Today I had the privilege to speak with the 2011 ACC Coach of the Year and the 2011 National Coach of the Year, Pam Bustin. Pam has revitalized the Duke field hockey program, guiding the Blue Devils to a 14-8 overall record and a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals in her first season at Duke. Under her direction, the Blue Devils, who finished the year ranked 6th nationally, advanced to the ACC Championship finals with a 2-1 victory over eventual national champion Maryland in College Park and earned the programs 11th NCAA tournament bid, shutting out Stanford 5-0 in the first round.
I asked where her recruits come from, she said “all over the world”. I wondered how a school can recruit from around the world with budgets being cut in every department. The response was “video“. Bustin relies heavily on video to evaluate an athlete. No matter where the athlete is from, sending a video could open the door for a first hand view. Bustin suggests that a video not only show when a player has the ball, but the entire play. She looks to see if the player can pre-scan the field, eyes up, is involved with the play even though she does not have the ball, has speed and stick skills. She does not look for a particular body type, as may have been the case in the past with the sport in general.
I found it interesting that the Duke program files the online videos they receive. If an athlete visits the school or is playing in a college showcase tournament, Pam will review their video just prior to seeing them so she can see how they have developed since the video was made. I have been producing recruiting videos for 13 years, this is the first time I have seen a coach use them in this manner. Great use of this recruiting tool!
Recruiting Video Tips
A few more words of advice from Bustin would be to send all videos online, do not send DVDs. The video should be no more the 3-6 minutes. As you can imagine, the coaching staff receives hundreds of videos and does not have the time to watch hours of footage from one player. Bustin mentions that she can determine within 1-2 minutes if a player has potential.
I wanted coach Bustin’s opinion on sending in a skills video instead of game film. Coach Bustin said that sending both would be ideal. It is always great to see a kid with great stick skills, but without game film, she adds, it is difficult to evaluate if a player has a deep understanding of the game.