Friday, March 7, 2014

Top 5 Requirements for a Professional Highlight Film

These days nearly every team uses the online game footage software "" to organize and view game film. They also recently implemented a highlight service which allows the athlete to organize and edit their best plays into a highlight video via their website. Another route many serious athletes go, will be to hire a professional to edit their footage. Regardless which option you choose, there are a few parameters which we consider "essential" to every highlight video. Highlight videos are often incorrectly executed by athlete editors, but many professionals also miss the mark. Be sure your highlight video adheres to the following guidelines:

1: PLAY ORDER -  Play order is the most important aspect of a highlight video. You only get one chance to make a first impression. All recruiting coaches watch hundreds of highlight videos when scouting talent. If you don't catch their attention within the first five plays, they simply do not have the time to continue watching. Be sure to always run your very best play to start the video, with the rest of your better plays following. If your lucky enough to have a coach watch your highlight to finality, it is a good idea to also end on a strong play.

2: VIDEO LENGTH - In today's media driven society, attention spans are shorter then ever. Over 50% of all online video audiences will not even watch your video past the 1:00 minute mark. The average time a video is watched on our own Youtube channel is only about 1:30 minutes. Although an interested coach will almost definitely pass that mark, no one is trying to sit through 13 minutes of highlights. We highly recommend keeping the video around 5 minutes and definitely no longer then 8 minutes. Typically we try to keep the number of highlights per video around 30 plays. This is more then enough time to showcase your full athletic potential.

3: INDIVIDUAL PLAY LENGTH - The length each play should run is very important the final highlight product. You want to display your best plays as quickly as possible. Be sure to start each play just as the ball is snapped, and let it run only a couple of seconds after the whistle is blown. This will ensure your final product contains only your best efforts on the field, with no filler or wasted time.

4: IMPORTANT INFORMATION - Several things should be very clearly displayed at both the beginning and end of all highlight videos and on the DVD artwork. Name, position, jersey number, team or school, height, weight and additional accolades should all be included in your opening credits. Your contact info should also be included on your DVD case. This will give coaches the essential information needed to recruit a prospective prospect. Anything you can do to make a recruiters job easier, the better your chances are of being recruited. 

5: MUSIC SELECTION - I know everyone enjoys their friends watching their highlight video alongside their favorite soundtrack, but it is important to keep in mind the coach when selecting music. A properly selected music score can definitely add to the effect of your highlight. Be aware that recruiting coaches may have different tastes when it comes to their eclectic preferences. Be sure to choose something dramatic, powerful and inspiring. Instrumentals with no vocals are usually the best choice, but if your song does have lyrics be sure to keep out any vulgar language!

Although a great highlight contains many other attributes in addition to what is listed above, you now have a definitive guideline to follow when assembling your own highlight. It is important to invest a great deal of time, and sometimes a little money, in this process. A highlight video is the number one tool used in the recruiting process, so having a good one is a prerequisite. You are investing in your own future. HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Recruiting Class Of 2013

Dear Players & Parents,

Over the last few months Varsity Highlights in association with Varsity House has had over 30 seniors sign with colleges and universities at every level. Showcasing our Athletes talents has brought them well deserved recognition and they've gotten NOTICED! This marks the 4th year that our staff has been helping student-athletes gain recognition on a National level. Over the past four years we have been fortunate in sending athletes to colleges from coast to coast and generating over $2million dollars in full & partial Athletic Scholarships.  The following is a list of VH athletes from the class of 2013 and where they will be attending school this fall.

