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You may not realize it, but everything you do around the baseball field, from the way that you wear your uniform to the way you run out a ground ball, is being watched by college recruiters who come to see you play. In the next few weeks, we want to tell you about common mistakes that can get you crossed off recruiters’ lists.
While some of the things we tell you about may seem very picky, keep in mind that coaches normally only get to see you play for a short time. Coaches and recruiters will formulate their ideas about you as a player based on everything they see you do, and these judgments are often made quickly. If you are lucky, coaches will get to see you play multiple games. That way, they can see your ability as a player and what kind of teammate you are. But, most recruiters will watch you play one game, maybe only one at bat, one play in the field, or one inning of pitching to determine whether or not to see you more. In that moment, will you be doing something that will make recruiters want to come back to see you or something that will get you crossed off the list? Fair or not, everything you do is magnified and recruiters will make quick decisions based on what they see. Everything you do matters!
We’ve made up a story to help you see what we mean. It follows Alex, a recruit just like you:
Alex is a good high school baseball player. He found the KPB website early in high school and learned about what he needs to do to play college baseball. He studies hard and his grades are good. He makes a video and sends it out to schools. He receives several letters of interest from coaches who saw the video. He also goes to a local showcase at the end of his junior year where a lot of college coaches are present. He performs well at the showcase and hears from several more interested colleges. It is now the summer after his junior year and his summer team is going to a big national tournament. On his way to the tournament, he stops for a few unofficial visits and is shown around college campuses by the coaches.
John is a college recruiting coordinator. He spends his summers recruiting and he attends many showcases and tournaments. Early in the summer, he goes to a showcase where he sees Alex and a number of other prospects. He gets in touch with Alex and 6 other players and he arranges for them to visit his school on their way to the national tournament. John is also going to the national tournament to see 25 potential recruits at the same event and he is sure to pick up more names as he watches the games. The event is hectic and takes place at several different high schools and baseball complexes. He tries to see as many of the players on his list as possible, and because of scheduling conflicts and priority players, he is only able to watch 5 innings of Alex’s game before having to leave to see a pitcher who is scheduled to throw. He gets to Alex’s game a little early and has time to watch him warm-up and interact with his teammates.
Without even knowing it, Alex is on John’s shortlist of potential players for his team. Alex isn’t aware, but he and 4 other infielders are being considered for one scholarship. Alex’s chances for the scholarship depend on what he does during the 5 innings that John sees him play. During these 5 innings, Alex can help, hurt, or ruin his chances of earning the scholarship to play college baseball.
During the next few weeks, we will return to this story and talk about the little things that Alex does that help or hurt his chances. You might be surprised at what matters to recruiters. We hope that you’ll learn from Alex’s mistakes and use the lessons and articles below to help you successfully navigate the college baseball recruiting process!
Lessons From Alex
Lesson: Coaches will make judgments about you as a player and person based on your appearance and body language. Make it a lasting positive image.
Lesson: Coaches want to see you stay in the present from start to finish. Show them that you can stay focused for the entire time you are at the field.
Lesson: Recruiters aren’t just looking for hits and strikeouts. They are looking at how your skills play out at their level. Don’t leave them guessing. Leave it all on the field.
Lesson: Recruiters want to see how you handle the ups and downs. You can make a positive impression on a recruiter, even when you fail.
Lesson: Coaches want to see you treat everyone with respect. Parents, coaches, teammates, umpires, siblings and anyone else you interact with included.
Lesson: Above all else, recruiters are looking for players with quality character who will represent them and the school well. Make sure when they check your social media accounts, they won’t find any red flags or cause for concern.
Lesson: There is no single way to impress a recruiter. Do your best and follow these tips at all times.
Lesson: The most important thing you can show coaches is good grades and test scores. Without them, nothing else matters.
Lesson: Your college decision should be grounded in rational, fact-based decision-making. When the emotion wears off, make sure the reality you are left with matches what you want in a college program.