You have put in the hard work and it is starting to pay off. Schools are contacting you to express interest. That’s great news! But now you are probably wondering what to say to the coaches? How do you figure out which coaches and programs will be a good fit?
Talking to coaches and recruiters can be nerve racking and intimidating, even if it’s just over the phone. Remember, you are both looking for the same thing—a program/player match. When you choose a school, you will spend more time with your coaches and teammates than anyone else. Coaches know this and are trying to get a feel for your personality and whether the school/program would be a good fit. You should be doing the same thing. Remember, you and the coach/recruiter share baseball as a common interest, so talking can be easy. Our best advice—be yourself and ask lots of questions! This is the best way to find a program and coaching staff that will work best for you.
Here are some specific questions to ask coaches during different stages of the recruiting process:
Normally, during your first phone conversation or initial contact, coaches will be trying to gauge your level of interest in their schools and give you information on the program. It’s always good to keep options open, so you should always thank them and be receptive, even if you aren’t sure if you want to be a part of their program or haven’t even heard of the school. The coach will generally lead the conversation and ask you plenty of questions. A few questions you will want to ask are:
- Do you have information about your school and program that you could email to me?
- Is there any information I can get you (transcripts, game schedule, contact information for references)?
- Is there a time I could come on a visit to check out the campus, baseball facilities, meet the coaches, and find out more about the program?
Give the coach your upcoming game/tournament schedule and ask if he can/will be attending any of the events.
If you have been speaking with a school for a while and need to know their level of interest:
Sometimes recruiting can seem like a game of cat and mouse with a lot of back and forth. It is best to be honest with coaches and ask them to be honest with you. Ask direct questions that will get you direct answers, even if they are difficult. Here are some questions you can ask to get a better sense of a program’s level of interest:
1. Where do I stand on your recruiting list?
2. Is there anything specific I can work on to improve my chances of receiving an offer?
3. What is your timeline for deciding on me?
4. How many players do you have committed in my recruiting class?
If you know they want you or have offered you and you are trying to figure out if it is a good fit:
Once a school has offered you a roster spot or scholarship, the ball is in your court. Always be respectful and unless you are positive you don’t want to play for them, be engaged and interested. You can start to get more specific with your questions. These questions will depend largely on your interests and the particular school, but you may ask:
- Where do you see me fitting into your program?
- Is there a restriction on what major I can have?
- Will I have the opportunity to compete for playing time right away?
- Do you reduce scholarship based on performance?
- Did anyone’s scholarship get pulled last year?
- How many players have transferred out of the program in the last 2-3 years?
- Where do you see the program in 4 years?
- What is a typical daily schedule like for a baseball player at your school?
- What kind of academic support is offered to baseball players at your school?
- Where do baseball players normally live?
- If I get injured and can’t play, will you honor my scholarship? What happens to my scholarship or admission if I get injured before I come to your school?
- What specific parts of your program’s philosophies or training do you think will benefit my development?
If you follow some general guidelines (always be respectful, engaged, and receptive to what the coach/recruiter says, practice good manners, and seem interested), speaking with coaches should be easy once you get over your initial anxiety. Remember, they love baseball like you do and they are trying to get YOU to come to their schools. Enjoy getting to know them and don’t be scared to ask questions to make sure the school and staff are a good fit for you. It’s always smart to ask around about a coaching staff’s reputation and track record of player injuries and player development. Do plenty of research and investigating before you make your final decision.