There have been hundreds of articles written and videos made on creating the “perfect recruitment video.” I’ve read and watched almost every single one of them. I’ve gone through the recruiting process twice. The first time, I had no idea what I was doing. I had no plan, and it showed. I had very little interest from colleges and couldn’t get any traction from my emails, despite being a good player (I now play professional baseball). The second time, we devised a plan, my campaign grew like wildfire, and I earned a scholarship to Mississippi State, even though my statistical numbers from the previous year were unimpressive (I hit .208 with 1 homerun). Video was a huge part of my success. It’s essential, but contrary to public opinion, it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Here are a couple things I know to be true about video in the recruiting process:
- Most of the information being passed around about how to make a recruitment video is not good. Some of it is fine, but most of it is BS.
- Very few of the articles explain EXACTLY what video to take, how to take it, how to edit it, and how to upload it. Many of them are vague and leave you with more questions than you had when you clicked on the article (trust me, I know. I went through it, too).
- Video is essential in your recruiting process, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult thing. In fact, it’s relatively simple. I’ll show you how.
Your Most Pressing Questions, Answered
Let’s start with your most pressing questions. Your questions are probably similar to the ones I had when I was first learning how to navigate the recruiting process. I’ll give a brief answer to each one to show you that it will be worth your time to read the rest of the article, and then I’ll dive deeper into each one and some other tips after the FAQs.
Do I need professional video equipment?
Absolutely not. I’m going to go as far as to say that if you’re using professional video equipment, you’re doing it wrong. I’ll show you how to do it with an iphone.
How do I edit the video?
This is one of the reasons we use the iphone…it makes editing and uploading the video easy. In less than 5 minutes, you can remove the unwanted beginning and end of your video to make it cleaner and more concise. I’ll show you how to do this below as well.
What exactly do I show in the video? What do college coaches want to see?
College coaches want to see if you have good enough movement patterns to be developed into a college baseball player. They are not expecting you to be college-ready right away. They’re looking for a swing or windup or a fielding position that they can work with and develop. Fill your video with as much valuable movement as possible. Don’t send wasted swings or defensive reps. More on this later.
How long should my initial recruitment video be?
A maximum of 30 seconds per skill (hitting, defense, pitching). Each of these skills should be an individual video. (i.e. 30 second hitting video, 30 second defense video).
Should it be game footage or is practice footage okay?
If you have valuable game footage (footage you believe BEST showcases your skills), and the footage is clear and visible, feel free to use that. If you don’t have game video that shows your best skill, then using practice footage for your initial recruiting video is completely fine. In fact, it may even be advantageous since the coach will be able to see more swings than a one-swing game video. This is not a make or break question. Don’t lose sleep over it. We’ll cover this more in a little.
What should the caption of the initial video be?
List your name, the skill you are showing, (if it’s game footage) the team you’re playing on and the team you’re playing against, and the date.
ex. “Jack Kruger Hitting | OCC vs. Cyprus | 4/21/2015 (<— If it was game footage)
ex. “Jack Kruger Defense | 4/21/2015 (<— If it was practice footage)
The Power of Video
In order to make your video effective, you have to understand why video is important in the first place. You need to know what the pain points of college coaches are and then you need to address them. You want to make this as easy on them as possible. The easier the process is for them, the more likely they are to view your video or follow up. So you must ask: what is the purpose of video?
At the most elementary level, college coaches need video because they can’t be everywhere at once. They don’t get the opportunity to watch every player live, right in front of their eyes. It’s not financially feasible, and they don’t have the time. So, video is the next best thing. It simulates watching a player live. This means that your video should closely resemble the experience of a college coach seeing you play live. Everything they want to see when they come to watch you play live is everything you should include in your video (don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging. We’re going to talk about what coaches want to see in your video).
You may think that great stats are going to carry the weight, but the truth is that stats only go so far. High school stats don’t necessarily translate to success in college, and college coaches know this. In future emails, I’ll talk about stats and which ones you should include in your emails. But for now, I want to focus on video. Coaches are more interested in the movements you make when you hit and field a ground ball because they want to know if they can develop you into a reliable college baseball player.
College baseball is focused on two things: development and winning. You may have been able to hit high school pitching with your current swing, but that swing may not translate to hitting college pitching. Video is important because coaches will be able to determine in just a few seconds whether you are either ready for college baseball or can be developed to be ready for it in a couple years. This is why video is important: it’s a better indicator of your college baseball performance than high school statistics.
Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty.
Who should take the video?
