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Recruiting/Highlight Video Editing Guidance

Recruiting Video / Highlight Video Guidance

We’ve had a number of questions from our players and parents about recruiting videos lately.  There’s a lot of great information out there on what to do and what not to do, so we thought we’d try to put together an overview and share links to good resources to help guide you all through the process.  To simplify things, we’ll try to break this guidance down to the following topics:

  1. Why create a highlight video
  2. How to film / capture game footage
  3. Tips for trimming highlight clips out of the game footage
  4. What to look for in selecting the best highlight clips for inclusion (by position)
  5. Compiling highlight clips into a highlight reel
  6. Sharing highlight reels with others (SportsRecruits, Social Media, etc.)

Before we get into the details, please remember that your SportsRecruits account (for our high school aged players on national teams) has an abundance of additional info on the recruiting process available through their website in addition to the ability to create a profile and share your info with college coaches. They also offer webinars that may provide unique insights or an opportunity to get questions answered on a number of different topics.

Why create a highlight video?

The highlight video is an important tool in the recruiting process.  If a player is thinking about playing volleyball beyond club/high school, it is critical to have these videos available to share with college coaches/recruiters.  They serve as an introduction to the players and give coaches instant feedback on what to expect from a player if they come watch them in person.  This introduction is often the start of the recruiting process and can get things moving down the right path.  For more information on why a highlight video is important to the recruiting process, check out this article from SportsRecruits or this article from NCSA .

Creating videos more frequently (at least every other month or so while in season) provides opportunities for the players to share something new with schools that they are interested in.  Sharing the videos can serve as a great conversation starter or can just help keep the player in mind for the coaches.  We don’t want to overwhelm the coaches either, so this frequency helps balance those benefits without being overwhelming to the coaches who you’re sending them to.  Remember, this is one part of the process, but it is not the whole process!  Coaches will still want to talk to you, see you play in person, and have you on campus for visits. 

Even if a player isn’t working towards playing in college, having some highlight videos can be a fun way to capture and share the fruits of all the efforts these players have put in over the years playing club and high school volleyball!

How to film / capture game footage

The camera used is probably less important that the location and setup of the camera.  As long as the video is of high quality (not grainy, not bouncing around), just about any digital recording device will work.  Don’t feel like you have to go out and spend a lot of money on a high-end camera.  Try finding something with enough storage to capture multiple games (think at least a weekend’s worth, or somewhere around 5-8 hours).   This can be done by swapping memory cards out, but don’t forget to change them when needed or you may end up missing out on some great footage!

Phones/tablets can work well also but are often more restrictive on storage capacity. If using a phone, it may be a good idea to film plays individually and actively delete those you wouldn’t consider for a highlight reel later.   This can actually be a good time saver on the back end as you won’t have near as much video to sort through, but it is much more time consuming during the games and can take away from the chance to just sit back and watch the teams play.

Battery issues can become another problem when filming these games.  Make sure to have a spare battery for your camera or a battery bank to keep everything charged while filming!

Below are some general guidelines for capturing the footage. 

  • Use a tripod to stabilize the camera! 
  • Setup the camera at the end line on the side of the court your team is playing on (coaches like to see the teams play and move from this viewpoint)
    • When the teams switch sides, move the camera when they switch!
  • Try your best for an unobstructed view (a tall-tripod or light stand can help get the camera above the heads of others near the courts)
  • Get the entire court in frame of the video.  Sometimes having a wide-angle lens can help with this (there are aftermarket attachments for phones/tablets).  Many cameras have this ability built into them as well.  Otherwise, position the camera far enough back that it captures everything you need to see!
  • Don’t zoom in and out or move things.  A consistent image is better!
  • Stockpile footage here, get as much as you can now so that you have more options when selecting highlights later.  You can’t go back and replay the games so capture it when it happens!

Some teams find it helpful to share resources here and ask one parent film all of the games and then share footage with the rest of the team.  These can be shared with memory sticks, via online share sites like DropBox or Google Drive, etc.  Some tournaments even use services like BallerTV and make the footage available to you after the event (for a fee).  This can take a lot of the work out for the parents, but you’re at their mercy for how well their systems work!

