In the recruiting process, as in life, honesty is the best policy. There’s a big difference between putting your best foot forward and carefully crafting your message to a college coach and not telling them the truth to make yourself seem like a different player or person than you really are. In the flurry of information that’s exchanged and questions that are asked during recruitment, you’ll likely have plenty of opportunities to do either. If you are serious about finding a college baseball fit and having a great college baseball experience, you’ll choose to be honest with them and expect that they do the same.
Every year, a similar scene plays out all across the country. Freshmen and transfer players arrive at school and college baseball teams get to work. Coaches have hand-picked these incoming players based on specific team needs and all have high hopes that the latest group of talented new players will push the current team to achieve more than the year before. Coaches have expectations for their players based on what they’ve seen and learned during recruiting process and players have expectations about their coaches and programs based on their research and interactions during recruitment, as well. Both coaches and players want these expectations to match up with reality and the only way this can happen is if both sides are honest with each other throughout the entire process.
The priorities of coaches and prospective players are more similar than many might think. Players want to find a good fit and be around people they enjoy, and coaches do too. It does no good for a coach to sell a player on something they won’t get when they show up to campus. This only leads to unhappy players, less success, and more turnover. Likewise, it’s a mistake for a recruit to tell coaches they should expect something that he can’t deliver once he’s on campus. It’s in the best interest for players and coaches to be honest and up front. Sometimes, things simply don’t work out as planned and having some team turnover is unavoidable in a competitive environment. But, by being honest with coaches and having shared understanding and expectations, you will have a much better chance of finding a program where you’ll stay for the duration of your college career and have success.
If you’re still not convinced, here are 5 specific reasons to be honest with yourself and the college coaches who are recruiting you:
An honest evaluation of “fit” is important for both sides
If either side is not honest and tells the other what they think they want to hear, it becomes much more difficult to figure out if there is a mutual fit during recruitment. When you are so focused on finding a place to play, it can be hard to imagine that it would be a good thing for a coach to convince you that his program is not right for you. But finding the poor fit in recruitment (Seeking the “No”) is just as important as finding the good fit. Finding the “No” can save you a lot of trouble and help you find the “Yes” that you need. No one knows more about a program than the coach, so let him evaluate you as a fit and ask questions that will provide answers to allow you to do the same.
Honesty allows you to understand and evaluate the expectations and demands of a program
Before you can be honest with others, you must be honest with yourself. What do you want in a college baseball experience? College baseball is a lot of work at all levels and you need to evaluate how baseball will fit into your overall college experience. This is a critical piece of program fit that we discuss in this article. Are you okay with baseball being your only extra-curricular activity? Are you willing to give up most of the social freedom and spare time that regular students have? Make sure you are honest about your expectations and do the work to find out what the coaches expect from players are each program you consider.
The truth always comes to light
The college baseball community is tight knit, coaches talk, and word travels fast. The truth will eventually come out. It always does. If you get a reputation for being dishonest, you’ll find that your opportunities everywhere start to disappear quickly.
Your college decision is a life-long decision
This isn’t some small decision that you can laugh off easily. This is about so much more than baseball. This is about relationships, teamwork, growth and development, brotherhood, and so many other things that can’t be grounded in lies if you want to be successful. Your college decision will impact you for the rest of your life, start it on the right foot and for the right reasons.
It’s the right thing to do!
It really is that simple. Honesty is always the best policy. College coaches are looking for players with character. Nothing shows quality of character like telling the truth, especially when it’s a difficult thing to do! This allows you to win and develop relationships, even with coaches at programs that go a different direction.