#2 recruiting Tip email-A
Skills video information and “Choosing the Right College Fit”
I’m glad you all enjoyed my email on recruiting. But boy, I was not ready for the number of emails I received asking questions as well as thanking me for the information I sent out last week. Let me start this week by sharing a couple of the questions people email me along with my responses back to them. Sydney asked, “One thing that I struggle with when I'm trying to make an initial contact is the email subject line, what do you suggest for that to help get an email noticed and read?” Here are two that you might use in your subject line “Regarding Lake Land College Softball”. Another one would be “Looking for Lake Land College Softball Camp Information”. If you use this one make sure you ask a question about their camp. Mark wanted to know, “How to approach a college coach at a tournament”. The answer is simple, you don’t. This is a major pet peeve of college coaches. Some college coaches have rules on player contact that do not allow them to talk to players and parents at tournaments. Besides, coaches are at the tournament doing a job. Leave them alone just say hi and keep on walking. If they want to talk to you they will find you. A follow up to Mark’s question is how to gauge the level of interest of a college coach in a certain player. If the coach asks about a certain player or makes contacts with a player their interested. Coaches for whatever reason may not want people to know what player(s) they might be interested in so don’t push them. Once again thank you for the questions.
Now to this weeks information attached to this email you will find an article I wrote on “Choosing the Right College Fit” dealing with what to look for when deciding on what college you would like to attend. I have also attached information on our upcoming winter camps here at Lake Land College. I will be passing out more information on recruiting and would love to see you all make one so we can meet in person.
Making a Softball Skills Video
By, Nic Nelson Head Softball, Coach Lake Land College
Now lets take a little time and talk about skills videos, which is a necessary evil softball recruit needs to have. Why do I think they are necessary evils because 95% of what we see are bad which end up hurting the players recruiting changes. Plus I have yet to see a video that makes any player look her best. Everyday I get five to seven skills videos and sorry to say, but a lot college coaches and myself don’t even open most of them. And if I do you have less than one swing or one fielding of the ball to keep me watching it. Here are some helpful hints to not only get your skills tape open, but viewed.
How do I use a skills video? Only use a skill video when there is no way a coach can see you play or when a coach request to see one. Right now I’m interested in a player from South Africa. I think you all would realize I’m not going to fly South Africa to see this kid play. So, I have asked her to send me a skills video. If I like it then at that point we will figure out how I can see her play in person. In your case it might be a coach trying to decide whether or not to go to a tournament to watch you play in person. Please realize any good coach will not sign a player just on a video, and once they have seen you play you do not need to send them a video.
Only send skill video when requested. If you just send out an email unrequested it will get deleted or a short view. If a coach requests your video then the coaching staff is going to look at it. How do you get a coach to request your video? First, have an advocate who knows a coach who trusts their opinion and contact them telling them they should that a look at your video. There has been more than once I have called a coach recommending they look at a video which they did. Why? Because they trust my opinion, this is how I got interested in the player form South Africa. From taking softball teams overseas to play, I have made some great contacts in others I trust. (That why from time to time see players from overseas on our roster.) Remember from my email last week on how to email a coach I said end with a question. Well, that question could be “If you like, I have a video if you would like me to send it to you? This is another way to get your video requested. Most coaches will say yes.
Find out what the coach wants to see. Don’t be afraid to ask the coach what they want to see and what angles they want to see it. As I said earlier, I’m sorry to say but most videos we receive are terrible. They do more to hurt your chances than help. The other day Michelle Glenn one of our All American players was in my office while I was looking at a skills video. So, I told her to tell me stop when she thought I stopped looking at it. Half way through the first swing she said stop and she was right. What if the coach looking teaches rotational hitting and you are a liner hitter? What if the coach looking at it wants to see a continuous series of fielding and you have edited each ground ball? What if the coach does not like the song you selected? If you are going to take the time and from what I hear pay a lot of money to make a skills video, make sure you send us what we want to see. Now I’m going to speak for myself and my coaching staff here at Lake Land College on what and how we want to see it.
Hitting: Needs to be firston the videoshowing us 4 to 5 swings from the opposite side of the plate and if you slap 4 to 5 slaps from the opposite side of the plate. I would also like to see those swings with a live pitcher throwing. I’m just interested in your hitting technique.
Pitching: We would like to see four to five of your best up pitch, down pitch and off speed pitch. The camera needs to be angled from behind the pitcher showing your whole body in the pitching motion and being able to see it move at the plate. I would also like to have a batter standing in. We would like to see four to five from the side of the same pitches being able to see the whole pitching motion. If you can show the pitch speed on a radar gun, that would be great.
Catching: We would like to see how the catcher frames, blocks and be able to get a home to 2nd pop time. From a fount view with a pitcher throwing I would like to see the catcher catch 4 to 6 ball on the edges of the strike zone to see her framing. Then I would like to see blocking with 2 to 3 ball down the middle as well as to each side. Then from behind the 2nd baseman I would like to see two throw to second being able to hear the ball hit the 2nd baseman glove.
Throwing: I would like to see you throw a couple of balls to first from third. With the camera set up behind the first baseman, so I can see the entire throw and hear the ball hit the first baseman’s glove. What I’m trying to do here is get a pop time to see how hard you throw. If you have a radar gun then show me the speed. Here is how I would like you to make the throw.Make a twelve foot triangle from third base going down the line and have the fielder stand beside third base. Roll a ball to the fielder the fielder must catch and throw the ball to 1st base with out coming out of the triangle. I will start the stopwatch when the ball hits your glove. I will stop the watch when I hear the ball hits the first baseman’s glove. Have the first baseman straddle the bag; make sure she does not reach for the ball. Do this twice and use the average of the two times.
Fielding: I don’t really care if I don’t see it at the plate I’m not interested.
Running: Start at home with the camera being able to see you run all the way to first base. This way I can get a home to first time. Remember the slower you are the better the hitter you need to be, unless you’re a pitcher.
Length of the video: As I mentioned above we get five to seven videos a day with an average length I would say of 7 minutes. I don’t have that much time to watch them all in there entirety. So, keep it short as possible. Attach your resume that way they can open it to get your information and they can get right to your skills. Five years ago I went out to the University of Arizona, because I was looking into doing a west coast Elite Softball Evaluation tour. While there I asked the asst. coach how many videos and resume the got every year. He said that the year before they received 4,000. You’re not the only one out there.
Music: Personally I don’t care. I think people spend to much time worrying about music editing than how they look on the tape.
DO IT RIGHT! If you are going to spend the time and money make sure it makes you look good. A few years ago I was at the Rising Stars tournament in Florida and saw what we call a five tool player. When I got home I call a few coaching friends of mine and said they need to look at her. So I call the young lady and said to send out her video to these coaches. Four days later I got a phone call from one of them asking if she was really as good as I said she was because the video didn’t show that. I then call her and told her to throw away her video and do another one, but let me look at if first. Her name was Jessica Davis who is now one of the top hitting short stops in the Big Ten Conference. Make sure someone who knows what a college coach looks for looks at your video before you send it out.