What college tennis coaches really want to see in your recruiting video
This article was written by Nicolai Nonnenbroich, Assistant Men’s Tennis Coach at James Madison University.
Dear future players and parents,
Before I get into the subject of recruiting videos and what I think should be included in them, let me tell you that the video is really just a plus on your overall profile. For the most part we are interested in your tennis results and academics.
That being said, a good recruiting video can (and should) give us a solid impression of your abilities and is definitely beneficial to your success in being recruited by a strong program. I have watched hundreds of recruiting videos, and unfortunately only a very small fraction of them actually have the kind of content that we look for.
My very first advice to players, parents, and placement agencies: Do not copy what everybody else is doing! It’s easy to go on YouTube, look at all the different videos with great production value, and think that you have to do even better to get yourself noticed.
The truth is, you don’t. Around 90% of recruiting videos on YouTube look something like this: Short intro with facts about the player…music starts…10 minutes of drills from 10 different camera angles..2 minutes of actual match play.
Here is what happens when I watch it (and most other coaches that I have discussed this subject with): Music…MUTE..drills…SKIP…more drills..SKIP….still drilling…SKIP Watch one or two points because most of them are set up in a practice match and end up with an easy winner. Done.
This may sound harsh but you have to understand the coaches’ perspective. We basically watch a video with great production value but very little information about the player’s behavior in a real match situation. How well you can hit cross-court forehands for 10 minutes or that you can crush serves without the pressure of having a returner on the other side doesn’t matter.
Forget all the gimmicks. No player has ever been recruited based on that one slow-motion forehand filmed from the front in black and white (and believe me it’s out there). Here is my recommendation for content of a good recruiting video: – A short intro of yourself (optional, but often appreciated) – UNEDITED tournament match play in high quality from an angle that makes the entire court and both players visible. – Doubles play That’s it.
Tournament match play will give coaches the most important information they want to get out of your video; how you compete in a real match situation. Including doubles in your video is a very important, but almost completely overlooked element.
Knowing that most incoming freshman struggle with doubles when they first start out, demonstrating that you have well established doubles instincts can be a massive factor in your recruitment success, especially in D2 and D3.
Please remember that different coaches look for different things. I am giving you my perspective based on my own experience and many conversations I have had about this topic with other college coaches across all divisions.