Many high school players react with anger or disappointment when told by a coach or scout that they’re not good enough to play college ball at the level that they desire or that their skills need improvement. It’s only natural to get defensive when told you are not good enough. In reality, honest and objective feedback like this is an absolute blessing when it comes to the recruiting process and getting ready to play baseball in college. Seeking regular objective feedback from people who know baseball well is one of the best things you can do for your development and the recruiting process when you know what to do with it and don’t think of the evaluation as final. Below, we talk more about how to get objective feedback and evaluations, why this information is critical for you to become the recruit and ballplayer that college coaches are looking for, and how to use the feedback to get better.
How to seek objective feedback:
When it comes to receiving honest, objective feedback, you don’t need to pay big money to get a useful evaluation. In fact, you might get inflated rankings or grades when you’re paying for advice from people who don’t know you, especially when those people depend on paying customers like you to exist. These companies know that no one wants to pay big money to be told they’re not good enough. As such, their evaluations may include only vague generalities like “would benefit from getting stronger” in place of the truth, “needs to throw 7-10 miles per hour harder to play at X level” or “speed needs to improve a lot to be a college center fielder, coaches generally like center fielders who can run a 6.8 60 or better.” The best way to receive a useful evaluation that will tell you where you stand and will give you direction for improvement is to find someone who will be brutally honest and who is well versed in what it takes to play at the different levels of college baseball. Find that person and ask directly for an honest evaluation. Here are some options that have worked for players in the past:
- Ask one of your trusted high school or travel ball coaches who you know will be honest and not sugar-coat your evaluation.
- Ask a coach you have competed against regularly and knows your skill-set well.
- If the opportunity presents itself, ask a college coach.
- Take advantage of the showcases or tryouts that you do attend by following up with college coaches or other evaluators. If money is tight, find out if the showcases or tryouts offer waivers or scholarships. Have your high school coach help reach out so you find an event that is affordable and right for you.
- Be your own honest evaluator. Each season, do an honest post-season self-evaluation. Where do you need to improve? What does it take to play college at your position? We can help you find out here.
Why regular objective feedback is important:
- Many recruits waste valuable time in the recruiting process trying to get recruited by schools that don’t match their playing abilities and never will. Receiving regular honest feedback will give you a better feel for where you fit and what types of schools are within range, what schools are a reach, and what schools won’t be possible.
- Great players all have one characteristic in common—a growth mindset. If you want to reach your peak, you need to look at failures and shortcomings as opportunities. Your skill and ability is not fixed; you have the ability to improve and learn. Receiving regular honest feedback will help you figure out where you should focus your training efforts and where you have the most opportunity to grow and improve. Click here for more on the importance of a growth mindset.
- Another mistake in the recruiting process is seeking exposure or contacting coaches before you are ready or have the skills that they are looking for. Receiving regular, honest feedback will help you better determine when you have the skills that college coaches covet, and when you should start contacting them to seek exposure. A well-informed coach, scout, or evaluator can be a great resource to help you decide what levels you should contact and when.
- At the college level, you’ll know your coach cares about you and your development by how much feedback or constructive criticism he gives you. Unless you are excelling above and beyond, silence from your coach in college isn’t always a good thing. The best college players recognize that constructive criticism is necessary and designed to give them the feedback they need to improve. Getting comfortable being told the truth and receiving constructive criticism will make the transition to college much easier, and keep you in a growth mindset.
Using the Feedback to Improve
Honest and objective feedback play a critical role in both development and recruiting, and the way these two processes are related in the search for a college baseball fit. This tweet does a great job of capturing why a realistic understanding of your abilities is so critical to achieving your college baseball goals.
Now that you know how to seek out objective feedback and the many ways it will benefit you, make getting honest evaluations a part of your recruiting process. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask!