How to Create a Volleyball Highlight Video that Coaches Want to Watch

recruiting tips: how to make your highlight video

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Once the recruiting conversation begins, one of the first things a coach will ask is if you have a highlight video.

If you’re looking to know how to make sure you have all your bases covered when it comes to making your recruiting highlight video, you’re in the right place! Coaches simply can’t be at all games to see all players all of the time, especially if they are in the midst of their own season. The next best thing to being seen live at a practice or game is the highlight video footage you make available for them. Get this checked off your list as soon as possible – preferably before they ask – so you are prepared to quickly respond with a link they can click on to watch you play. Take too long and you’ll notice your anxiety level steadily rising as you scramble to respond… Luckily, creating a volleyball highlight video has never been easier, and you can definitely do it yourself – without the extra expense of a professional service. When making recruiting decisions, coaches want to see 3 things:
  1. Your attitude. Are you a leader? How do you handle pressure? How are your relationships with your teammates?
  2. Your talent and skills. Are you a good fit for their program?
  3. Your potential. Is your technique sound? How do you react, make decisions, and adjust as the game progresses?
A quality highlight video can address these issues and help open the door to that first contact. Keep reading and I will give you some basic tips for setting up a “home” for your videos, as well as position-specific content that will help increase the chances that your potential coach will tune in and keep watching. [For a PDF download of the entire checklist, scroll down to the bottom of the post]

Tips for Creating Your Volleyball Highlight Video


Highlight video tip #1: Before you begin. Where will your recruiting videos “live”?

I recommend you use a Youtube or Vimeo channel as a home for your videos. Both are free, universally known, have privacy settings you can customize, and offer a quick and easy way to upload clips and send links. Before sending any links, I recommend embedding the video on your own website first (if you subscribe to the SAC website service, I take care of this for you). Watching a video directly on your site will keep the coach focused on you, the prospect, and avoid the distractibility factor of the other videos running down the side of the page. It also leads them to click around and learn more about you once the video has ended.

Highlight video tip #2: Game vs practice, highlights vs a match?

As a general rule, coaches prefer seeing you in action during a real game, but if practice footage is what you have for now, don’t sweat it. You can always add others later (and have another reason to email the coach with your update). As far as skills video vs game footage, coaches like to see both, because they serve different purposes. A full game video shows them a lot about your demeanor during the match, showing how you relate to your teammates, how you take direction from coaches, and your leadership and body language in different situations (winning, losing, under pressure, etc.). The skills video highlights specific areas within the scope of your position. It’s good to at least have one of each on your site (more on what should go in the highlight reel in the Editing section, below).  Here is one example (video housed on YouTube) and another (embedded onto one of our client’s websites). 

Highlight video tip #3: Viewing angle and positioning 

When asked, coaches consistently say they prefer the camera viewing angle from behind the service line. This vantage point gives them a perspective of the player’s movement in relation to the entire court. Go to nearly any scouting tournament and you will see for yourself, as most of them sit behind the back line as opposed to along the side of the court. Pull in close enough to see the player, but not too close that the hitting approach is out of view.

Highlight video tip #4: Filming your video

Have whoever is filming follow these tips:
  • Record from behind the service line, using a tripod
  • Keep the camera stationary (avoid zooming, or panning to “follow the ball”)
  • Keep the player in view the entire time, especially during hitting approaches
  • Record uninterrupted footage, and edit later (saves your battery, ensures you don’t miss a great play)
  • Always have a spare battery ready to load (I’ve learned this the hard way)
  • Avoid shouting your cheers (or venting to the ref) into the mic  – and NEVER use derogatory language while filming (if this gets picked up in the audio, you can just mute out the sound in the editing process)
  • You might want to say/show the score every so often, but honestly, it’s OK to leave that out

Highlight video tip #5: Editing your video

Once you have your footage, it’s time to decide on your clips. For a full game video, you can choose to just leave “as is” or cut the time-outs and other dead time. It doesn’t have to be a game you won. Remember to watch the entire video yourself before choosing which set/match you want coaches to see. Even though this takes time, it is well worth making sure to show yourself in a positive light. Length: Aim for a final cut that is approximately 3 minutes (think less is more). Respect busy coaches’ time by giving them a reason to tune in and stay with you. Remember, they are watching a LOT of other videos from other potential recruits, too! Audio: Music is OK, but not necessary. If you do use music, no explicit lyrics. If you play it back and notice there is some distracting background noise, you can mute the audio altogether before finalizing the recording. Specifics to include (by position): Note for ANY position: Show your best, first, and show a skill that relates to YOUR recruited position. Meaning, if you are an outside hitter, start your highlight footage with a great kill in the first few seconds, not a nice pass, serve, or set. Sure, you’ll show a variety of skills in your 3 minutes, but to reiterate: start with the best, first.

Volleyball Videos for Outside Hitters and Opposites:

  • 5-10 reps of front and back row attacking, blocking, passing, defense, serving, and setting (if applicable)
  • Plays that show athleticism, an explosive approach, footwork, court awareness, and shot placement

Volleyball Videos for Middles:

  • 5-10 reps of attacking off of a variety of sets, blocking (with great footwork along the net), and serving
  • Show your ability to read a block and a balance of strength and creativity with your shot selection

Volleyball Videos for Setters:

  • 15-20 sets to various hitters (3-5 to the OH, 3-5 to the MB, 3-5 back row sets, etc.)
  • Blocking footwork, net coverage, serving, attacking/dumping

Volleyball Videos for  a Libero or DS:

  • A variety of (forearm and overhand) passing with proper footwork, off of a variety of types of serves
  • Defense from different areas of the court, with the ball both in front of you and from the side, using your hips and footwork to get behind and underneath the ball
  • Net coverage, out of system setting, serving, back row attacking (if applicable), speed, movement, and leadership

3 Final Tips For Your Volleyball Recruiting Video:

  1. Always introduce yourself! Use a quick screen shot/title at the beginning (and repeat at the end) with your identifying information. Include name, jersey number, and position, along with your graduating class. This can be done in iMovie or other free software. For a face-to-face personal touch, you can also record yourself speaking right into the camera.
  2. Start strong! Grab the attention of the recruiter within the first 30 seconds (preferably the first 10) with a position-specific skill so there is no question who the coach should be looking at (e.g., 2 quick kills by an outside hitter, a couple of great digs by a libero).
  3. Establish a flow in the progression of footage. For example, you might highlight your front row attacks first, then move to a few back row attacks, then on to serving, defense, passing, etc. Incorporate some full rallies into your video, as well, especially if they highlight many of your skills. Celebrating after a great rally is awesome, too!
Remember, the purpose of the highlight video is to start a conversation. You want to entice the coach to come watch you play in person. Don’t get overly hung up on the details or trying to make it too fancy.

Remember, having it DONE is better than making it PERFECT.

As a potential college student-athlete, your volleyball highlight video will be one of the key outreach tools you will use to get seen and get connected with recruiters. Good luck in making yours amazing!

Whew, that was a lot to remember! Get the full recap with a PDF copy of the Creating Volleyball Highlight Videos Checklist and you’ll have your very own cheat sheet to give you what you need for creating your videos starting this week! Download your checklist here.

what to include in your volleyball highlight video by position-pin

Ready to take it to the next level? Be sure to grab your FREE Done-for-You Email Templates to help you start connecting with coaches from your best fit schools by tonight!

laurie with daughter sydney after texas vb game
xx laurie sig

Website Designer, Teacher & Volleyball Mom

Let’s talk about the best way to take your recruiting online and make you more visible.

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