March 27, 2014

Let's Get This Recruiting Video Started!!!

Before getting to the below Question and outstanding Answer - Today is my Birthday!!!!  You only turn 28 many many times and I posted on the time I came into this VB world (according to my parents!).


My daughter is a current Junior (class of 2015) and is USAVB age 17.  She'll play on an 18s team in the upcoming SCVA club season.  At 5'7" she's a shorter setter with a 4.3 GPA who is willing to consider colleges in any part of country.

I've got a couple of questions involving "best practices" for editing the player highlight video.  My daughter is a setter so I'll stay specific for that position, but I imagine that guidelines for a good highlight video would be useful for all positions.

1) Obviously it critical to put the best plays at the start of the video in order to keep the college coach interested in watching the rest of it.  However, is it best to organize clips by specific skill?  For example, should my daughter's highlight video start with a whole series of sets to the OH ("4s"), followed by sets to the OPP ("5s"), followed by sets the MH ("1s") with each series starting with the best example of each specific set?  OR... should her highlight video start with her best 5-10 overall plays regardless of which type of set she is executing?

2) How important is the "Skills Video" (video shot in a closed, practice-like environment to repeatedly demonstrate specific skills)?  I'd appreciate it if you could discuss the relative importance of the "skills video" vs. game footage.  My gut says that game footage is much more important, but don't want to "miss the boat" on something here.

3) My daughter will play on a MUCH better club team in the upcoming 2014 season than she played on last year.  As a result she will be able to run a much quicker offense this season.  I have highlights from the 2013 club season.  Lots of good footage, but very little that involves a good middle attack.  Would we be better off getting the highlights out there NOW that we currently have ready to go and then follow up with highlights from early tournaments; OR would it be best to wait a couple of months and send out video for the 1st time that contains the best from last season AND clips from this season?  I guess I'm trying to weigh the difference between being late with getting ANY video out there vs. getting video out there now that doesn't necessarily "paint a complete picture" of my daughter's ability.

4) Any general suggestions that you can provide to putting together the best possible highlight video would be appreciated.

Thanks Coach for all you do for volleyball community. K.H.

With regards to videos, there are two trains of thought - Skill and/or Game video.  A large number of coaches want Skills, a large number of coaches want Game and a large number want both.

I recommend a two step approach to the video - Start with a Skill video of approximately 3 to 4 minutes in length, shot in a controlled environment (practice or private training) which provides many repetitions of the skill sets to be used in college.  The goal of this first video step is to garner the attention of the collegiate coach, and get the PSA on the program's recruiting  database.

The second step is the Game video - It is important to make the Game video as current as possible because the PSA's abilities will be judged in real time.  If a coach comes back from a tournament in Dallas, after watching a few setters, then remembers that there is a video of your setter out in California, the coach will judge your setter against what they just saw live in Dallas.  There will be no 'offset' or accommodation if your PSA's video was from 4 months ago.

Coaches put various weight on each video, but starting with a short Skills video, then following up or having a Game video available is a good starting point.

In terms of the video itself, coaches want to see repetitions.  Rarely will a coach offer a scholarship just off of video, most especially at the DI level.  We want receptions so we can do a first evaluation on the various skill sets specific to the position.  We each have a certain eye for what we want to see; we each have preferences for how we want a certain skill set performed.  It is frustrating only getting a couple of examples of an attack, or a block, or a pass, because it is hard for coaches to really get a first evaluation.

With regards to the setter video, this may be the hardest position to capture on video just because of the position dynamic.   So much of an evaluation of a setter must be done in person because of all the nuances; how does she communicate with her hitters, how does she communicate with her coach, what is the level of her hitters, what is the level of the block she is setting against, what is her court demeanor, is she loud or quiet, is she a leader, does she run an offense or just set, etc?

I believe the setting video should be focused on the Skill segment and create this Skills video in a practice or private training situation.  I want to see a setter 'dry' setting all the zones for the OH attacks (no hitter), so I can see her hand release, body position, footwork and targeting.  Then I want to see her setting the MB position with a live hitter, so I can see the placement of the ball, the hand position and the consistency.  My whole focus is her setting the ball.  If I am happy with her physical ability with the ball, then I will make plans to come see her in person to evaluate all the additional details I listed above.

A few coaches may ask for Game film of setters, just to get another layer of evaluation, especially if they won't be able to see the PSA in person immediately.  But, this Game film tends to be a two dimensional when trying to evaluate those nuances.

As to your specific questions:

1) Series of sets to the specific zones of the court.

2) Skills video should be the first video sent, but have Game video ready.

3) Make all video as current as possible, especially the Game video.

Good luck this club season and keep working through the recruiting process!

Coach Matt

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