I’m Ready for Junior Hockey – Now What Do I Do? Part II – The DVD
Welcome to the second article in a series, helping to maximize your exposure, for those of you out there trying to make JR teams this summer. Last article, we took an in depth look at the initial email you use to introduce yourself to prospective coaches for next season. A second step and growing trend in Player Based Scouting to Coaches is the DVD. This week, we will again dive into the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to this stage. Again, our end goal after these articles is for YOU to get the honest look you deserve.
Unlike the email with YouTube clips attached, the DVD can be a FANTASTIC tool for a coach. For one, the nice thing about the DVD, it can be played on a TV and not just via a laptop… this is where the quality can play a major factor. Another thing about the DVD that is to your advantage, is that you can completely cater it to you…weather its entire game footage, broken down to chapters which can include things like shootouts, power plays, and goals allowed, or even some locker room footage and interviews. Whatever it is you put on the DVD, make sure it sells YOU. Keep in mind aside from having you as a goalie on the ice, I have to deal with you as a person off the ice…showcase that side as well.
Probably the biggest factor, for me, about the DVD is that it shows you are serious about trying out for me (Or whatever team you are going for). To simply fire off emails is one thing, but to put forth the time and effort involved in making something says you care about your future. Here is a little secret…I can check an email and youtube clip from my phone, Ipad, Computer and so forth. In today’s society, we are constantly multitasking…heck, it’s not uncommon for me to be on my phone and running 7 sites simultaneously on my Ipad all at the same time. BUT, when you send me that DVD? I have to stop everything and put aside time focused to watching that and that only. In the end, that means more exposure for you!
Guess what I have here on my desk in Springfield…two stacks of DVDs. One stack, not as tall but all are very nicely packaged and have some computer printed readable labels…the other stack, burned blank disks with Sharpie’d names. Imagine I am that music fan walking out of the concert venue…which one of the DVDs am I going to go home and watch? In theory, the greatest band in the world was never discovered because of Poor marketing…same can be said for hockey players. Remember, when you walk into Best Buy and purchase a movie, they do not just simply hand you a disk. The disk comes in a case with a booklet and a fancy cover. Sometimes you even buy the deluxe edition of the movie…you need to pretend that your DVD should be the deluxe version compared to others. Make ME want to read every page and view every video you have, literally make it to the point I want to watch yours before any others. Your “Packaging” should include a Folder containing a couple pictures of you, copies of any articles from Papers or Magazines you might have been featured in, and a letter written to that team’s coach. Other items might include reference letters from Scouts and Coaches you might have worked with as well. What ever is in there, be sure it makes the DVD even more enticing to watch.
So now that I am going through the stack…I need to identify the best goalies for me to invite to our tryouts. Despite what some might feel, I personally can say that not every kid that wants to tryout gets the nod. Having 75 goalies at a tryout is not going to help me whatsoever. Being able to whittle it down ahead of time is part of my job…and my job is to make sure we go into the season with the BEST Goalies available to us.
This past Saturday morning, I am here at the office a solid 12 hours before our game going through some DVDs. We have a nice 50” plasma in the office so my eyes with the horrible vision (The glasses aren’t just a cool factor) don’t have to squint so hard. Much to my amazement, I pop a particular Goalies’ DVD from stack one in and the only reaction was for my head to tilt. This particular video was shot with a camera being held in what seems to me a mother’s hand. Naturally, she was caught up in the game; the camera followed the puck, the footage was shaky, she either forgot she was recording or she REALLY wanted me to know her feelings for the other players, but the best part…and I do mean the best part…was it was shot from the last row of the bleachers at center ice in full screen mode, not zoomed in.
Remember that 50” plasma I mentioned earlier? I literally pulled out a ruler to make sure my eyes were not deceiving me…the goalie, thanks to Momma Spielberg, was less than 2” tall. I mean, people tell me I am good and can recognize talent…but a little assistance on your part certainly helps. Ever seen the movie My Cousin Vinnie? Great scene where in the courtroom, Joe Pesci asked the witness if he was positive his clients were in fact the murders. The gentleman explains which window he saw them through, and Joe goes on to show pictures of the fact the windows were dirty, the screens were closed and never cleaned, the trees and bushes obstructed the view, and so forth. Any scramble on Mamma Spielberg’s son and I am trying to see what a 6’ tall goalie reduced to 2” behind a wall of 5-8 players scrambling for a puck has in terms of talents.
Kind of tough to do isn’t it? I am proud to admit I want to thank publicly Mamma Spielberg, remember how I mentioned that video followed the puck the entire game? I found, no lie, two forwards and defenseman that we are trying to obtain. Literally, as a coaching staff we fell in love with one forward we are willing to bet the bank on.
So the question to you, is the intent of YOUR DVD to sell me OTHER kids? I certainly hope not. Have Mom (or Dad, don’t want to leave you guys out) purchase a tripod. They are as cheap as $20 at Best Buy…plant the thing close to your end, but where the line of vision isn’t entirely obstructed from traffic in front, and have it zoomed in to where you fill up the majority of the screen. ALWAYS remember my 50” plasma…try to make yourself a sold 12” tall or more, after all my TV is roughly 44” wide by 24”. As a goalie Coach I also like to see what you are doing away from the puck. If you are a scanning the crowd for Dad’s constant approval…send that DVD to another team, for 9 months, you officially join the Power family and I am the ONLY person you need to please. If you are searching the crowd for puck bunnies after the game…you can save yourself a lot of time and just attend our games for $8 and get a better look.
Remember, don’t send me a highlight real, and send me everything. I could put the pads on, practice with an NHL team and make you a DVD with 12 saves and you would be lead to believe I am an NHL caliber goalie…when truth of the fact is, those 12 shots are the only ones I saved out of 4000. Video editing is a beautiful tool, show me the whole picture. Being scored on happens, how do you bounce back? How do you react? Are your shoulders slumping and you swinging your stick at the post or are you squirting water in your face, skating a figure 8 and challenging off the next face off? You are human after all…and if you pitched nothing but shutouts game after game, you wouldn’t be sending me your DVD; I would be attending your games along with every other coach in the country. Believe it or not, I actually like to see the goals you are letting in, they tell me a lot. For instance, when I look at a score sheet and see you won 5-3, I have no idea how those goals went in. Were they all break aways? Did you get screened in front and two of those goals were tips? Were you beat on direct shots and you missed judged the puck? The BIGGEST thing myself and any other coach look for…is did you battle to try and stop that puck? Did YOU do EVERYTHING possible within your physical structure to make that save?
So lets break it down:
- Make sure your DVD is labeled cleanly and all writing is completely legible. If you can, print the labels
- Package them nicely. Just throwing them into a plastic case isn’t enough. Spend some time making a nice Case cover with your picture and name.
- Attach a letter, written directly to the coach you are sending the DVDs to. Don’t just send random DVDs in envelopes hoping the coaches figure out who you are. Use the information from your initial email contact to reiterate those facts to the coach.
- Film YOU, not the game. It’s nice to have a game footage, but keep the camera on you.
- Fill the screen with YOU, not zoomed way out…remember my plasma story!
- Don’t just make a highlight reel, not every save needs to be flashy.
- Do your homework…like last article, be honest with yourself and send to the teams you aspire to play for and have a shot at.
- It’s your future…make an investment in it!
Good luck as your seasons are rolling into playoffs, and remember as always…stay square to the puck and keep your stick on the ice!
Jason Power currently coaches with the Springfield JR Blues in the North American Hockey League and is an evaluator for USA Hockey at both district and national festivals.