When you start to get recruited, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the process or think more about the future than the present. It’s a tricky situation. Getting recruited to play college ball means that you have to be willing to promote yourself. You have to be thinking about when coaches can see you play, how you do in games, how good your at bats are, and if your skills are showcased to the fullest. You have to advocate for your ability and show coaches you are confident in what you can add to their program. At the same time, you’re in the middle of one of the greatest experiences of your life: high school baseball. So here are some tips to help you balance getting recruited and playing for your current team.
College coaches absolutely evaluate situational awareness in the field and batters box. If there’s a spot where you have to hit behind the runner or lay down a bunt and you get it done, that is a positive in a college coach’s eyes. If there’s a difficult decision to make on a defensive play, they are looking to see what you do. College coaches want to know they are recruiting a guy who will do whatever it takes at the plate, in the field, or on the mound, in order to help the team win.
Your body language is a billboard. Your body language will help a coach form an opinion about you before they even see you throw or hit a ball. If your team loses 6-0 but you went 3×4, should you be smiling after the game because of your great performance? No. Sure, inside it’s ok to be satisfied with the way you played, but you have to value winning! A player who doesn’t care about winning and losing, doesn’t show the competitive fire that goes deeper than any individual’s performance, is worthless to a college coach. That goes for when your team wins but you have a bad game too. Know that college coaches are looking for a whole lot more than just a hit when they are watching you. So keep your attitude in check. Bring energy to the dugout and show that the most important thing to you is winning. Because regardless of your ability, the most important thing in college baseball is also winning. Show a coach that you’re capable of understanding that.
Competing Without an Audience
Finally, assume that someone is always watching. I know that sounds pretty cliché, but I can tell you for a fact that lots of coaches show up and stand somewhere out of the way because they want to see how a kid plays when he thinks no one is watching. Does he run a hard 90? Does he lay out for the ground ball? Does he bear down in a big spot on the mound? Anyone can up their game when they think someone important is watching them. A coach wants to see who ups their game when the only reward is winning.
Becoming the best player and teammate you can be for your current team is a winning recruiting strategy. Don’t be one of the players who is so consumed with playing at the next level that you throw away the opportunity to enjoy your high school baseball experience. Don’t miss your opportunity to have your moment. Educate yourself on the recruiting process and know the standards you need to hold yourself to in order to make it to the next level, but you can’t force it or let getting recruited consume you on the field. Play to win right now and the rest will take care of itself.