Tips for trimming highlight clips out of the game footage you’ve captured

This can be one of the most intimidating parts of the process, and probably the one step with the least clarity.  Don’t be scared by it though, it’s not as bad is it seems.  A few times practicing with the software on your system, and it will become second nature!  Before we talk about how to trim clips from the raw footage captured during the games, let’s talk about what to look for when selecting a clip to trim!

If you’ve taken the phone/tablet approach mentioned above, this step becomes a lot more streamlined as you already have a lot of clips to choose from.  We’d suggest you upload them to a computer and sort/name as described below as it’s easier to work with than on your phone.  If all else fails, the phone or tablet can work and the themes and messages in this guidance still apply!

Selecting Clips to Trim

  • This is going to involve watching a lot of video, so get comfy and enjoy re-watching some of these games!  You’ll probably get pretty comfortable using the fast forward function or skipping ahead to when you’ve rotated into the games!
  • At first, trim any clips you think may be highlight worthy. You’ll narrow down and select the best of the best later.  Right now, you’re refining and gathering the content to be used when you make that highlight video!
    • You will eventually watch and rate these clips, so if it isn’t something you’d rate as at least a 3-5 star highlight of your ability, it probably won’t make it into your final cut.  That’s what we mean by highlight worthy. These are to show what you can do, so don’t compare them to any bar but your own!
  • Don’t worry if your team score a point on the play or not.  It’s ok if it didn’t end perfectly.  Looks for things you did well and try to capture those clips.
  • Capture enough of the clip before and after the highlight so the coaches can see how the play developed and ended
  • As you select and save clips, name them with something useful that will help for sorting later (quick hit, slide, diving dig, jump set, ace, block, pass to location, etc.)
  • Try to get clips showing a variety of skills that are critical for the position (more on that below) and that show your overall athleticism and general volleyball awareness
  • Serves (and aces) are nice, but those end up being less important to the college coaches and recruiters.  Your video will focus mostly on skills for the position, with a only a few of these thrown in to show breadth of skill level.

So now you may be wondering how to actually trim these clips!  The answer to this is tricky, because there are a lot of ways to do it.  Most computers come with a built-in video editing software (iMovie or Quicktime for mac’s, Windows Movie Maker (or sometimes just Video Editor) for PC’s, VLC media player has this function as well).  If you can’t find one on your computer, you should be able to download one of these for free.  Once you’ve found the software, the key is to get into edit mode and find the ‘trimming’ function.  Practice this a few times on a clip you aren’t that worried about at first until you get the hang of it.  We’ve found that searching for how-to clips on YouTube has been a great tutorial along way as well!

See below for a few examples, but feel free to search for more detailed tutorials:

Windows 10 editing with the photos app

Quicktime editing 

VLC Media Player Trimming 

Some coaches may ask for unedited film at some point during the recruiting process as well.  Make sure to save footage of some good (competitive) games to have available to share with them if requested.

What to look for in selecting the best highlight clips for inclusion (by position)

Now that you’ve trimmed the 3-5 star highlights out of the raw video footage.  It’s time to start sorting!  You’re going to want to build your highlight reel with the best clips up front (to grab their attention) so you want to be able to differentiate between the 4 and 5 star clips.  (3 star clips will start getting deselected / deprioritized here as you find the best of the best – that’s ok). As you refine, it’s a good practice to rename with the rating included or to sort these clips into different folders on your desktop to make them easier to find when it’s time to compile into the highlight reel).

Below are some tips on what coaches look for (by position) that we’ve found may be useful to think about as you select clips.  Being able to show clips with good technical fundamentals will help.  Coaches key in on footwork, positioning, and body movement.  If you have questions here, use your coach, our recruiting coordinator, or even our club director for feedback.  We want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward and we’re here to help!


