Not long ago, getting a college coach to notice an athlete generally meant a lot of traveling and overcoming some pretty long odds.
Times sure have changed. These days, even novice videographers can put together a basic recruiting video and email it to a coach with a few clicks.
Recruiting and highlight videos can make it much easier for athletes and college coaches to find each other, but only if they’re done well — and that’s where your sports academy can help. This is a great opportunity for you to serve your athletes and make extra income in the process.
You’re More Qualified Than You Think
Even without any experience shooting or editing video, you have some unique qualifications for this job.
First, you or your staff know your athletes’ abilities better than anyone else. As their trainers and coaches, you know their personalities and their strengths and weaknesses on the field or court. You also know what college coaches should be looking for in athletes for your sport. Maybe you even know a few coaches personally and can ask specifically what they’d like to see in a video.
Other videographers may have more technical experience, but they don’t have that inside knowledge, which is essential for a great recruiting angle. They also don’t have the same easy physical access to the athletes and a perfect space to shoot skills work.
Your final advantage is your ability to offer more affordable video packages than competitors by combining them with athletic training, which they’ve already proven they’ll pay for.
You could combine the recruiting video package with a camp designed for the purpose of making videos for the participants, for example, or you could sell the videos along with a package of private training sessions to get ready for it and shoot the skills. Video services could also make great additions to college prep clinics, showcases, or larger recruiting packages. Or, you could simply combine them into packages with lessons, rentals, clinics and camps and sell them online using a software like eSoft Planner.
Best Practices for Recruiting and Highlight Videos
A typical recruiting video starts with a brief intro, either text or spoken, that includes the athlete’s name and basic stats, including measurements.
Next comes footage of specific skills or game highlights, depending on the sport (baseball and tennis videos typically feature skills, for example, while soccer and football typically include several game highlights).
Video effects include slow motion for quick plays, arrows or circles to highlight the player in game clips, and text overlay to explain the context of the skill or game highlight.
Videos are typically 5 minutes long max.
The best ones are simple — without too many fancy transitions, music or other distractions — but they’re also very clear and steady (no blurry, shaky shots).
They also respect the coach’s time by grabbing attention with the best shots first, editing out any unnecessary video to make it as short as possible, and making sure the player’s unique personality shines through.
What You Need to Make Recruiting Videos
As much as I love this idea as a moneymaker for your sports academy, it’s not cheap or easy to produce a high quality video that will stand out to coaches.
If you’re already running a large sports complex, the idea of learning videography yourself might be a nonstarter. If that’s you, consider inviting a local videographer to produce the videos under your general direction. You could even record the raw video footage yourself and then hire a video editor (locally or using a site like UpWork) to complete the video and add transitions and effects, a time-consuming job that can be done remotely.
However, if you’re a boutique trainer who loves one-on-one work, the videography knowledge might be a profitable addition to your skill set that can set you apart from competitors.
All you really need is a high quality video camera that can handle quick action (which can also be nice to use for marketing purposes), a basic tripod, and maybe a microphone if you want professional sounding audio. You also need a computer that can handle large video files (most new ones should be fine with that task), video editing software, and a Dropbox or other file sharing account to share your finished videos with athletes.
If you’re interested in making professional level videos, there are plenty of videography courses online that can teach you about the technical aspects of lighting, focus, perspective, audio and even storytelling that you’ll need to make a great video. Again, it’s an investment, but you can always start by offering simple videos for free to see if you like it and expand from there.
If things go well, you can expand into sports highlight videos for sentimental purposes, video yearbooks for teams, or tribute videos for coaches.
As with any new service, keep an eye on profitability. If the videos are taking up too many hours, tweak your process or strategy — or just drop the video services all together. Staying flexible is key to staying profitable.
Have any advice for creating and selling athletic recruiting videos? Please leave a comment below.