You don’t need to hire someone to take your recruitment video. If it’s part of some package that a showcase or tournament offers, then that’s fine. But, you shouldn’t be hiring a freelance videographer to take your video. There’s no need for that. Your mom, dad, sister, brother, friend, girlfriend, teammate, or even coach can take the video. My dad took almost every single video I posted. The others were taken by teammates or assistant coaches when he couldn’t be at a game.
I’m going to suggest that you take your video with your iphone or android phone (it’s very easy to edit and upload the video from an iphone). This is convenient for the person taking the video because they most likely will already have their phone on them. If your mom or dad isn’t at the game, maybe your friend can fill in for them. If your friend can’t make it, ask one of your teammates to take the video.
If I were you, I would ask your coach if it’s okay to have a teammate use a phone to take video of you during the game. If they say no for some reason (which they might), I’m going to propose something radical… have your teammates do it secretly. I wouldn’t normally endorse something like this, but video is necessary to the success of your recruiting campaign. The coach almost certainly won’t notice, anyway.
What gear is required to take the video?
An iphone or android phone.
That’s it. That’s literally it.
You don’t need special equipment or a nice camera or a laptop or fancy editing program. You only need your phone. I’ll show you.
3 Tenets for the Initial Recruitment Video
The 30 Second Rule
Your recruitment video shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds. A college coach isn’t going to watch more than 30 seconds of a video. If you want to send a hitting video and a defense video, make each one of them 30 seconds long (or shorter if you don’t think you need the full 30 seconds). I had some videos that were 10 or 15 seconds long.
There are more advanced techniques to video that allow you to send longer videos (like full at-bats), but I’m not going to dive into that now. This article is specifically about the first video you send to colleges to see if they have interest in you. And this video shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds.
No music/creative editing
This one is self-explanatory. Don’t put music over your video. Don’t put creative editing or colors on top of your video. Send the most plain, easily visible video you possibly can. Keep it barebones.
That sounds scammy and vague, but it’s the truth. Your video should showcase the value you have as a player. Every part of your video should emphasize your strengths. Send the best swings you took that day. Send your best defensive play. Show the college coach how you can provide value to his program. That’s what recruiting is. He has a job to do, a position to fill. He wants to know if you can fill that role. Show him you can with your video.
Taking the Video: The Angle
Your video is supposed to mimic a college coach watching you play live, right? This means that you should take the video from an angle where a coach would stand to watch you play. Now, every coach is different. They all have unique preferences of where they like to watch a game. But, it’s universally understood that you want to see hitting video from the open side view angle (If you’re a right handed hitter, the first base side. If you’re a left handed hitter, the third base side.). This is the optimal angle to review and dissect hitting mechanics when the video is slowed down.
Multiple angles is always best, but make sure the optimal angle (that we just discussed) gets the most time in your video.
There isn’t a rule of thumb for taking video of defense, though. Simply be sure to give the coach a clear view of the play being made, including the throw across the field.
If it’s a pitching video, then it should be filmed similarly to a hitting video…film from the open side of the pitcher (Right handed pitcher, third base side. Left handed pitcher, first base side). In addition, you should take video from behind the mound so the coach can see the movement of each pitch.
Taking the Video: The Content
Your video needs to show how you can provide value to a college program. Fill the screen with your very best skills. If you’re using game video, it’s not necessary to include the entire at-bat where you swing and miss a couple times or complain about a call in the middle of the at-bat. If the at-bat is two pitches and the video is under 30 seconds, it’s fine to use that as your initial recruitment video. But coaches are really only looking for the swing. They’re not super interested in watching you run down to first base UNLESS you’re really fast. Then, you should definitely include it in your video because it’s one of your marketable skills.
I used to use videos of line outs, but I would cut the video almost immediately after the swing. This way, the coach saw the swing and saw that the result was a line drive, but didn’t see the outcome. He doesn’t need to see the outcome. It’s not important to him. He wants to see the swing.
If you’re using practice video, give them a few swings to look at. Remember to keep the video under 30 seconds. It doesn’t matter if you’re hitting front toss, BP, or off a machine in the video. You should be filming from the side, anyway. The coach won’t be able to tell, and honestly, he doesn’t care. He’s only looking at your mechanics. Your cage bombs won’t impress him. Good movement patterns will.
Let’s talk about game film. There are a few advantages to using game film. The first is that it’s real. It’s not a controlled environment. There are several variable factors that you have to account for when you perform in a game, and this can be valuable information for a coach. The second is that game film allows a coach to see your general feel and comfort for the game. Are you comfortable in the box? Are you confident on the mound? How is your body language? What do you look like in comparison to the rest of the field?
