How to make a good highlight video--What to DO & what NOT to do!

The summer is flying by. By now, travel laxers have participated in at least two, some three or even four tournaments. If you are shelling out cash for videos from each tournament, you're at least a grand into film that you've purchased. Now it's time to use that video and make the investment in it pay off.So you have all that film--it's great to watch just to learn what you need to improve on and what you might have done well. While you look through it, record the times of periods of play that you want to use as highlights. This blog will provide some do's and don'ts with some advice for making a highlight video.

Number 10:DO make a highlight video.If you're not tech savvy and have absolutely no idea how to make your own video-- then you'll probably have to shell out $400-$500 to get a video made (I love making highlight videos, so please contact me if you'd like me to put one together for you and it is a lot cheaper than one of the companies who film the tournaments). A highlight video provides coaches with a glimpse into how you play and can help a coach determine if they want to watch you or not in person.

Number 9: DON'T make a 9 or 10 minute long highlight video.

This is a highlight video not the story of your lacrosse career. The average time which most videos are watched is probably one to two minutes-- unless your video is so awesome that it engages a coach from start to finish. Even 5 minutes is too long.  You can show a lot in 1 to 2 minutes.  It's hard to pull out just a few of the best clips and highlights.  You don't need every highlight from your summer-just a few to showcase your play.

Number 8: DO  begin the video with a great clip!You want to showcase a great play or something memorable at the start of your video. You want to capture the attention of your audience. What you put first can determine if your video even gets watched in the first place. So the first thing you show at the beginning should be the absolutely best clip in your entire video. If you're a goalie - it could be a great save obviously, but maybe you have an incredible clear or exciting interception which would be more interesting for you to start off with than a stick-side, stick-high save.  If you're an attacker possibly start with a clip of you stealing the ball on the ride. I wouldn't just start with a ordinary goal. Yawn. Use the video clips to show how you are the total package and highlight all aspects of your play.  If your a Defender showcase your speed or your defensive positioning. Just make sure you find something that will draw the attention of those who are watching.  Middies have a lot of grunt work that they can highlight.

Number 7:  DON'T make the clips too long.Don't insert a 50-second-long clip of your goal unless something fabulous is happening during those 50 seconds.  Pick 3-5 really good goals and that will be enough.   If coaches want to see more of you, they will come watch you play AND they have access to the film from most tourna ments and can watch your entire game if they want.   Don't keep any super long clips of you running around on the field, passing around the 8, etc.--edit the clip to just show what you're trying to highlight (most clips will be around 9-10 seconds). That way you can have more short clips in your short highlight video. It is better to have a few short highlight videos than one super long one.

Number 6:  DO add an arrow or circle or something to highlight you on the video.

You don't necessarily have to circle yourself in every clip, but it is helpful to have something which helps to draw the viewers eye to you in the videos.  Some video editing software has easy ways to highlight a player in the video.  Others do not, but it can still be done.  Highlighting where you are helps to identify you in the video especially if the footage is small or blurry.

Number 5: DON'Tinclude "bad" music!

Only add music that adds to your video in a good way.  Do not put music on the video that would be a major turnoff to a coach. Include Music with a good beat not with profanity. Be discerning with the music you pick. Don't choose music that's annoying and difficult to sit through. Some coaches will turn off the volume regardless, but others like good music with the video. Unfortunately on Hudl and some other sites you don't have a lot of music choices.

Number 4: DO upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo.

Some coaches will search YouTube.  Little laxers will watch highlight videos to be inspired.  If you are ok with the video being public, then put it online to be seen.  YouTube has some analytic tools that are interesting to use.A few years ago, if my daughters emailed their highlight videos to Oregon, you could actually see on the analytics which states the video was viewed in and you could see how much of the video was watched which was insightful and cool. Now on YouTube, they only seem to allow you to see the primary state that views the video. But you can still see other analytics that may prove to be insightful. I always found it interesting to see where the average point was in a video where people would stop watching and that was typically during a more boring Clip. IMHO, I think posting the highlight video online is helpful.

Number 3: DON'T forget to have a cover page/title slide and an ending page.

On the ID slide, Include your club name, high school name, jersey # and the name of your coach(es).  Do not put personal information on your video especially info for your coach without asking permission. All of the highlight videos I have made were on iMovie where you can easily insert a title page, but I'm pretty sure if you upload your video to YouTube you can add Transitions and a cover page plus an ending page through their editing program.  Make the font large enough to read and freeze the informational clip or make it long enough to be read.

Number 2:  DO send out your video to every coach who you email.

You can link it to your recruiting web page. Don't email out the whole entire video just include the link. Make sure your video is true of your play. A coach told me that they went to watch a kid who had an awesome highlight video and their actual play didn't really reflect what they saw in the video. Hence the reason that coaches will go  watch a player more than once. It's hard from a Video to tell how good a player truly ís for instance --if a middie dodges and breaks her defender's ankles-- it's hard to  know from a video clip how good or not so good that defender may or may not be.  So if you have a clip from a good tournament-add the name of the tournament or the name of the club which you played against to the clip--doing this provides a little insight into the level of play.

Number 1 (like #10): DON'T miss this opportunity to promote yourself--make a highlight video!

Why miss out on something that can help you get recruited? To be brutally honest, I have made highlight videos for several kids.  Some kids are super easy to make a highlight video for, and yet for one kid, it was very challenging to make a highlight video for them because frankly, she just didn't have very many highlights. In the end, I was able to find enough clips from an entire summer of film to Showcase what kind of player they were and they did get a offer from a great school that was a perfect fit for them. It's not easy to always find highlights, but worth the effort to even just find a few!

If you can't make your own highlight video on Hudl for iMovie, it would be worth shelling out the money to get one made. Just make sure you look and see what the videos are like of whomever makes the highlight video for you to ensure that the finished product is good. There's some fantastic Services out there and then there are some companies where the players are so small (zoomed out) that it's  difficult to see what's going on.

This blog is just a brief summary of what goes into a highlight video. I hope it helps someone. You can have a few really short clips or even just use one clip. But just make sure --especially if you're from a non-traditional area and/or not from a well-known team,--to provide something for a coach to see you and get an idea about you as a player. Highlight videos can be an integral part of getting recruited. I'm looking forward to retweeting all the highlight videos that will be made by lots of you after reading this! :o)