This is a guest post by Jon Dershowitz, your devoted SportsRecruits video editor. Jon wants to do his best for you, and you can contact him easily via email throughout your highlight reel creation process. Jon won’t stop until you’re 100% happy with your highlight reel.


What Do College Coaches Look For In a Highlight Reel?

At SportsRecruits, we care about your recruiting process. We don’t just care about making a cool video. We’ve created thousands of recruiting videos since we started in 2008, and we’re proud of every one. But being in the game for so long gives us a different outlook from other companies. We know what goes into making a highlight video that not only excites college coaches but also keeps their attention.

And you’re not just taking our word for it. We’ve spoken with countless coaches to learn what they want to see in a highlight reel. This knowledge informs every video we create. We never rely on flashy effects or gimmicks to make a video stand out for the wrong reasons. That’s the SportsRecruits difference: substance. We don’t care about the cool video, we care about the video that will help you get recruited to the college of your dreams.

Below, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions from student-athletes to get you on your way to sending your high-impact highlight reel to coaches.


How should I pick clips for highlight reels?

Watch your film.

Constructive feedback from coaches, advisors, counsellors, and parents is integral in the recruiting process. When it comes to selecting clips, however, it’s the athlete that should watch the film. Athletes need to understand their own level of play. They will need to critique themselves in college, so being able to self-assess is a vital skill to develop now.

As you go through your film, write down the start and stop time codes for your best plays. For example, 12:12-12:20 may be when you make that great play. Once that is done, go through the clips again and rate each play with a number of stars, one being the worst, five being the best. Do this for all of the footage you are considering for your highlight reel.

Choose up to twenty clips.

Select only the best plays for your highlight reel. This is very important. Using the above star rating system, keep only five and four star clips in your set. If possible, every clip should have a five star rating. Fill in the remaining slots with four star-rated plays. Adhere to this guideline even if it means only having fifteen clips in a highlight reel rather than twenty. You want “lean and mean” rather than including fluff for the sake of fluff. Coaches are busy so you want their time spent on seeing your best. If you try and stuff fluff into your reel, coaches will tune out.

Think of your highlight reel as the movie trailer of your recruiting process. A trailer is a three-minute preview to a two hour movie. In much the same way, your highlight reel shouldn’t give everything away. The sole aim of a highlight reel is to persuade the coach to want to learn more about you. Your best clips should entice the coach to take the next step in evaluating you, for example watching the game film on your profile, perusing your information, or checking out your academic transcript. If the stars align, the coach will make a point to come see you play in person.

Deliver what coaches are looking for.

Coaches actively seek athletes that possess three key characteristics: versatility, sport IQ, and athleticism.

Versatility is vital; college coaches don’t want to watch the same play twenty times, no matter how good it is. Scoring is important, but it isn’t the only thing that identifies you as a premier athlete. You need to show that your abilities go beyond one skill.

Sport IQ goes deeper than being able to learn and execute plays when told. You need to show that you are able to quickly assess situations and make the right play at the right time. Some of your five star clips should show you developing a play through off-ball movement and an ability to position yourself in the right spot to capitalize for your team.

When it comes to athleticism, an athlete standing still is no good. Coaches want to see your stamina, strength, and agility.


2. Does music matter?

Not in the least. Coaches are most often going to mute it. Realize that collegiate coaches have other things happening in their office while they are watching your highlight reel. Music is not going to make or break your evaluation.


3. Should you put extras like accolades, coach contact information, or statistics in the highlight reel?

No. Coaches wanna get right down to the action. If you’re using the SportsRecruits Built-In Messaging System, all of that information should be on your athlete profile. Because the link is automatically embedded into every outbound message, the coach will view that information before or after they view the reel at his or her convenience. Often times, athletes are compelled to incorporate event information into their video – who they’re playing, what the event is – this also doesn’t matter. Coaches don’t care where the footage comes from, only that they’re watching you at your best. If they want to see the events you have attended, that is also on your profile for them to view. They clicked play to watch video…not to read a novel!


4. Why twenty clips? Can I use more?

Since starting the company, we have developed strong relationships with college coaches. To better benefit our athletes, we asked for their take on the perfect length for a highlight reel. It turns out that coaches prefer around twenty clips, or the equivalent of three to six minutes of footage, depending on position. Defensive plays takes longer to evaluate, so defensive highlight reels will lean towards the longer end of that spectrum. We don’t advise you to go over twenty clips. This limit isn’t because a coach isn’t interested in watching you for longer. It is respectful of coaches’ time, which is balanced between evaluating other recruits and myriad other responsibilities.



5. How do I go about building my SportsRecruits highlight reel?

If you’re creating a highlight reel using games filmed by SportsRecruits, you don’t have to submit any film to our team. We have a master copy of every game we’ve filmed. If you’d like to use your own film, you can send the source footage to us via WeTransfer (if the files are under two gigabytes). If you’re using footage from Krossover, Recruit Spot, HUDL, or another video company, you may also forward us links and/or account login information and we will download the footage for you.

After you’ve reviewed all your footage and are ready for us to build your highlight reel, follow these simple steps:

  • Login to your athlete profile.
  • Click on Video.
  • Click on Reel Form. Fill out the fields.
  • Receive your highlight reel within seven to ten business days (this is the guarantee, but we do our best to get it to you sooner if possible).


Dos and Don’ts

To recap, keep these pointers in mind for building the perfect highlight reel that is sure to capture and keep a college coach’s attention!

Do keep it lean and mean (no more than twenty clips at a total of three to six minutes). Choose only your best plays.
Do showcase your versatility, sport IQ, and athleticism.
Do send your highlight video to coaches.
Do have your highlight reel built professionally by an experienced SportsRecruits editor.

Don’t rely on flash, fluff, or gimmicks. Coaches want to see what you can do, not what your video editor can do.
Don’t spend too much time on your music selection. Spend your time on choosing plays that look good with the sound on mute.
Don’t dilute your video with extra information. Your coach will access this information at his or her convenience on your SportsRecruits athlete profile.
Don’t wait for coaches to discover you. Place your new highlight reel directly into their inbox.


Build Your Perfect Highlight Reel