is quick, easy, and free! (Vimeo does start to charge you for anything over 500MB per week or 25GB a year, but it stores higher quality videos than YouTube.)
  • Upload a variety of footage over time. Did you have a break out season? You can show that! With DVDs you want to wait until you have just the right footage combination, with a channel you can continuously be updating it with new videos (or removing out of date videos).
  • Privacy. Channels can be set to private, so only those you share the link with will be able to view your videos. You and your parents don’t have to worry about being scouted by anyone you don’t give access to see your videos.

2. Use Game Footage vs Practice Footage

First things first—use a TRI-POD. We know mom or dad is excited when you crushed that ball, or aced an opponent, however coaches don’t like getting motion sickness from a wobbly hand of an excited parent. Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and other places have a variety of tripods for sale. A cheap yet sturdy tri-pod can run $20-$40. It’s worth the investment!

Ok, game vs practice footage. As a general rule coaches prefer game footage over practice footage.

Why?

It’s great seeing a player crater a ball in the sand 10 times off of a perfect set with an open net during practice. However, that’s not usually how things work during a game.

Most coaches want to see how you handle working around a block on a not so perfect set. How do you handle being out of system? What about on a long rally?

Volleyball is a game, not a practice. Most coaches want to know what type of game player you are, not what you look like in a controlled practice setting. If there is something that you don’t have much or any game footage of, sure, add in some practice footage. But it should still be kept to a minimum.

3. The Ideal Shooting Angle

If you ask college coaches what angle they prefer videos to be shot from, most will answer, “behind the baseline.”

Why?

Because it gives coaches the best vantage point to see how you move as a player on the court.

If possible, make sure footage shows you from both sides of the court. (Again behind the baseline, or as close to it as possible.) This allows coaches to see you move and play (hitting, blocking, defense, etc) from the front and from the back.

Now that we have the angle and type of footage, let’s talk about what should actually be in the video.

4. What Should Be In a Beach Volleyball Recruiting Video

The short answer: a little bit of everything. You want to showcase your strengths as a player; show coaches what you can do.

Do you have a mean jump serve? Show footage of you acing other teams and getting them out of system. On that note, do NOT show 5 aces of the same team.

I recently saw a recruiting video of a player acing the opposite team 4 times in a row (3 of those serves went to the same player). On the one hand, I can see the player has good control to hit the same spot over and over. However, I’d be a little more impressed if that serve aced 3 different teams.

Here is a list of skills to help get you started on what to include in your recruiting video. This list should not be seen as all inclusive or as a check-list. It is just to get you started. Tailor it to you as a player.

Also, many skills can be showcased during a rally. What you include also depends on your recruiting goals and relevant skills.

Remember, the beach game is not position focused. Coaches are going to focus more on your skills and athletic abilities.

  • Passing:
    You’ve probably heard it before—if you can’t pass, you can’t play. Show that you’re comfortable receiving float serves and jump serves. Do you make the game easier for your partners by giving them a consistent pass?

  • Setting:
    In system, out of system, in transition, option, hut, etc. Can you better the ball for your partner with both your hands and your boards?

  • Attacking:
    Show that you are able to hit and shoot (hit angle, hit line, high line, short, cut, jumbo, etc) from a variety of sets.

  • Defending:
    How well do you read the attacker? Are you a disciplined defender, or do you cheat and guess? Can you run down a high-line and transition into a quality attack?

  • Blocking:
    Can you read a hitter and adjust? Do you always block line, or can you comfortably block angle as well? Do you peel off of the net at the right times and with good footwork?

  • Serving:
    Show what serves are in your repetoire (jumper, jump float, standing float, short, etc).

  • Out of System/Long Rallies:
    How do you handle the long rallies? Can you still hit that tough cut shot after the ball crossed the net 3+ times? Can you side out off a bad set?

5. Ideal Video Length

Keep your videos short. 3-4 minutes long, max.

We just covered all of the different things you could have in a recruiting video. It’s a lot! Remember that coaches are not watching just your video, but hundreds of other recruiting videos as well. Seeing a 10 minute long video, coaches will not want to watch all of it. They may not even want to watch any of it! 10 minute videos can be intimidating. Also, if a coach can’t figure out if he or she is interested in you after 3 or 4 minutes, that’s a problem.

If you find you are closer to 10 minutes instead of 4 minutes, think about what you want to showcase. What do you already have plenty of footage of? Cut some of that footage.

You can have other highlight videos that are shorter (30 seconds-2 minutes) that showcase a particular skill. If you have the time, it might be good to make secondary videos that each highlight a certain skill. That way, if a coach wants to see more, all he/she will have to do is browse around your YouTube or Vimeo channel.

6. Always Identify Yourself!

There are 4 players on the court—you are one of them. The coach doesn’t know which one you are. You don’t want a coach watching another girl thinking it’s you. Very few things annoy a coach more than trying to figure out which player you are.

All footage should have some kind of identifier: an arrow, a circle, a spotlight, etc on you as a player. Make it easy for the coach to find you EVERY TIME.

Speaking of making things easy on coaches…

7. Background Noise and Music Choice

First, you do not need to have music in the background. If you choose to have music, pick something that represents your personality, and make sure it’s clean. No explicit versions! Music is just one more way to present yourself to coaches. Feel free to personalize it, but make sure it’s a positive presentation.

Second, don’t stress about the music because a lot of coaches will mute the sound to focus on the footage, anyway.

Third (and most importantly), if you have no music, eliminate any and ALL background noise. This is VERY important!

Coaches do not want to hear your parents coaching you in the background, talking negatively about another player, talking negatively about a coach, talking about how great you are, etc. Many coaches can be put off by this and may stop watching then and there. The last thing you want is your recruiting video hurting you, because someone said something in the background while you were playing.

8. Include Contact Information!

Great news! A coach has seen your recruiting video and wants to get in touch! … How do they do that?

You should include your contact information (name, email, and phone #) and your coach’s contact information (name, email, and phone #) at the beginning and end of your recruiting video. Depending on where you are in the recruiting cycle, college coaches may not be able to contact you directly. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t contact your coach to find out more information about you.

You should also include: - Class year - Position/s (side preference: left, right, or both) - NCAA ID# (if you have one) - Grades/test scores (especially if they are good—this can help with academic scholarship opportunities) - Physical testing numbers: height, sand approach, sand vertical, sand 24m dash time, sand star drill time, etc.

Wrap Up

Last piece of advice: start your video off strong! If you are 6'4" with a huge vertical and a great swing, show yourself crushing that ball against a defense! Get the attention of the coach early.

Remember, every touch and play doesn’t have to be perfect. Coaches don’t expect a robot, but they are interested in how you adjust in imperfect situations. There are a lot of national, international, and Olympic highlights that show some phenomenal broken plays. Don’t be afraid to add in a couple of yours.

One more thing. Personalize your email to the coach. No one likes to read a cookie cutter email. It indicates a lack of effort and a lack of true interest on your part. That translates into the coach being less interested in you.

If you have any questions about recruiting videos, what college coaches are looking for, or the recruiting process, please feel free to send us an email.

We are always happy to help girls follow their dreams of playing at the next level.

And, that’s a wrap!

When you finish your video, we’d love to see it! (As long as it isn’t a DVD…) Just send us the link.


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