It’s about the intangibles

Many athletes look at the track and field recruiting process and conclude that objective data, such as verified times and marks, will get more attention than a highlight video. However, while some track and field athletes might benefit more than others, there are still plenty of reasons to have a highlight video as part of your recruiting process, regardless of your discipline.

Who Benefits The Most?

While track and field coaches will always look for speed in recruits who are distance runners or sprinters, there are more intangibles to be considered when recruiting throwers, jumpers, and hurdlers. Therefore, if you’re a recruit in one of those disciplines, it’s vital to have a recruiting video. Remember that, while coaches can’t do too much to enhance speed, there’s plenty they can do to improve your strength and technique. So, while having verified times and marks on your recruiting profile is important, a video that allows coaches to see your potential to improve is just as important.

That’s not to say you don’t need a recruiting video if you’re a sprinter or distance runner. While your times will go a long way toward achieving your recruiting goals, it’s likely you can improve too. In many cases, a coach will be able to see that potential in a recruiting video which, when combined with your times, can help you land a spot to compete in college. In addition, remember that there are thousands of athletes competing for relatively few college track and field team spots, and very few of those college team coaches have big recruiting budgets. Therefore, if a coach can’t see you in person, having a recruiting video is the next best way to tip the scales in your favor.

How Do You Make An Effective Video?

As mentioned above, coaches may be considering hundreds of athletes, so limit your video to three to five minutes and don’t include more than three races or meets. Since most coaches lack time to review lots of videos, they may also have a short attention span. Make sure your video grabs a coach’s attention early and is short enough to leave them wanting to see more.

As you’re assembling your video, use footage taken as close to the event as possible and make sure that you’re in focus and can be seen clearly. To be doubly sure you’re noticed, you might even highlight yourself in the video with a spotlight or arrow. Avoid using video that’s shaky or does not provide a clear, unobstructed view of you. Finally, include an introductory card with your name, personal records, test scores, class year, current high school, coach’s contact info, and your contact information at the beginning and end of the video. Keep it simple and avoid music or special effects.

Make sure your video highlights those intangible, position-specific skills and techniques that won’t show up in times or marks. If you’re a sprinter, highlight each element of blockwork, including mark, set, release, push, drive, and accelerator phase. If you’re a jumper or a vaulter, highlight your consistent foot placement and include footage of your runway approach and position in the air. For throwers, coaches look for rotation in the throw, so include an aerial view of your throw, as well as footwork and distances of each highlighted throw.

For hurdlers, highlight your lead leg, trail leg, and arm drive as well as your blockwork. For longer distances, include video that shows your lane efficiency. Finally, middle distance and distance runners should include footage of their start and cut-in expertise, while also highlighting their aggressiveness, power, and stamina.

How Can Your Coach Help?

If you’re not sure where to start or how to approach creating your recruiting video, your high school or club coach can likely be a big help. In addition to helping you choose the best footage for your highlight video, your coach can also boost your recruiting by reaching out to coaches on your behalf. Your coach can also review your video and offer tips to improve it, while also sending it along to college coaches in their network to help raise your recruiting profile. Finally, a coach can also help you honestly assess your abilities and talents, so that you can make your recruiting efforts more effective and find the school, and track and field program, that fits you best.

If you’re a track and field student-athlete and you’re still asking if you need a recruiting video, the answer is yes. Just remember to make it position-specific, keep it simple, and highlight the intangibles that fast times and high marks won’t show. It may vary depending on your discipline, but the intangibles you show in your recruiting video today are what could tip the scale in your favor and put you on a track and field team in college tomorrow.

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