When it comes to recruiting, you may not get a second serve.

While it is comparably well-funded scholarship-wise, many college athletic programs don’t provide a huge budget for tennis recruiting. And that means, in most cases if you want to land on a college tennis coach’s radar, it’s up to you to get yourself seen. And that’s why a recruiting video for high school tennis players is hugely important.

A solid recruiting and highlight video is crucial for high school tennis players for two reasons.

First, since most college coaches lack the recruiting budget to see every prospect in person, your recruiting video is often your best chance to make an impression with your coach. And the second reason that a tennis recruiting video is vital is that, since college tennis has more foreign players than any other NCAA sport, you’re not only competing against every U.S. high school athlete for a scholarship, but also every high school player in the world!

So, if you want your recruiting video to stand out and make college tennis coaches take notice, follow these tips:

Keep It Brief

Your recruiting video shouldn’t be a retrospective of your tennis career. Remember that most tennis coaches have a limited amount of time to review and evaluate recruit videos, so make sure your video is worth their time. Keep it to three to four minutes, but lead with your strongest highlight and skills clips to ensure you can grab their attention in the first 30 seconds.

Take Your Best Shots

All your point play or match highlights should show off your speed, endurance, and agility as well as your point setup and follow-through. Make sure your video also demonstrates your court presence.

When using skills or rally play footage, be sure to include 10 clips of both your backhand and forehand strokes, 10 forehand and 10 backhand volleys, and five overheads. You should also include footage of 20 serves (10 from each side of the court) and 10 serve returns (split between five on each side of the court).

Where possible, use video from previous matches or practices. Be sure the whole court can be seen at all times, especially when utilizing shots from different angles. Remember to include multiple shots and repetitions, including volleys, forehands and backhands, and overheads. Be sure to include clips demonstrating your pace and placement on serves, as many coaches pay close attention to that element of a recruit’s game.

Know What College Coaches Are Looking For

Most importantly, your tennis recruiting video needs to demonstrate your solid fundamentals, as well as how you apply your physical abilities and tennis IQ to make your forehands, backhands, serves, and volleys count. Try to include footage showing yourself rallying with a partner while handling wide balls, short balls, and spin. Remember to use footage from either an organized skills video session or from match play to show off your ability to handle different shots, your speed, agility, endurance, and footwork. Make sure to also include clips that show your on-court setup skills and recovery ability.

Make Sure You Stand Out

As mentioned previously, edit your first 30 seconds of video to include five or 10 of your best highlights so that you can grab a coach’s attention. Try to use video shot from an elevated area that always shows the ball position on the court and use an arrow, circle, or spotlight to identify yourself at the beginning of each clip. At the beginning and end of the video, be sure to include your basic information, such as name, email address, phone number, high school graduating year, and your high school coach’s contact info.

Serve It Up

Once you have an ace recruiting video, serve it up to college coaches at schools you’re interested in. Post the video on YouTube and embed it in your online recruiting profile. Post it on your social media accounts. And finally, make sure to include the video or a link to it, in every introductory email you send to college coaches. And as you score more points on the court, be sure to update your video with new highlights as you go.

Serve up a fault on your first serve and you’re allowed a second serve. But when it comes to recruiting in college tennis, you may not get a second chance to make a good first impression. That’s why it’s vitally important that you ace your recruiting video so that it will grab a coach’s attention and hopefully, help you grab a scholarship.

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