In today’s recruiting process, video has become a need-to-have. College coaches cannot be everywhere, therefore it is important to have a highlight reel, skills video, or full game footage, easily available for college coaches to view. Here we will discuss how to put together the most effective highlight reel. We will talk about what types of clips you should have, how to pick your clips, how to order your clips, and how long your highlight reel should be.


What Do Coaches Want to See in a Highlight Reel? 

No matter what sport you play, there are some things all coaches look for in a highlight reel:

  • Versatility: Coaches want to see a student-athletes who can do more than one thing  well. Do not show them the same move over and over again.  It is important to make sure your highlight reel is demonstrating a variety of different skills.

  • Hustle: Show that you are scrappy. Coaches want to see student-athletes who will rise in times of adversity in a game. It is okay to show that you make an error if in the same clip you work hard to make up for it with a great play.

  • Strength: Show that you refuse to get pushed around. That you can stand your ground.

How Do I Choose My Clips? 

Here at SportsRecruits, we advise families to use the 5-Star Method when going through film for a highlight reel. When you go through film make sure you write down the name of the game, the clip times (start and finish), a description of the play, and then rate the clips on a 5-star rating system. Obviously, 5 being the best and 0 being the worst. Write down this information as you go along and watch film, this will make it easier for when you are ready to build your highlight reel.


How Do I Order My Clips?

When you are ready to make your highlight reel, pick the best clips (5-star clips) to be at the beginning, save one great clip for the end, and in the middle put the rest of your solid clips. We advise not to put anything in your highlight reel that is lower than a 4-star rating, keep your video lean and mean. Do not put clips into just to fill space. College coaches would rather watch a 2 or 3-minute reel with awesome clips than a 5-minute reel with some ok clips in the middle.


How Long Should My Highlight Be?

We suggest no more than 20 clips, which would then make 3-5 minutes of footage. Coaches watch hundreds of highlight reels therefore they do not have time to watch someone’s 10-minute video. They want to watch something that is going to catch their eye. If you only have 10-15 solid clips that are great do not add five more just to add more video, remember to keep your highlight reel lean and mean!

How Can I Build My Highlight Reel?

Whether you want to make your highlight reel on your own or you need a little extra help, SportsRecruits offers some great resources to help you get your highlight reel together:

  • Use the SportsRecruits Highlight Reel Editor: This tool is very easy to use and is available right on your SportsRecruits profile! Once you create your reel and post it to your profile, you will be able to see what college coaches are watching it!

  • Get Help From a Professional: SportsRecruits has an editing team that can help put together a professional highlight reel. This includes a title card and isolation effects.

  • Make a Highlight Reel on Your Mac or PC: If you are tech savy and you want to add your own effects, you can do this too! Just don’t forget to upload your video on SportsRecruits to easily send your video to coaches and see who is viewing it.

About the Author

Emily Wetz is a Senior Insights Analyst at SportsRecruits. Emilys’ experience as a former basketball student-athlete has driven her passion for helping student-athletes better navigate and understand the recruiting process.