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In college baseball recruiting, you are likely to run into the word ‘exposure’ pretty quickly. Showcase teams, tournaments, recruiting agencies, and everyone else boasts about providing prospective college players with the best ‘exposure’ to college coaches. In the recruiting world, ‘exposure’ is almost always assumed to be a good thing. But sometimes that couldn’t be further from the truth. Exposure is a two-way street—it can be both good and bad. Once you have been ‘exposed’ in the recruiting process, it’s difficult to go back. We are not advocating that prospects should avoid playing in front of college coaches. We are referring to “exposure” as purposefully drawing attention to yourself to be evaluated, or prioritizing being seen when it’s not what will benefit you the most.
Most high school players make the mistake of trying to force this type of exposure too early. Often, because they equate “start the recruiting process early” with contacting coaches and maximizing exposure. In reality, starting the process simply means educating yourself on the steps you will need to take. You need to be smart and give yourself the best chance at a college baseball opportunity. As KPB has explained before, seeking exposure too early can not only hurt a recruit’s chances of being recruited. It can also be a monumental waste of money.
When should you seek exposure?
At KPB, we call the moment when a prospect should try to maximize exposure the ‘Go For It!’ moment. Here are a few ways to know when your ‘Go For It!’ moment has arrived:
1. Receiving Unsolicited Interest
It is safe to assume you’re ready to seek exposure to college programs when they start initiating interest on their own. If one program is interested, it’s safe to assume there are likely other programs of the same level of competition (and possibly even a higher level) that will feel the same way when they get a chance to see you play. Do research on the school(s) that express interest and begin contacting other programs with similar characteristics. When you are ready, explore programs with higher standards to see what kind of feedback you receive.
2. Your Are an Elite Player
You may be getting invites to play on invite-only teams or scout teams (showcase teams run by pro scouts). Or, you may be told by a trusted resource who is well-versed in college baseball that you are ready. It is also important to have the physical strength to match. If you are skilled, but are not strong enough to hit the ball out of the infield or throw the ball across the diamond, no college will be ready to scoop you up. Using honest and objective feedback to guide your ‘Go For It!’ moment is critical. But, there are many coaches and other baseball people who will be happy to tell you when the time is right to contact coaches and seek exposure. They can help you, even prior to you hearing from a college program.
3. It’s the Summer Before Your Senior Year of High School
If senior year rolls around and you have yet to reach out to schools or receive interest, it’s time to put your cards on the table and see what options you have. For uncommitted players, summer before senior year and fall or senior year are the best opportunities left to get in front of college coaches. It’s also a good time to turn up the heat on actively recruiting yourself. Contact schools of interest to share video. Look up camps at schools you are considering. If you haven’t already been proactive about getting yourself recruited, now’s the time. You have nothing to lose senior year by pulling out all the stops. The later in the year it gets, the more aggressive you should be in putting yourself out there and seeking opportunities. Use these tips to make sure you are targeting schools that are a match for you. Don’t fall into any one of these four common mistakes.
Things to Keep in Mind
Interest Can Come Late
If you reach senior year without receiving any substantial interest from schools, there is still time to find a college fit. You need to have a plan, but by no means should you panic. In fact, you are in the same boat as many college-bound players. Read How To Get Noticed Late in the Game for some great ideas on finding a school during your senior year.
Every Path to College is Unique
There are many roads to college baseball and yours will be unique to you. Don’t waste time comparing your recruitment to the recruitment of others. Have a plan for getting better and getting recruited and put your energy towards executing that plan. If you are going to play at the next level, you are going to have to bet on yourself. Remember, your goal is to find a great college fit for you. Throughout this process, you’ll hear a lot more “No” than “Yes,” but it only takes one program to make your college dreams come true. Be patient as you work and improve.
What to do before the ‘Go For It!’ moment
Prior to your ‘Go For It!’ moment, there is plenty you can and should be doing with the recruiting process. Making it to college baseball is difficult, and you should be putting in the work to improve your baseball skills, become a desirable student, and get stronger and more physical. Use KPB Recruiting 101 steps 1-4 to help you figure out what you should be doing and when. Your choice in teams, training, camps, showcases, etc. should be 100% based off of having fun and getting better. Creating exposure is the easy part once you’ve developed recruitable skills. Focus on developing a plan to get recruited and getting good enough so when college coaches do see you play or watch your video, they want your skills in their program.
When it comes to ‘exposure’, we suggest that you don’t believe the hype. It is very rare for a college caliber player who is informed on the recruiting process and doing the right things to not have an opportunity to play in college. As we explain here, proactive recruits don’t get “missed”. Stay active in the recruiting process. Be informed. Look for ways to continue to improve, play hard and have fun. If you have the talent and do these things, odds are that one of the 1700 plus college baseball programs in the U.S. will be a fit for you.