Four Steps to Recruiting Success: An Overview
For those of you that are familiar with our content, you’ll notice that none of these ideas are new. In fact, we discuss these four big picture ideas that lead to recruiting success in many different places on the KPB website. However, we do feel that it’s both useful and important to approach familiar concepts from a new angle from time-to-time and this step-by-step process fits well with the cyclical nature of the college search, recruitment, and player development. So, let’s take a closer look at four big picture ideas— self-knowledge, understanding college baseball and the recruiting process, personal planning, and focusing on what you directly control— that will really help you have success in your college baseball search.
This may sound silly, but many recruits get so caught up in the madness of the recruiting process that they forget why they are going through it in the first place. Your goal in the recruiting process should be to find a college baseball fit. In order to do that, you need to spend considerable time thinking about what will make you happy in college (both on and off the field) and balancing that with what is realistic and practical given your ability and personal situation. Do you want to play at the highest level possible, even if that comes at the expense of playing time? Do you want to go somewhere with a specific major? Do you want to live close to home? Have the opportunity to study abroad and explore other interests? The questions are endless, but the task for college baseball hopefuls is straightforward— figure out what your college baseball fit looks like.
Ultimately, finding a fit comes down to prioritizing what is important to you and what will make you happy in a college experience. Even though these preferences are likely to change as you get closer to making your decision, at any given time you should have a clear picture of what your fit looks like. The reason is simple. It’s a lot easier to find what you are looking for when you know what that is. So before you do anything else, think about what you want in a college experience and whether that is realistic given your skill set, academics, financial situation, etc. Once you’ve balanced what you want with what is realistic, you can go about finding baseball programs and schools that fit that criteria.
Learn About College Baseball and the Recruiting Process
This should sound incredibly familiar. Learning about college baseball (Step 1) and the recruiting process (step 2) make up the first two steps of our Recruiting 101. Combined with your self-knowledge, understanding the college baseball opportunities available and the process required to explore them is the foundation for creating a specific and personal plan for how to achieve your college baseball goals. In the recruiting process and college search, knowledge is power. We use this figure of speech often because it’s so true. The more you know, the easier it will be to make informed decisions about what is best for you and the more leverage you’ll have in your discussions with interested college coaches. Knowing the opportunities out there and the steps that are coming will also help you avoid money traps and scams in the college search and protect you from people with ulterior motives.
Create a Personal Plan
When you know what you want, what’s available, and how to get it, you have the tools to create a personal plan for achieving your goals. There are many paths to college baseball, but getting there is much easier with a plan that makes sense given your unique situation and goals. Of course, it’s essential that your plan be realistic, objective and honest about your situation and abilities. The more specific you can make this plan and the more you can tailor it to your particular situation, the better. An example of part of a personalized plan for a player with good skills but who lacks physicality may be:
- Spend the off-season lifting heavy 4 days a week with your high school strength coach to focus on building size and strength.
- Give yourself 8 weeks to gradually build up arm strength with the throwing program you got from your coach and get prepared for the start of the season so you can throw without limitations at tryouts.
- Create an updated skills video at the end of February so it is as current as possible and you can include it when you email college coaches at programs of interest starting March 1, when recruiting rules allow them to come see you play.
Control the Controllables
Just as your focus on the field should stay on things you have control over, so should your recruiting process. If the first three of these ideas set the stage for a successful recruitment, being able to keep your focus on things you control is what will allow you to execute your plan to perfection. The recruiting process has many ups and downs and is full of distractions. If you focus on things out of your control, you will be on an emotional roller coaster, feeling like you have no control over your fate. In reality, you do have control over many important things. By focusing on things you can control—development, academics, work ethic, being a good teammate, etc.—you will put yourself in the best position for success and show college coaches that you have the skills and attributes that they look for.
Putting it All Together
The college baseball search may seem like a crazy process with many unknowns, but it doesn’t have to be. By taking a step back, you can often see that the process is more simple than it looks and that you have a lot of control over finding a college baseball fit. If you can focus on understanding, knowledge, planning, and executing throughout the recruiting process, you will be well on your way to success. You are in control of your plan, go out and execute on it!