How beneficial are sports mixtapes for high school athletes?
As far back as the late ‘90s and early 2000s, high school and college kids were making athletic mixtapes of themselves, with the brand And1 heavily endorsing these mixtapes.
Athletic mixtapes are a compilation of short game or practice clips that a videographer edits together to a piece of backround music. Most clips show off a talented trick or impressive athleticism to highlight the player in the videos.
The first athlete to become famous by way of And1 mixtapes was Grayson Boucher, better known as “The Professor.” He used this fame to launch a successful career as an actor, putting out movies such as “Ball Don’t Lie” (2008) and “Life on the Road” (2012).
Today, high school athletes hire videographers such as local cameraman Rain Hayles, better known as Splash Productions.
Many athletes want mixtapes and highlight tapes to impress college coaches and give them a better chance of getting noticed, which in turn would better their chances of receiving a college scholarship.
Athletes with these highlight videos often turn to social media to share these impressive reels. According to a survey conducted by Cornerstone Reputation, 85 percent of college coaches use social media as a platform to find these mixtapes of possible recruits for their team. Out of these surveyed university coaches, 87 percent search the social platfrom Facebook for recruitment.
Junior Kazell Stewart, a top ranked basketball player in Connecticut for Prince RVT (Regional Vocational Technical) High School in Hartford, however, said he doesn’t play for the mixtapes or for the coaches:
“I don’t play for mixtapes. I ask my coaches to not tell me about what schools come to my games so that I don’t get a big head and I play my game. I play to get somewhere far in life.”
Hayles, who is widely recognized as one of the best camera men in the state, acknowledges the dangers of getting a mixtape as a high school athlete.
“Sometimes the videos make the players look better than they actually are, and it sometimes goes to the kids’ heads in a way because they think since they have a highlight tape, they are all of a sudden pushed to a higher level than everyone else, when in reality, all a highlight tape is is just their best plays put into one 3-minute video,” said Hayles.
Mitchell College men’s basketball coach Todd Peretz offers a different perspective on highlight tapes:
“I do watch highlight tapes, but not as a primary tool. I prefer to watch full game video and attend high school practices and games to evaluate.“
For coach Peretz, being a coach and watching highlight tapes is one perspective, but as a parent of a former high school athlete, he has a strong opinion about high schoolers paying for highlight tapes.
“I think it’s a waste of money if that is all they are doing,” said coach Peretz.
Depending on the videographer, the price of a mixtape varies. Sophomore Colby Balzer, who runs HalftimeTapes, charges $20 while Hayles charges more, depending on the length of the drive to the game.
Coach Peretz, whose son Tyler played at Waterford during his senior season last year and now plays for his father at Mitchell College, does not discourage highlight tapes. He would, however, always like to see a skills tape to accompany the highlights, saying that he “would place more value on a skills tape.”