Representing your college as a participant on its tennis team is a thrill of a lifetime. I try to open the door for as many high school hopefuls as I can. When a college coach requests a video from a high school prospect, they might be asking, “Who are you and why should I be considering you?”
When I make a video for a high school player, I want to portray the player as honestly as I can. I look at each player as a special athlete. Through my videos, I try to show the true athletic skills, as well as the inner drive from each player. Everyone has something special. I was a Division I scholarship athlete myself, so I have a personal understanding of what it takes to be a contributor to a team sport. Tennis players are no different from other athletes who will be representing their college in their sport of choice. In these videos, a person’s body language speaks: Players must exude positive energy, confidence, strength and intelligence. I also like to include some audio bytes from each prospect because there is no substitute for speaking from the heart.
All-in-all, these “highlight reels” are an important vehicle for broadcasting yourself to a college coach. Most coaches receive hundreds of these videos, so if yours does not stand out, you’ve lost an opportunity: An unforced error, if you will. The highlight reel needs to get to the point, make a statement and be informative. It needs to exhibit realistic challenging tennis and some actual competitive play.
During the actual videotaping session, I use my 16 years as a USPTA teaching pro to identify goals and communicate them to the player and the player’s coach. We design certain drills to bring out the best from the player.
Editing is a long and sometimes complicated procedure that is an often overlooked process of the highlight reel. I must choose the best segments of the video to use, put them in the most logical order, use the appropriate dissolves, include the audio bytes strategically, include information about the player, such as awards and recognition, rankings, etc., add energetic music when appropriate, even take out unwanted audio like humming from fans or buzzing from florescent bulbs. Sometimes I use slow-motion when I feel an athletic movement needs to be highlighted.
The finished DVD that I produce has a photograph of the player printed on the disc. Also popular and easily accommodated is the service of producing a video file for the player to upload to the Web to sites like YouTube. The coaches seem to find this a practical venue for receiving a video.
Each player that truly has the ambition to play for their college team can achieve it. If you put in the work, you can be rewarded. There is a school out there for you.
Click here for an example of a video produced for local player Austin Davidow.