Want to make a splash? Catch a coach’s eye!
Compared to football or basketball, water polo is a relatively small sport. In fact, while college football boasts 130 teams in Division I FBS, and almost 900 teams overall, there are only 122 colleges and universities that offer water polo. And of those 122 schools with water polo programs, 83 are in California. So, while the elite water polo talents in California and on the east coast won’t have a problem getting recruited, everyone else may need some extra help. And that’s where a good recruiting video can make all the difference.
Fewer water polo programs means fewer coaches looking for recruits. And, as water polo is categorized as an equivalency sport, most programs have relatively small recruiting budgets as well. And if you live outside the traditional water polo recruiting hotbeds, a highlight video is a great way to get on a college coach’s recruiting radar. So what goes into a good water polo recruiting video? Consider:
• Keep It Short
In addition to having limited recruiting budgets, college coaches also have a limited amount of time to devote to video review. To ensure yours stands out, keep it short and cut to the chase. Rather than being a career retrospective, your water polo recruiting video should be limited to three or four minutes and feature 20 to 30 clips that highlight your talent and ability. Make sure to stack your most impressive highlights early in the video to catch a coach’s eye and keep their attention.
• Keep It Simple
An effective highlight video doesn’t need lots of bells and whistles. Special effects and music will only serve to distract from your highlights. Keep the focus on yourself. If you’re not readily identifiable by position or number, the only special effect you may need is a spotlight, circle, or arrow on the screen to identify you at the beginning of each clip. Remember to include a title card at the beginning and end of the video that notes your name, position, height and weight, experience, high school and club teams, graduation year, contact information, your coach’s contact information.
• Keep It Professional
Make sure all the footage you use is shot using a tablet or professional camera at varsity-level competitions. Use footage shot from mid-pool from an angle wide enough so that each clip highlights your vision, movement with and without the ball, passing and communication with teammates, and understanding of your position. Make sure each clip you use shows your technical ability as well as your athletic skills.
• Keep It Position Specific
Just as different positions require different skills, your water polo highlight video should focus on the skills needed for the position you play. Utility players should highlight their versatility. Center forwards should focus on their strength, endurance, vision, swimming ability, and physical presence. Center backs should show off their wingspans, swimming skills, speed, and endurance. Drivers should focus on their explosive starts, ability to change directions and shake off defenders, and possession and scoring skills. For goalies, showcase your ability to cover the whole cage, lateral movement speed, anticipation, and leadership.
• Keep It Moving
Once you’ve compiled a highlight video using the guidelines above, it’s up to you to get it moving with coaches. Post it online, embed it in your online recruiting profile, and include a link to your highlight video with each introductory email you send to coaches. Assemble a list of five to 10 programs where you think you’d fit best and reach out to each of those coaches. If you’re not happy with the responses you receive, widen your net and keep sending out links to your video (along with a unique introductory email that states why you think you’d be a good fit at the school).
• Keep It Updated
In water polo, the sooner you start working to land on a coach’s recruiting radar, the better. While coaches are prohibited from contacting recruits until June 15 of a recruit’s sophomore year, you can reach out to them before then. And if you can show a coach your potential in your highlight video, it’s only natural that you’ll keep growing and improving. So make sure your video stays updated to reflect your improvement over time and show coaches that you’re on your way to reaching your full potential as a water polo player.
It’s said that you only have one chance to make a good first impression. And when it comes to water polo, a good highlight video is a great way to make a splash with college coaches and get yourself recruited.
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