In today’s college recruiting landscape for 99 percent of the sports out there, video is one of the most vital aspects to being recruited.
Softball recruiting, in particular, is heavily reliant on it!
This vblog and the accompanying written text is meant to teach you 10 key things to know when using video as submitted to Extra Inning Softball by Robby Wilson, the National Director of Softball Scouting, for National Scouting Report (NSR).
Here’s what he had to say in the half-hour video and also in the text below, which you can print out and study to make sure you're doing it the best way possible...
First, it is very important for me to clarify from the start: VIDEO ALONE WILL NOT GET YOU RECRUITED!
However, video is crucial in college softball recruiting for a myriad of reasons including:
- Limited recruiting budgets of coaches + softball being an underfunded sport,
- Coaches needing to verify a prospect is before investing the time, money and effort into going to watch a kid in person,
- Monitoring growth over time and evaluating the consistency in the level of competition that the athlete is competing against,
- Being able to watch a particular moment in time over and over, as many times as it takes a coach repeated viewings to determine: 1) Is she what I want, and 2) are the shortcomings of the athlete things that I’m comfortable with me or my staff being able to develop if she came into the program?
Historically, as long as video has around, it’s been significantly helpful in recruiting but over the last 5-10 or more years as technology and accountability has increased, what coaches look for has evolved… and will continue to do so.
When video started becoming extremely prevalent in college softball recruiting, it was mostly skills videos that players mostly shot once a year if that… and that was that. And, of course, over the years, the skills video companies started popping up left and right.
Fast forward a couple years and the cost of getting a skills video began to increase year to year. And as technology got better, video editors got better, that meant the person doing the editing was much better at “putting lipstick on a pig,” essentially being able to carve out those best pieces that, when edited and compiled, made a back-up player look like a Wendy’s All-American.
With the emergence of camera phones and streaming devices, the evolution of video naturally continues. In today’s recruiting world in softball, you’ll never get a direct answer from anyone on “What are coaches looking for in a video, skills or game and what do they want?”
The truth is, everything and anything! Getting video in today’s recruiting landscape is not as much about what you’re getting, it’s about
- how often you’re getting it (and getting it to the coach, obviously),
- the variation in the “type” of footage you’re getting,
- The consistency in delivery to the coach in addition to the ease of access.
Some coaches prefer skills video still. Some coaches only want game footage. Some coaches want a mixture. Some coaches will see your skills footage, then watch your game highlights, and then determine they have seen a lot of what they need to see; BUT, they want you to get some clips of you doing this from that angle and that from this angle, in order to make the final decision.
Therefore, while video can be such a great thing for the process, it can be utterly confusing and over-complicated by many in the process.
The simple truth is:
- video anything and everything,
- eliminate the wasted space and time,
- let the coaches decide what they do and don’t want.
College softball coaches are human and therefore are each going to have their own preferences, likes and dislikes. Therefore, it would behoove you to have footage of all kinds available in order to satisfy the “appetite” of each coach In addition, continually have updated footage of each type of video.
As you can clearly see, I could go on for days & days about video… but in today’s changing landscape of college softball & baseball recruiting, getting video is easier now more than ever.
Still, most have trouble knowing what to do with it once they have it! So these are my small, but important, recommendations when it comes to shooting video…
Top 10 Things You Need to Know Videoing Footage for Softball!
1. Video Horizontally
Shoot in landscape mode, instead of vertically.
If you’re videoing on your smart phone, which I imagine 70-8 percent of you are, this simply means turning your phone sideways when videoing.
2. Don’t Get Too Close!
Look at the video on your phone (or device) as your videoing instead of watching it first person. This will allow you to ensure you’re not cutting off the head or legs of the person you’re trying to video
In contrast, if you’re using a GoPro or some other type of camera, don’t put the camera any farther away than what you have to. And when you’re done videoing, use some type of video editor to zoom in on the player without losing quality.
Most sport cameras give a widescreen view and maintain quality…but depending how far the backstop is, it’s sometimes hard to tell what in the world is going on. Don’t just video and upload it somewhere and send it to a coach. Look at the video from the coach’s eyes and ask yourself “would this video clip allow me to see what I need to without knowing who is who, in order to recruit that kid?"
3. Sound Count?
Yes! Coaches will mute. But if you don’t mute the sound or put music over it, be careful of the words being said on the video and who about including vulgarity. Music without words is best, just make sure if you do add music that it’s royalty free and not heavy.