Joe Vellano - Signed NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS!
Matt Goodman- SUNY Cortland
Skylar Dennerlein- University of Pennsylvania
Anthony Milone- Sacred Heart University
Blake Geller- Union College
Matt Horowitz- Bentley University
Thomas Kramer- Lycoming College
Travis Procida- Lycoming College
John Trainor- Army West Point
Will Rodriguez- Monroe Junior College
Giovanni Ogilvie- Southern Connecticut State University
Danny Kesack- Wesley College
Nick Coviello- Montclair State University
Andy Labudev- Lafayette College
Drew Farber- Franklin and Marshall
Kyle Schneider- SUNY Cortland
Ryan Galloway- East Coast Prep
Connor Carlstrom- Wilkes University
Justin Kulcscar- Towson University
Will Dyson- Bridgton Academy
Danny Thompson- Gettysburg College
Ryan Kennelly- Gettysburg College
Ethan Fredericks- University of New Haven
Mario Jacovino- Wilkes University
Nick Soravilla- SUNY Cortland
Mike Manente- Montclair State University
Zach Vinci- University of California
Eric Mourkakos - Columbia University
Kaitlin Lewis - Trinity College Basketball & Lacrosse

This list has been made possible through countless hours of time and effort put in by both the student-athlete's and the VH staff. We continue to strive towards creating the best training environment, highlight presentation, and student athlete advisory board in the country. To become part of TEAM VH Class of 2014 please call me directly at 201-767-1305 or send an email to   

Best Wishes,
Dan Goodman

Thursday, September 26, 2013

In-Season Recruiting Tips

High school seniors with the intention of playing college football, your window of opportunity to get noticed is right now!  Assuming everyone has read (Recruiting 101), I’m going to touch upon some basic recruiting steps that require action now that will greatly enhance your opportunities.

1.  The ONLY way to spark NEW interest from coaches is by sending new content, therefore a mid-season highlight is non-negotiable.    You can wait to send an end of season highlight if you are OKAY with giving the competition a 2 month recruiting head start.

2.  Let everyone know your intention of playing college football.   Start with your Head coach, position coach, athletic director, strength & conditioning coach, boosters etc.   The football community is very closely knit, and much of recruiting is still done by recommendations and referrals.

3.  Contact the coach’s that gave you their business cards on the “Camp Circuit” this summer. An email/phone call can go a long way.  Often times all a coach needs is a reminder to put you back on the top of the list.

4.  Take unofficial visits and as many game day trips as possible!  Unofficial visits are unlimited so take advantage.   These trips will be informal.  It is a perfect way to see what the game day vibe is all about at each respective school.

5.  Pass the eyeball test!  Coaches will absolutely be in schools from Thanksgiving through Christmas.   If you list 6’2 235lb, you better damn be 6’2 235lb when they pull you out of class.  Every college football team in America strength trains throughout the season.  They expect college level recruits to be doing the same!

-Dan Goodman

Recruiting 101

Getting noticed is the first step in the world of college recruiting.  When approaching your recruiting process in any sport, you need to market yourself as if you were a salesman, and YOU are the product.  You could be the best product around but if no one knows about you, an offer is never going to come.   The worst mistake an athlete can make is to wait for a coach or parent to do the recruiting legwork for them.   Here are a few tips to help you get noticed:

HAVE A PLAN OF ATTACK! It is impossible to make a sale if you don’t have a game plan.  So sit down and figure out your top 30 schools, that’s right 30!  The more the merrier, at the end of this process you want to have multiple options.  

TRAIN YEAR ROUND at a quality ( sports performance facility!  In today’s game there is no off-season.  If you list that you are 6’2 220, you better look 6’2 220 when a coach comes strolling through the doors the week after thanksgiving.  

HIT THE CAMP CIRCUIT HARD prior to your senior season.  Choose the biggest camps around.  They will have coaches from all levels, D1AA, DII, and DIII.  Like I said before, THIS IS A SALES PITCH. You want to be exposed to as many coaches and players as possible.  News travels fast these days, and if you perform well at a big-time camp everyone is going to know.  

HAVE A PROFESSIONAL HIGHLIGHT FILM MADE.  A single game film no longer makes the cut, especially if it’s a VHS!  It’s all about presentation and what is going to attract your potential employer (Teams).  Coaches receive thousands of game films annually.  A packaged product that is going to stand out amongst the rest will insure the most attention!  Calculated highlight films attract interest.  Be certain it’s no longer than 5 minutes. Chances are you’ll only get 2 minutes to make an impression.  

DO SOME LEG WORK. If a school doesn’t respond with a phone call or letter, you need to contact them!  Most school’s recruiting departments are underfunded and understaffed.  It takes almost zero effort to make a few phone calls!  