  • All plays you can set (moving the ball around to various hitters from various locations – setting various types of hits (slides/quicks, etc.)
  • Serve Receive and transition setting
  • Defense/Digs from Right Back and Blocking from Right Front
  • General Athleticism and Adaptability – show as many situations as you can
  • Hand Mechanics / Foot Speed / Range / Decision Making
  • Serving (included but not emphasized)


  • Serve Receive Range
  • Defensive Range
  • Vision / Positioning
  • Serving (included but not emphasized)

Hitters (Outside / Right-side)

  • Serve receive to attack and transition to attack
  • Blocking to attack
  • Defense/Blocking
  • Serve Receive (especially for 6 rotation outsides)
  • Back Row Attacks (especially for 6 rotation outsides)
  • Serving (included but not emphasized)


  • Serve Receive to Attack
  • Block/Transition to Attack
  • Blocking (include footwork to block to both sides – lateral movement)
  • Aggressiveness / Awareness (attacking on overpass)
  • Serving (included but not emphasized) and with defense/passing when applicable

There’s a lot of great video info at the link below specific to positions: 

Compiling highlight clips into a highlight reel

Now that you have your footage trimmed down and sorted so you have your best clips identified and a variety of clips that represent your range as a player, it’s time to put them together into the highlight reel!  This is really a fairly simple process and should be easy to do with either iMovie or Windows Movie Maker / Video Editor.  These programs allow for drag and drop functionality once you’ve linked your video clips to a project within the program (create a new project for each highlight video you create).  The links below have some good tips on how to do this.

If you don’t like these options or are struggling to figure things out, SportsRecruits offers an online solution through your SportsRecruits account.  They have guidance’s on how to use that program on their website as well.  These are nice but can make it harder to share through other venues.  That’s why we tend to lean towards the solutions on your own computer, but feel free to do what works for you. If all else fails, another quick YouTube search can guide you to a tutorial on just about any software you have!

Here are some things to keep in mind as you compile your videos:

  • Start with an introduction slide – keep the info relatively simple here as they will be able to get details from your SportsRecruits Profile or through communications with you in your emails, etc.
    • Name, Number, Position, Graduation Year and maybe one or two things about the player should be plenty
  • Keep the videos in the 3-5 minute range (anything longer likely won’t get viewed)
    • Put all your best clips in first to see where you are and then work backwards to deselect even further
  • Focus on getting the best videos first and show the range of skills that coaches will want to see early in the video – again – changing the order is usually a drag and drop operation within your video editing software.
  • Keep enough before and after the play that they can see the setup and result (you’ll have to balance this with the need to keep the video short – but don’t worry, this helps you focus on only including the absolute best clips for their review!)
  • Don’t add a bunch on special effects – these can be distracting from the actual play

Don’t worry about music overlays – coaches will probably mute these when watching anyway and you risk battling copyright restriction issues if you decide to share this on social media!

Sharing highlight reels with others

Now that you’ve created your video, it’s time to share it!  Your most direct route to sharing with coaches will be to upload the video to your SportsRecruits profile and then reach out to coaches you’ve been talking with to let them know there is new video available and see if they have any feedback to offer you. (Don’t start with sending them a video though – make sure you’ve gone through and done some introductory emails so you aren’t just overwhelming coaches with video that they may not have asked for!). You can also share on your own social media channels or reach out to the COA Recruiting Coordinator to have the video shared on our COA Recruit twitter page or YouTube channel.  These will be less direct than using the SportsRecruits pathway though.

As you can see, there isn’t an easy one-size fits all solution to this process.  How you go about it will depend on your particular needs, equipment availability (both for filming and for editing film), position, goals as a player, and skill level.  It can be a time-consuming process, but it doesn’t have to be painful!  In fact, this should be a fun part of the recruiting process and provides a great opportunity for the players to take ownership of their destiny.  It can also be a great bonding experience between parents and players as you learn to critique film/highlights together and then share and receive feedback on those films throughout your recruiting journey.

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Ali Fell

Ali Fell

Fundraising Director

Phone: 812-243-8356