By Ethan Guevin
You have put in the hard work and it is starting to pay off. Schools are contacting you to express interest. That is great news! But what do you say to the coaches or recruiters? How do you figure out which coaches will be a good fit?
Talking to coaches and recruiters can be nerve racking and intimidating, even if it’s just over the phone. Just remember, many of them were once in the same position as you. 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 is – be yourself! This is the best way to find a program and coaching staff that will work best for you.
Now, here are some specific questions to ask coaches during different stages of the recruiting timeline:
Normally during your first phone conversation or initial contact, coaches will be trying to gauge your level of interests in their schools. It’s always good to keep options open, so you should always thank them and be receptive to their ideas. The coach/recruiter will generally lead the conversation and ask more questions of you, but a few questions you may want to ask are:
1. When is a good time to contact you?
2. Is there a time I could come on an unofficial visit to check out the campus, baseball facilities, and meet the coaches?
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. Here are some questions you can ask to get a better sense of their 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 being offered a spot on the team?
3. (If you have offers from other programs)What is your timeline for deciding about players?
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 seem 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:
1. Where do you see me fitting into your program?
2. Is there a restriction on what major I can have?
3. Will I have the opportunity to compete for playing time right away?
4. Do you reduce scholarship based on performance?
5. Did anyone’s scholarship get pulled last year?
6. How many players have transferred out of the program in the last 5 years?
7. How many more years are on the current coach’s contract?
8. What is a typical daily schedule like for a baseball player at your school?
9. What kind of academic support is offered to baseball players at your school?
10. Where do baseball players normally live?
11. 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?
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. Good luck!