Part II: Making the Perfect Highlight Tape | Youth1

Part II: Making the Perfect Highlight Tape

In Part II of the Y1ACT Online Camp and Combine we emphasized how important a highlight video is to getting recruited. We want to make sure you know how to do it the right way. Here are 15 points to follow to ensure that you make a highlight tape the right way.


1. Make sure it's the right length 

Make your highlight tape between 5-7 minutes long with all of your athlete’s best plays at beginning of the tape.  Evaluators are like anybody else: their attention span will dwindle after the first couple plays.  While they want to see numerous plays and situations, they don’t have the time to watch 10+ minute highlight tapes.=

2. Put important information on an opening slide

It’s extremely helpful to evaluators if the tape contains an opening slide that contains:

Athlete’s full name

Year of graduation

Jersey number




At least one form of contact information

You want to ensure that the evaluator (who is watching hundreds of other films) has all the must-know information readily available.  However, please be mindful to not give away too much contact information (i.e. home address and other potentially dangerous information.)

3. Put your best position first

If the athlete plays multiple positions or on both sides of the ball, put the highlights of the position he thinks he’s best at up first.  DO NOT go back and forth from offensive plays to defensive plays or vice versa.  Pick his best position (or side of the ball) and put all those highlights first, then transition to the other side of the ball.

4. Identify yourself pre-snap

Don’t assume the evaluator knows where the athlete is lined up every play.  Use a light effect or marker to somehow indicate where the athlete is lined up on the field.  With so many plays happening so quickly in the tapes, clearly identifying where the athlete is at the beginning of each clip, helps the evaluator’s eye.

5. No special effects

If you’re making a tape for the purpose of getting evaluated and recruiting by coaches at the next level DO NOT put ANY special effects in the highlight tape.  No slow-motion, reverse effects, split screens, color enhancements, cutaways, etc.  Adding any type of effect to the film drastically takes away the ability for the film to be evaluated properly.

6. Keep it all on the field

As mentioned above, any cutaways or unnecessary edits take away from the highlight tape.  This includes any player interviews or the player introducing himself.  There’s no need to for a player to be on film talking about who he is, where he’s from, his grades and athletic accomplishments, etc.  A simple slide in the beginning with that information is all an evaluator will need.  Let the film speak for itself and if there is interest the next steps will be taken.

7. No Music (and definitely no vulgar music)

Coaches and scouts are not interested in listening to music when they're trying to scout athletes. These people are taking the time to watch football plays and many of them told us that they find music annoying. Let the football action speak for itself.

If you decide to ignore this advice and put music to your highlight tape (my personal preference is no music at all, but that’s me) make sure it’s an edited or clean version of a song.  If an evaluator puts on a tape and the music they hear is full of expletives, this could be an indicator of the prospect’s personality and lifestyle.  Keep in mind, this film counts as an evaluator’s first interaction with you.  Like anything in life, give a good first impression.   

8. No repeat plays

Regardless if it’s the state championship winning play and the crowd goes crazy, DO NOT use the same play more than once in your tape.  If an evaluator or coach is amazed by his play, he’ll simply go back and watch it again.  There is no need to have a play appear more than once in your tape.

9.  Use a wide angle

Make sure the tape is shot from an appropriate angle so that evaluator can see what he needs to.  Shooting from down on the sideline or in stands that aren’t high enough will NOT cut it.  The best film is shot from the press box or higher, this ensures the evaluator can see the whole field, formations, pre-snap movement, etc.  Furthermore, if you have the resources, it helps to use different angles on certain situations (i.e. if someone is filming from an end zone view and a press box view).

10. Don't send a personal tape to scouts

If you’re making a tape for the purpose of capturing some great memories and showing off how good you are, make a separate highlight from the one you’ll be sending to get evaluated, and make the tape for friends and family.  If you’re looking to “wow” people and swag up your tape, feel free to put in all the effects, music and everything you want—just keep that one for friends and family.  Don’t send that to colleges.

11. Obey copyright laws

Copywrite laws are a bit confusing to everyone and can effect who can use your tape.  To dumb it down and avoid any problems, never use clips from a movie, TV show, music video or newscast.  If you don’t have written and proof of permission to use the clips of a movie, TV show, music video or newscast, DO NOT put them in your highlight tape.

12. Post it everywhere

Using services such as Hudl and KrossOver are great services for getting a highlight tape cut up and looking professional.  However at the same time, why not maximize the ability to get eyes on your film—put it on YouTube!  Not everyone has a Hudl or KrossOver account, but most people across the world have the ability to go to Youtube and search for it.  Maximize yourself!

13. Make sure it's just the highlights

Don’t send a full game tape to a potential evaluator—they will not watch it.  Now, if they watch your highlight tape and request game film, that’s a different situation.  However, as a first send, never send an entire game film because evaluators simply don’t have the time to sit down and watch the whole thing.

14. No weight room reps

Avoid including any non-football films.  Video of an athlete working out in the weight room or running a 40-yard dash traditionally don’t mean a thing and are wasted time on the tape.  Stick to football game action.  It should go without saying, but also don’t include any film of him playing other sports.

15. No text during the plays

In your tape DO NOT have scrolling text or anything that could potentially distract the evaluators eye while watching.  In that same breath, avoid calling yourself anything along the lines of “best” or “No.1 ranked” because it will not change an evaluator’s mind.  What they see on the tape, is what they see—it doesn’t matter if you call yourself “the best 8th grader in Missouri”.



Speak with a Youth1 Recruiting Counselor

Youth1’s Recruiting Counselors are on a mission to educate you on the recruiting process - one that's very competitive and starts early. Let us provide guidance through the most important decisions that shape your athlete's journey in sports.

Learn how to become a recruitable student-athlete, find out what colleges you match best with, and get the ability to message college coaches directly with a specialized recruiting package. 

Don't wait, schedule a time to speak with a Youth1 Recruiting Counselor. It's FREE! Just fill out the following information and then select a date and time in the form below. 



This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.