We’re back to help you make better-informed decisions about spending money while trying to get recruited to play college baseball. Last time, we gave you 8 quick facts about scholarships. If you haven’t read that article, read it now before continuing. Now, we turn our attention to ways to avoid over-spending on unnecessary events. Like many things, recruiting and exposure are influenced by timing. Our previous article, “Time for Summer Ball: Things to Consider,” covers what we know about showcases, camps, and exposure. If you haven’t already looked at it, you should read it before you go on.
Having a better understanding of your readiness for seeking out attention and exposure can save you a lot of money. While development should always be the primary focus for attending baseball events, if you’re not ready to show college coaches that you have the skills and tools that they are looking for, spending lots of money on showcases and exposure events is not only a waste of money, but can also limit your opportunities later on. Exposure is a two-way street. When a player is ready, it can be great. When a player is not ready, it can give him a bad reputation that can be hard to shake. If you’re not physically or developmentally ready to play at a high level, there is nothing wrong with being ‘under the radar’ of college coaches. Every player develops and matures at a different rate. While some players may be ready to show big-time D1 schools they are ready in 9th grade, others may have to wait until late their senior year or even spend time maturing at a junior college. The following 5 questions will help you understand whether now is the time to show college coaches that you are college-ready. As always, an honest evaluation is imperative and seeking the advice of coaches can be a huge asset.
So how do you know if you are ready to be recruited? Our article on when to contact college coaches can be extremely helpful in pinpointing the right time for you to seek exposure. We suggest reading that article in its entirety, but the tips below can be equally helpful:
- Are you physically strong enough and coordinated enough to compete with the top 3rd of players in your age group or grade level? If the answer is yes, you may be ready.
- Are you being asked to attend invite-only events or to play for invite-only teams? Are college coaches reaching out to you already? Chances are that people in the baseball community will help get you exposure once they feel like you are ready. Invitations and interest from schools are some of the best ways to know you are ready to be recruited.
- Are your skills comparable to other players who are garnering interest or have received offers from colleges? Don’t confuse stats with skills. Most college coaches don’t care about your stats (they are too dependent on factors outside of his control, i.e. the level of competition). They are more interested in projecting your physicality and skills (arm strength, speed, power, swing, glove skills, range, projectable frame, height, strength, etc.) to the college level. College level skills get recruited. Being objective in the evaluation of your skills is essential and will help decide if you’re ready to be recruited.
- Do you have any tools that really stand out? Having an above average tool at a college level (arm strength, speed, ability to hit for power, ability to hit for average, ability to play defense) will get college coaches’ attention no matter what age you are. If you don’t have any tool that stands out (throwing upper 80’s, running a fast 60 yard dash (6.8 or less) or time to first (4.1 or less), you are likely better off spending time developing these tools rather than looking for ways to get exposure.
- Are your grades and test scores good enough to be an NCAA qualifier? Are they good enough to get into school? If you don’t have the grades to be a qualifier, your options are reduced to community college or NAIA. Even if coaches like your baseball skills, they can’t do anything if your academics aren’t good enough.
If you answered no to the first four questions, it’s likely you need more time to develop and mature. Spending money on showcases and exposure will not improve your chances of getting recruited yet. If you had positive answers to one or more of the first four questions, and you have the grades and test scores to match, it’s likely that you are ready to start showing college coaches what you can do. While these 5 questions can help you decide when you are ready to seek out attention from college coaches, it doesn’t mean that you must hurry through the recruiting process or rush. A study of D1 athletes found that players who wait until junior year of high school to start engaging with college coaches were more likely to have positive feelings about their recruiting process. Deciding where to attend college will be one of the most important decisions of your life and you will need to make sure that you take all the time you need to find the right fit.