HIRE A PROFESSIONAL FILM CREW. If your high school game footage is typically brutal, have a professional service privately film/produce your highlight film. You only have one opportunity at a first impression.  MAKE IT COUNT!

-Dan Goodman

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dont Get Lost In The Huddle

Here is a staggering statistic: there are over 1.1 million high school football players, and less then 88,000 have the honor of competing at the collegiate level. This gives you less then an 8% chance to achieve your goal if your aspirations are in college football.

Everyday at Varsity Highlights we have several student athletes who send us their highlight videos or stats looking for feedback. Often the videos are homemade, or done using an online editing service.  We have the pleasure of seeing some footage of the best players in the nation in the clips they send, but the sheer volume we go through makes one indestinguishable from the rest. 

The homemade videos usually have the plays running too long and rarely have any arrow or player indicator. This forces me (and any possible coach or recruiter) to rewind plays several times just to really see whats going on. Not to mention the occasional footage shot by a parent who jumps up and down in the stands with the camera in hand everytime a good play happens. A coach going through dozens of highlights daily, often wont even waste thier time with something so difficult to watch. 

 When it comes to the online editors, the quality gets a little better, but the final product is very impersonable and does little to represent your individual personality. Videos arranged with a web based editor always have a standardized template, simple text menus, and truly have no unique or personal attributes.

 I even scour the internet quite often  looking for cool new highlights and to check out the videos from the nations top prospects and from other professional video comapnies. Of course with any elite player, talent is immedietly identifyable regardless of the video quality, but the lasting impact it instills always falls short. A true athlete pours his heart and soul into their sport, and so rarely does it translate to the highlight video. It is for this very reason Varsity Highlights was started in the first place.

The previous statistics I mentioned earlier even seem promising when compared to those related to scholarship money awarded. Out of the nearly 90,000 college bound athletes, less then 20,000 will receive athletic scholarships, giving you  less then a 22% chance! No matter how you look at it, the odds are stacked against you.  If those numbers dont convince you to step your game up, I dont know what will.

We often print the phrase "Get Noticed" on our literature, and that is really what we aim to do. You have to ask yourself "how do YOU want to be remembered?".  The honest truth, is that hard work on the field, is only a part of your recruiting process. Branding and selling your personality and abilities have become a huge part of the game. With social media being such a driving factor in our daily lives, people can now watch your every move. A great  deal care and attention must be put into the image you put out there.  

In the 2012 season, over 30 of our athletes were awarded over $2,000,000 in scholarship money to play football at the next level. We have had athletes go from having only 3 offers, to over 30 practically overnight! We have had such success helping our athletes because our goal is to create a memorable and lasting presentation of your athletic abilities, rather then a redundant reel of plays. Attention to detail and the scrutiny put into the production of each video is unsurpassed anywhere in the country. Dont get lost in the "Huddle" of the tens of thousands of athletes competeing for a roster spot and invest in your future. Join our team of prospects in our database and be amongst the most elite players in the nation. 


Following The Footsteps

The 2013 football season is rapidly approaching and I cannot wait to begin filming, editing, and breaking down film this football season. I’m looking forward to watching our athletes translate the hard work they have put in this offseason, onto the field. We have seen the likes of Devin Fuller and Dan Crimmins blossom from high school football stars, to being well on their way to becoming prominent Division 1 athletes. While their natural born talent and hard work is the main reason they are where they are, their personal highlight tapes assisted in helping them standout on a NATIONAL level.

We have more athletes in the VH stable ready to follow in their footsteps and make a name for themselves at the next level. Our job at Varsity Highlights HD is to separate our athletes from the rest of the competition. We have some new things in store for this year’s highlights and we are really excited to raise the visual experience to another level this season. I urge you not to hold out on getting your highlight, act quickly and GET NOTICED with the hardest working highlights company in the business. We can’t wait to see you on the gridiron. I’ll be in my Varsity Highlights gear at the games, stop by and say “hello”, or talk some football.

Best of Luck This Season!

Brian Hyde
Twitter: @BHydeLights