A few years ago, we were involved in an interesting discussion with a Twitter follower about prolonged periods of silence (no communication) between college coaches and recruits. This topic hits on a very important part of recruit communication and we thought it deserved a full article worth of attention. First, let’s give some context from our Twitter discussion:
KPB Tweet: If you commit, call every other school you are talking to and let them know. It’s the right thing to do & they will appreciate it a lot.
Follower Reply: It’d be nice if coaches let players know of their interest, or non-interest, as well.
That’s a fair point! And we want to go more in-depth on the conversation that ensued (without character limits!).
Explaining the Initial KPB Tweet:
Coaches invest a tremendous amount of time, money, and effort into pursuing each recruit, and it’s important to let them know personally when you have decided to commit elsewhere. Even though it’s not the news the coach wants to hear, being up front and honest with the coach shows a lot about your character and justifies the time they have spent pursuing you. Notifying coaches in a timely fashion also ensures that they don’t hear the news from someone else (the ultimate slap in the face) or spend unnecessary time continuing to recruit you (adding insult to injury). Lastly, things can change quickly in the college baseball recruiting process and you never want to burn a bridge or disrespect a coach. The baseball community is tight-knit and word travels fast. Don’t believe us? Read this story here.
Understanding the Follower Tweet:
Wanting to hold coaches accountable for informing recruits of their schools’ level of interest is a justified position. However, unless a coach is 100% interested or 100% not interested, rarely will they inform a recruit of where they stand voluntarily. Why? Recruiting for a college program is a fluid situation and things change quickly. One day you don’t need a shortstop and have no scholarship money left, and the next someone transfers and your shortstop gets hurt. If they don’t have to, the coach will never give information that may negatively impact their chances of signing a player and they never want to shut any door if there is the slightest chance that interest may change. While a lack of communication from a coach who has previously given you attention can certainly mean a lack of interest (most coaches who are very interested would not let this happen), it’s also a way coaches can buy time and continue to evaluate and watch a player develop.
So, what does it mean when all of a sudden you don’t hear from Coach X for a long period of time? We don’t know! It’s different for every situation. What we do know is, if you want to find out where you stand with a school, you need to take ownership over your recruiting process and ask.
Learning to ask important and sometimes difficult questions is absolutely critical if you want to find a college program that is a great fit. The best decision is an informed decision, so ask questions that give you the information you need. A coach may be buying time to see how you would perform next season, but asking them ‘where do I stand in your recruiting plans?’ gives you the power to control your recruiting timeline. If your question is direct, it will force the coach to evaluate where you stand and give you an honest answer. While your question may not lead to the answer you were hoping for, it will allow you to make rational decisions based on facts.
Get comfortable asking questions that force honest and informative answers. The way coaches handle these questions and the answers they give will have you well on your way to finding a college baseball fit. This is just as much about seeking the “no” in the recruiting process as it is finding the “yes”. It might sting when a school doesn’t show interest in you, but this isn’t an indictment of your ability or character. There are lots of reasons why things don’t work out in the recruiting process. Be courteous and respectful, but don’t be shy about getting the answers you need to make your decision, even if that answer is no.
For more resources on what questions to ask throughout the recruiting process, read: 7 Difficult but Important Questions to Ask Interested Coaches, Questions To Ask Interested Coaches and Recruiters, and Asking Questions That Matter to You Part 1 and Part 2.