Some coaches want no music at all, and would prefer to hear the sounds of the game, be it a game or be it at lessons the sound of the ball popping the glove or bat hitting the ball.
If you are the one videoing, be cautious of what you say! Don’t bad mouth while the camera is shooting, etc.
4. Eyes on the Prize!
Meaning keep the camera on the object (your athlete) you’re videoing THROUGHOUT the video…when Sally hits a home run don’t stop videoing after she makes contact or jump up and down while the camera is videoing your new pedicure (it happens, believe me). Keep the camera on her throughout the play. If you need to get a tripod, they’re less than $10 on amazon I’m sure.
5. Identify the person to watch when it’s not obvious
If the video shows a kid hitting a double and running the bases…we can all make a safe assumption that the video clip is about the kid hitting and not the pitcher who gave up a double.
But if it’s a baserunning clip and you’re on second base when a teammate hits it and you’re so quick you round third and make it home and show off your speed…you may want to let the person watching know “running 2b to home” or “baserunning” or similar.
If you’re the shortstop who pitches and your clip shows a pitch being hit on a frozen rope to short and the shortstop makes a good grab and throw…and you’re the shortstop at the moment…may want to let the person watching the video know you’re at shortstop.
6. Every coach is different and every position is different
Some coaches want skills footage. Some hate it. Some want game clips. Some want training clips. Some want a combination of anything and everything to give an overall picture of who YOU are and what YOU can do.
It’s best to video anything and everything and be prepared for whatever the coach is wanting.
Every position and every player is DIFFERENT. “Put your best foot forward.” If you’re not sure what YOU should be focusing on getting based on your position(s) and selling point, DM or PM me or email me (contact info below).
7. Angles Matter
Remember, every coach wants something different. So get a couple of different perspective angles.
Hitting for example: behind the home plate angled to show the whole field, from the 1b dugout to show the hitter’s mechanics from the front, then the opposite angle from the 3b dugout.
Pitchers, from behind the pitcher, from beside the pitcher showing their mechanics and stride, from behind the home plate showing command of your pitches and breaks in your pitches, etc.
Yes, there will be a pitching coach that wants strictly angle from this angle or that angle… or a hitting coach that wants it from this or that. THEREFORE, get a little bit from different angles each time and be prepared.
8. Video Alone Won’t Get You Recruited
Video is a piece to the puzzle, but it’s NOT the puzzle. There’s so much more to it!
A lot of athletes make the mistake of getting a video up on YouTube and/or putting it on a profile and hoping coaches will come find it. BIG MISTAKE. Look at the views and they have 11 views in wto years and have no clue where from.
Proactive recruiting versus reactive recruiting…next vlog I’ll be addressing this directly.
9. How you send and what you send is key
College/university spam filters are strict about attachments, and in-particular video attachments because they could be some form of spam. Therefore, attaching a video increases the likeliness that you’ll end up in spam and the coach never seeing it. Instead, simply upload it to Vimeo, YouTube, etc. and send a link.
Title the video(s) appropriately. If you’re a 2022 catcher and it’s clips from catching lessons but has hitting clips at the end, and you shot it on January 12th, 2020, you should title it “Jane Doe 2020 Catcher – Catching lessons & hitting – Jan. 12, 2020” so that the coach clearly knows what they are clicking on to watch.
Any video older than 6-9 months is starting to get stale and past that, is irrelevant; say 12 months ago…you’re not the same player you were 12 months ago! Whether you’re better or worse, bigger or faster, etc. The amount of time since you shot the video is very relevant.
10. Last But Not Least: Any Camera Will Work!
You don’t need a special GoPro or some fancy camera. Anything with a camera or any camera, will get the job done! If you have a Handycam or a sports cam, great. If you don’t, use your phoneor tablet! Most mobile devices have 1080p or even 4k capabilities nowadays.
Some of my prospects/families who are the best at getting video and getting video the most consistently are simply using their phones!
I could go on for days and days about video…but the biggest thing I hope you take from this is Do Not Overcomplicate things.
Hopefully you can take these Top 10 things and decide what YOU need to do next. If you have any questions let me know in the comments or shoot me an email!
--- Coach Robby Wilson, National Director of Softball Scouting, NSR
If you would like to learn more about being recruited to play college softball, you can contact Coach Robby Wilson in the following ways:
* phone: 501-.438.3343
* email: email@example.com
* website: Nsr-inc.com/softball
* Facebook: Facebook.com/NSRsoftball
* Twitter: Twitter.com/nsr_softball
* Instagram: Instagram.com/Robby_wilson_nsr