Patience pays off for recruits. If you want to play college baseball, you are going to have to commit to constant improvement. Continued development is a prerequisite for playing at the next level. All college coaches will expect that you continue to improve throughout high school and college, even if you are committed. Your development is also the reason old adages like, “Patience is a virtue” and “Good things come to those who wait” both work great for the recruiting process, especially if you have a tight budget.
Focus on Development
We’ve already talked about why it’s important to focus your resources on development over exposure. We’ve shared how to get recruited without spending a dime. Clearly, you need to have patience as you develop into a recruitable player. In other words, it’s not about maximizing exposure to college coaches as soon as you start high school. It’s about seeking exposure when the time is right for you. If you want to get recruited and play at the next level, the most important thing to do is continue improving and exercise patience. Let’s look at this idea more in depth.
Don’t Push the Timeline
College coaches pursue recruits when they can demonstrate the on-field ability and academic skill set that will lead to success at the college level. There’s a lot that goes into this determination, but the basic premise is simple—the better the player, the more interest from college coaches. It logically follows that if a player continues to improve throughout high school, he will be in a better position to showcase his skills to college coaches as an upperclassman than he would as a freshman or sophomore.
Since verbal commitments carry no guarantee and college coach turnover each year is substantial, there is little benefit for a player to push his recruiting timeline forward and focus on maximizing exposure early in high school. Even the most talented and highly sought after recruits will need to bet on their ability to continue improving if they want to sign with a program senior year. A survey of NCAA baseball players from a few years ago found that players who waited until at least junior year to start engaging with college coaches had more positive feelings about their recruiting process. Recent D1 recruiting rule changes have forced players to wait longer and pushed commitment timeline back to the summer before junior year or later. Use this to your advantage by going all in on development your 9th and 10th grade years. If you are feeling anxious, remember it only takes one well-timed performance or one well-written email to get a college coach interested.
Five Key Steps
These five steps help to illustrate the way patience saves you money and pays off in the long run.
Step 1: Focus on development and strength throughout high school. Without requisite skills and strength, you will be wasting your money and time trying to attract college coaches.
Step 2: Spend your underclass years preparing for the moment you are ready to seek out attention from college coaches. Have your academics in order, contact information for your coaches or other references prepared, and a short skills video, game schedule, transcripts and test scores ready to share upon request. Use this article to help you understand what you need to show coaches you are ready. If coaches come calling early, this preparation will still help you!
Step 3: Use this article to help you understand when the time is right for you to start seeking exposure. When you are ready to create exposure, use the free tools that are available to you. Specifically, use video and email to engage with coaches at programs of interest and show them you have the skills they want. Ask your high school coaches to help by using their networks and helping create meaningful contact with college coaches at appropriate schools of interest. Having your coach contact schools just before or just after you send them a personal email will only help your chances. Use this article to help you craft an email that will be read.
Step 4: Play hard, with enthusiasm, and show coaches what you can do when they do come and see you play. Keep in mind that it’s not always the results that will catch their eye. Before seeking out exposure, make sure you know the types of things that college coaches will be evaluating when they come see you play. You can find lots of information on this here.
Step 5: Cast a wide net and be open to playing opportunities at every college level. When in contact with college coaches, be great at communicating effectively and showing interest. You can’t go wrong by being the best version of yourself.
Patience Pays Off
As you can see, the age of the Internet has made it easier than ever to get a college coach interested without having to get in front of them constantly. Develop the skills that they want to see. Then, use technology to get them interested and patiently wait for your moment to show what you can do. Remember, you have 4 years of high school to show that you can play at the next level. Commit to working hard and improving. There will be no need to rush or pay a lot of money to create meaningful contact with college coaches. In recruitment, as with many other things, patience pays off. Good luck!