Countdown: About College Recruit Videos
by Julie and Danny Thiets, 2 April 2014
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The recruiting process can be such a confusing time - so many NCAA rules dictating what can be done when and by whom - but one thing is crystal clear: If you want to get on the coach's radar at the college of your dreams, you need a college video. Wait... Can't you get a college scholarship without a college recruit video? Sure, there are players who college coaches have been interested in since they were as young as 12, 13, 14 years old. But if you're not one of those players, you need a college video.
HIGH-TECH TENNIS TIP: Start early - even as early as your sophomore year - with an email to introduce yourself to the coach. Why not attach a 4-6 minute highlight video from a recent match including an intro and 15-25 good points from the match?
We started recording match play videos for players at tournaments in the Southern Section in early 2006. We were just beginning to understand what athletes in other sports already know: Video is an incredible training tool.
Then, in May of 2006, the father of a young lady in Duluth, Ga., contacted us with this unusual request: "My daughter needs a college video. Can you help us?" The very first thing we (Danny) did was contact several college coaches that we knew and asked for their help with questions like this: "What are you looking for?" "What are you not looking for?" "How can we be of service?"
Well, this is an inexact science, and if you approach ten college coaches with these questions, you'll likely get ten different answers. We did! Everyone has their own idea, but when we broke it down to its simplest form, we quickly realized that coaches wanted to see live match play.
But that was just the beginning! Consider these lessons learned...
Contacting a college coach in pursuit of a college scholarship is serious business, and it needs to be handled in a serious way. We learned that a busy college coach is only going to watch a minute or two (if that) of your college video, so the very last thing you want to do is send them a video from an entire match - when you're double faulting into the net or when both players are chasing balls so the coaches doesn't even realize which players they are supposed to be watching.
HIGH-TECH TENNIS TIP: As a student-athlete, you should set up your own email just for recruiting purposes. Many coaches have shared that it's a big negative when the first contact is made by the parent and not the student. We understand why they say that because it even impresses us when a student contacts us directly to set up his or her own appointment, instead of relying on their parents to arrange everything for them so all they have to do is just show up.
College coaches recognize and appreciate recruits who are professional enough to send a link to an online video so the coach doesn't have to load disks, etc. When our nephew (who was the assistant baseball coach at Bucknell University at the time) came to Atlanta to scout baseball players in East Cobb, he spent the night with us, and we saw that he had a garbage bag full of DVDs and VHS tapes! He told us he didn't even know who was who, and that's when we learned how important it is for recruits to introduce themselves at the very beginning of their video. He also told us something else that caught our attention: one of the kids had made a video, uploaded it to YouTube and sent it to him via email. Remember, this was 2006 - and YouTube was less than a year old (!) so it was a new idea, and the way that kid submitted his video stood out in the coach's mind because it was new and impressive. Almost as soon as Dartfish.TV became available, we launched our channel - called HIGH-TECH TENNIS TV - for just that purpose.