When it comes to getting recruited, not all things are created equal. Where a recruit lives can be a big barrier and is a prime example of reasons why some roads to college baseball are easier than others. Living close to a recruiting hub, year-round good weather, and living in heavily populated and easy to reach areas are all major advantages for recruits. If none of these things are true for your situation, this article is perfect for you! The digital age has made it easier than ever for people from small towns or isolated location to get recruited, even on a tight budget. We’ve talked about ways you can use technology to help yourself get recruited, and that article is even more significant for small town recruits. In this article, we talk about 6 things you can do to help you go from small town kid to big time recruit.
Target realistic schools
If you are targeting schools that don’t fit your baseball and academic profiles, nothing KPB or anyone else tells you will help. It’s okay to have a few dream schools and reach a bit for them, but most of your efforts should be grounded in a realistic view of your abilities. This means understanding how your skills play when compared to a national pool of recruits. Being realistic about your level of play and where you can be admitted is step 1. Living in a location that doesn’t get much recruiting attention makes this even more important because the chances of accidental exposure are few and far between. Coaches likely will not just happen upon you, you will have to initiate contact. Get a firm grasp on where you fit by talking with a coach or someone who knows the different levels of college baseball well and will be brutally honest with you. Once you are targeting the appropriate schools, do as follows:
Network, Network, Network
Networking can seem challenging at times, but if you are from a town with less than ideal recruitment prospects, it’s a must. Here’s what to do:
- Make sure you have what you need ready for contact with college coaches. We discuss what this complete to do list looks like here, but it should definitely include a short skills video (see below), updated transcripts and test scores, contact information for your baseball references (coaches, scouts, etc. who can vouch for your ability and character), and a schedule of upcoming games.
- Take note of anyone you know who is connected to college baseball in any way, shape, or form or anyone who knows someone who is.
- Talk with the people you know about who they know and find out if anyone has connections, however small, to a college program that fits what you are looking for.
- Use your connections to get your name to the coaches. Most college coaches really appreciate when people with a stake in the program offer names and information about potential recruits. Have your connections get your name to the coach so they know about you before reaching out.
- Once you receive confirmation that the coach has heard about you, follow-up immediately with a personalized email that explains your connection to the program and why you want to play there. Follow email guidelines here to help improve chances that your email will be read.
- Do steps 1-5 for as many programs as you can that provide a potential fit. If you get a response from a college coach, you have your foot in the door and can take it from there.
These days, having a recruiting video is a must. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it just has to give coaches enough intrigue to want to see more. When you are in a remote location or small town, a useful video is even more important. Your video doesn’t have to get you signed right on the spot, but if you are good enough it can open more doors than you may think. A few programs will take players they have never seen play in person if they have strong enough references, good academics, and show enough on video. More likely, however, you want your video to get coaches interested in seeing and learning more. Here is what coaches are looking for in a position player video and here’s what they want to see for pitchers. If you still are confused, this article has more information on how to make your own skills video that will get watched.
Keep an Open Mind
Keep all doors open. There are over 1600 colleges and universities with baseball programs in the United States. It’s unlikely that you have heard of all of them and the unknown schools can bring some pleasant surprises. Educate yourself before judging, there is good baseball at all levels of college baseball. If you have an open mind, there is a very good chance that one of these 1600+ schools is a fit for you.
Be an Extra Proactive Recruit
Start early and develop a plan to get your name and face in front of college coaches. Again, it must be schools that fit your baseball and academic profile. When living in a remote location or small town, it will be important to cast a wide net. This does NOT mean mass emails. That’s a big no-no. Emails need to be personalized and explain why you want to attend the school. This may take more work for you than the average recruit, but you are at a disadvantage and will have to work hard and plan more to overcome the challenges. Online profiles can be good if done right and used as a small piece of your recruiting plan, but there is no substitute for personally contacting coaches and expressing interest.
Maximize Your Resources
If you can afford camps, tournaments, or showcase events, spend your dollars on events that will expose you to a lot of different coaches at schools that fit your level. If you don’t have to budget to travel or pay to play, don’t worry. Skills videos can create a lot of the same type of exposure.
Whether you have money or not, take advantage of the opportunities you do have and make the most of your personal connections. Make planning for college a part of your daily routine, use your network, get creative, make a quality skills video, and keep an open mind. You will be amazed at the doors that will open when you are ready and have a plan!