by Catharine Aradi

The pandemic years saw the cancellation of many tournaments and camps. Things have somewhat returned to normal, but  having a good skills video is still critical to your college search...especially if you want to put yourself on the radar of coaches who might not easily be able to see you in action.

In theory, all of you should have a skills video made by the spring of your junior year.  (Those of you who do a video as a sophomore will almost certainly need to do a new one as a junior.) But what about all those clips mom and dad shoot at games or that your team makes available after a tournament? Despite what you might hope for, most college coaches don't have the time to spend hours searching for or through players videos.  (Have you
SEEN how many softball videos are online???)

Here are some suggestions for using your video footage effectively.

1)  Set up your own YouTube page where all your videos are in one spot.  That way if a coach searches for you by name, the first thing he/she will see is your YouTube page. Name it something like "Sue Smith Softball-2023 grad" or "Sue Smith-2024 pitcher."

2) Put your skills video up first.  This should be the most visible and most easily accessible video on your YouTube page. Coaches often use this to decide if they want to spend more time looking at or for you.

3) Don't put up every clip you have from 9th grade on. Edit your clips into mini highlight reels from different events or different points in your softball career. Each clip should be 60-90 seconds max and be identified by date or event. For example, "Surf City-Fall-2022" or "Junior Year HS Highlights".

4) If you have game footage, see if it can be edited to focus on your at bats or pitching or fielding. If it cannot, put the game footage after the highlight clips. And be sure to provide a context--e.g., Zoom into June 2022 vs So Cal Chargers Gold.

5) Take down OLD footage.  If you get a new skills video, remove the old one. If you have clips going back 2 years, get rid of them! Coaches don't need to see them and you don't want some coach to look at old footage and discount you because he/she thinks it's current...especially if you're a much stronger player now!  (And take it
all down once you commit to a college.)

What about streaming video from games?

Fact of life #1: Not all streams are created equal. Some tournaments/teams/organizations are able to work with streaming platforms that are well produced and streamed without any transmission issues. I have heard from players whose teams attended events where the streaming went off without a hitch...or a glitch! On the other hand, I've also heard from players who were promised live streamed games, but they never came together in a way that actually helped coaches see players.

Fact of life #2: Not all coaches have the time to watch live streamed games.  It might not fit into their schedules, or they may be somewhere with less-than-optimal connectivity. And live streaming is frequently just  In other words, a coach may not be able to go to a website after the game and fast-forward through the parts he/she doesn't need to see in order to focus on

Fact of life #3: Some coaches love it; some would much rather have you on campus for a camp or workout.

Fact of life #4: Unless it's ESPN or some other very well-funded streaming service, it's unlikely they'll have multi-camera coverage so that every outfielder's play is just as visible and clear as the pitcher's pitches are.

If you are at an event with live streaming, and it can be easily accessed, great! If it can be archived for later use, even better!  If not, don't stress over it. Just make the most of what you have available and go from there!