October 28, 2009

Volleyball Recruiting Video

Hi Coach,

I have a 5'11" junior in high school that is interested in playing in college. She has film on line available for coaches to view at their convenience, the question is how much film should be available and what specifically are the coaches looking for in regard to film? At this time we have 4 game films that can be viewed, but I am sure the coaches time is limited and to sit through any of these would be too much, especially when you have other players to review as well. Please provide guidance on what would be the best way to market her skills to the coaches.

Thank you, Angie

Any film is good, but skills videos are the best of the film.

When college coaches look at film of Prospective Student-Athletes (PSA), we are looking for very specific skill sets. With game footage, it can take quite a long time for us to see what we are looking for and there may not be enough examples of specific skill sets to provide an accurate evaluation.

I tend to discount game footage, especially high school game footage. Many times the camera angle is not good, the competition is not very strong, the team mates may not have the abilities to support the PSA correctly, how high is the net, is the setter spraying balls that day, etc.

Consider a college coach trying to evaluate a PSA's approach and armswing - If the camera is strange, it is hard to see the exact direction of the approach - if the camera distance is too far way, the picture may not be crisp enough to give an accurate impression of how fast a PSA loads her armswing. Also, there may be only 3 really good examples in an entire game film of blocking footwork or transition attack segments.

With a skills video, the PSA is in a controlled environment and able to focus completely upon the skills she is trying to show case. This focus upon each appropriate skill segment allows the college coach the opportunity to get an honest look at a player's strengths and areas which can be developed.

I believe I wrote a post on making a skills video or recruiting video - You should be able to find it in the links on the left side bar of the site. In summary, the videos I like are about 10 minutes long and are dominated by skills footage.

Volleyfolks need to remember that the video is just the lure to get a college coach to bite. You just want to entice the college recruiting mullet to come by Court #87 at the Cost to Much National Qualifier and see your daughter play. Very seldom will any coach, at any level, recruit a player just from tape (discounting desperate measures, which often can occur in the recruiting world). This means that you should not look at the video tape genre as a make or break experience; no, it is just something to say, "come watch me play at a tournament".

I would also refer you to the Recruiting Plan link on the left side bar - I feel I have provided a solid yearly game plan to get the information out to college coaches. The reality is there are many, many good volleyball players which will develop into many, many good Division I college volleyball players. If your daughter is not one of the great ones (don't worry if she is not, because there are only a few each year), then your emphasis in this stressful game of recruiting should be advertising - many good players equals many good choices for coaches and you are looking to stand out. Get her information out to college coaches.

The last thing which I must emphasize is to present your daughter to the appropriate level of college play. All too often, parents get the correct information about the accurate level of their daughter with regards to college volleyball late in the process. This is not to say that college opportunities will be gone, but it is to say the the number of opportunities may well be reduced.

For example, if a PSA is realistically suited for playing at a DI school with an RPI between 125 and 175, but the family/PSA has spent all their time contacting college programs ranked 25 to 75, by the time they come to the conclusion that it would be better to advertise to the correct range of schools, a number of these schools could not have opportunities left.

There are a couple of ways to accurately get feedback about a PSA's appropriate level; 1) If you are writing the top 75 schools and there is precious little response, even after including video, then this is an indication you need to re-set your target schools, 2) Ask for honest feedback from people who would know; club director with experience having club players receive volleyball scholarships, club coaches which may have college coaching experience, ask the college coaches where the PSA may attend camp, ask recent former players, etc.

To wrap this up into one neat UPS package - Promote to the appropriate level of college program, have skills video available on line or quickly mailed, keep an open mind to the various college options (location, size, reputation, conference, academic merits, etc.).

Good luck!

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