Dianne DeNecochea | Former Pro Beach Player, Juniors' Coach
Good, short and organized highlight videos will catch the eye of college coaches IF they need your position in your grad year AND they see in the video that your athleticism, court movement and skill level could make their team better.
When you send intro emails to college coaches, you should always have a link to your YouTube video in the body of the email.
Here are some key things to keep in mind when FILMING the video:
- Parents or another adult should handle the actual videoing of the player. You don’t want the player distracted trying to set up a camera/tripod before the match.
- The camera should be located on the same side as the player and at the end line or corner as close to the end line as possible. Don’t take video from the sideline or bleachers. Coaches prefer an end-line view so they can see movement, footwork, positioning and angles the ball is traveling. They also want to be able to see how the player reacts to the opponent and the overall speed of the game from a full-court view.
- The camera should always be at floor level, not on an upper balcony or viewing deck where it’s difficult to get a good perspective of how high the player is jumping, hitting or blocking or how tall she/he is.
- Make sure the entire volleyball net and the whole court (on your side) are in the frame. You also want the ball in view at all times.
- Use a tripod to keep the camera steady as opposed to holding your phone. If you have no other option, hold steady!
- If the player is out of the game, pause recording to make editing easier.
Keep the sound on because it’s good to hear the players talking on the court and the excitement of the match. Keep from talking near the camera so the coaches aren’t hearing your conversations while watching the video. Cheering is fine!
Here are some key things to keep in mind when EDITING the video:
- I like players to edit the videos themselves, and most are tech savvy. They know when they have a good pass, set, hit, block or whatever their position skills are.
- The video should be 2-4 minutes long.
- The intro slide/page to the video should contain the following:
- Organize the entire highlight video by skill. Use a slide to LABEL EACH SKILL before it is shown. Show all like skills one after the other. I even like players to group together attacks to certain areas of the court within the “Hitting” section. For example, an OH might have hits grouped into cross court, line, tooling the block, tips, etc. A setter should group by types of sets. You don’t need to label the types of sets – just “Setting.” But have all 4s, quicks, 3s, back slides, 5s, dumps, etc., one after the other. This allows coaches to see the consistency of setting location, footwork and body positioning, and it makes the video much easier to watch.
- When choosing clips, select ones with a positive result and never cut them short without showing the complete skill. For example:
- All hits shown should be kills.
- All sets shown should result in a kill.
- Passes or digs shown should be to the setter, allowing for the setter to run the offense.
- Serves should result in an ace or the opponent being out of system.
- Blocks should result in a point.
It’s definitely my preference to have the video in regular speed and not slow motion. Coaches can pause the video if they want to analyze the movement more closely.
Show them your versatility!
- If you are a 6-rotation pin hitter, show hits from both the left and right side. Also, show your passing skills, back-row defense and serving in the video. Highlighting all of these skills solidifies that you are truly a 6-rotation player.
- If you are a libero/DS, don’t forget to show your serving and out-of-system setting. Also, setters should show themselves playing defense and serving.
A few other tips from what I’ve learned working with players:
You don’t need to send coaches a full set or match unless they specifically ask for it. (If they do ask, it means they plan to make time to watch it and want to see more video before they watch you live.)
You need to send them the best recent video you have, but you don’t have to send new video every time you contact them or after every tournament.
You don’t need to hire an expensive company to edit video for you unless you or your parents have absolutely no time. Making videos is time-consuming but, as I said before, the player – and sometimes the parents – know the best plays to include.
The level of play in the video is important in some ways, but in other ways it’s not! I know that sounds strange, but coaches are watching YOU. They can see your athleticism, your movement and your technique no matter who is around you. It is good and preferred to have video of you playing at a high level against a good team. Coaches like to see that you can handle tough competition and excel. But this is not something that makes or breaks the coach’s interest in you. If you’re a good, athletic player that they think can only get better and will help their team, they will mark you down and watch you play.
Dianne DeNecochea played indoor volleyball at the University of Tennessee and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2007. She was a top pro beach player from 1999 to 2013. Since her retirement as a player, she has formed a company, ProActive Volley, that helps young players with the college recruiting process. She also coaches club volleyball in the 12's and 14's age groups in San Diego.