The third is that certain positions can better showcase skills in a game. This is true of catchers. So often in practice, catchers will cheat on their throws to second base. This can be misleading for a college coach and make it difficult to properly evaluate the skill of a catcher. However, if you send video of an in-game throw, it will give the coach an accurate reading of your ability to throw as a catcher.
Keep in mind that certain positions should be highlighting important skills in practice videos. For instance, outfielders should showcase their arm. Middle infielders should showcase double play feeds and turns. Catchers should show receiving, blocking, and throwing. If you’re a pitcher who throws out of both the windup and the stretch, include both in your video.
Editing the Video
Luckily, the iphone makes editing video very easy. I don’t have an android phone, so I won’t be able to speak directly to the editing on that phone. But there are a million videos on youtube of how to edit a video on an android. I’m sure it’s just as easy on an android phone as an iphone.
I’m going to spell it out for you, just for those of us who are a little more technically challenged. I’m technically challenged, and this is so easy that even I can do it.
Once you have taken your video, find the “edit” button.
It will then show you a screen of your video and a timeline of your video at the bottom with an arrow at the beginning and end of that video. If you press on the arrows one at a time, you can drag the video to have it begin and end where you want it to. Do this for the beginning and the end of the video, removing any footage you don’t want (someone walking in the frame, a bad pitch, a bad swing, to cut the time to 30 seconds, etc).
Once you have your video edited as you want it, click the “Done” button in the bottom right corner.
It’s going to ask you how you want to save it (as the original video or as a new clip). I usually save it as a new clip so I can always go back and change the editing of the original video if I want to.
Boom. You have your edited video. It really is that easy.
Uploading the video
Now we need to upload your video to Youtube.
I will be showing you how to do this on an iphone, not an android. (Again, there are hundreds of videos on youtube of how to take video on an android. It’s similar to an iphone).
After you’ve signed into the Youtube account you want to upload it to, click your account profile in the top right corner.
There will be a big red button with an arrow pointing up (for upload). Click that button.
It will redirect you to an upload page where you will need to click on “Select files to upload.”
It will then ask you where you want to find those files. More than likely, your edited video will be in your “Photo Library.”
Choose the video you want use and select “Choose.” Youtube will then process your video. When it’s done processing, you will then write the title and description for the video.
For the initial video, a description is not necessary. Don’t feel compelled to write something if you don’t have anything you feel is vitally important to know when watching the video. I recommend leaving it blank and letting the video speak for itself.
Finally, click “Publish.” It’s most likely in the top right corner of your screen. Your button will be blue when the video is done processing (mine is gray in this case because I took the screenshot before it was done processing).
Boom. Done. Simply copy and paste the URL of the video in your emails to coaches. It’s that easy. The editing and uploading of the video should take you no longer than 15 minutes or so. Modern technology is a wonderful tool. Use it.
Examples and Last Thoughts
You now know everything you need to make a great initial recruiting video. If you have a question that wasn’t answered, feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you.
In future emails, I will be talking about other ways of using video to enhance your recruiting campaign.
In addition, all of the video I created and used for my recruiting process is on Youtube. Search “Jack Kruger Hitting” and go to my Youtube channel, “Jack Kruger,” to see every recruiting video I’ve made. See the note below before you do that.
***NOTE: My sister played Division 1 softball at the University of Pittsburgh. She used the SAME SYSTEM and it worked well for her. This works in both the baseball and softball world. So, keep in mind that she has lots of recruiting videos on there as well. You may have to dig a little to find my videos as hers are more recent.***
Most of my videos are from junior college when I learned how to market myself properly. Notice, some of my videos break the 30 second rule. There are even some other tricks I use in those videos. These are more advanced techniques and strategies that I have not discussed with you yet. Don’t follow suit. Stick to the 30 second rule for your initial recruiting video.
Last thought…focus on the details. A scholarship is a business deal. Every move you make in your marketing campaign makes a difference, either positively or negatively. Every detail matters. Get the very best footage of your very best movements and show the college coach exactly how valuable to him you can be. And then, in return, test his value and make sure that his college program is valuable to YOU. Recruiting is a two way street, even if it doesn’t feel like it. College coaches need you as much as you need them. But more on this in future emails.
If you want to learn how I earned interest from over 30 schools and landed a scholarship to Mississippi State after hitting .208 with 1 home run, join my email list. It’s free.
VERY IMPORTANT: When you sign up, I’m gonna send you an email to say hi. If you don’t see that email in your inbox, check your spam/junk/promotions folder and dig it outta there!