Before social media really took off as a viable way to create meaningful exposure, online recruiting profiles were all the rage. There still are many free and for-profit websites and platforms that allow recruits to create and post a recruiting profile. At Keep Playing Baseball, we do not provide this service and in this article we will explain why recruits shouldn’t rely solely on a recruiting profile or any other passive form of connecting with college coaches as the primary means to get recruited. We’ll also detail how we think a well-managed social media profile can act as a new age recruiting profile that fits well into a coordinated and personalized recruiting plan.
Should you set up an online recruiting profile?
We want to make a clear distinction between traditional online recruiting profiles maintained by players, recruiting profiles maintained by organizations like Perfect Game, Prep Baseball Report, or other companies, and social media accounts used for creating recruiting exposure. The first two are often housed on privately owned servers or websites, require some sort of log in, and may or may not require coaches to also have a profile or pay for access. Social media, on the other hand, is free, available to all, and widely used. The vast majority of programs have a recruiting coach who is active on Twitter or other social media platforms and likely uses those platforms to identify players of interest.
To be fair, recruits can and do receive interest from college coaches from all three types of recruiting profiles, but unless you have stand out tools, relying solely on a passive recruiting strategy like a profile is setting you up for disappointment. Traditional online recruiting profiles on their own are likely not a viable strategy to get recruited. Instead, players should use social media in the same way that traditional recruiting profiles were intended to be used as one part of a multi-faceted recruiting plan, which may include more traditional recruiting profiles as well. The number of college coaches that spend regular time searching through recruit profiles is a big question mark.
We polled over five dozen college coaches (67) and asked how often they find players who end up playing in their program by looking at free or paid online recruiting profiles (not social media). Only 4 coaches said they frequently find players that way while 23 said they never find players that way and another 22 only sometimes find players by searching online profiles. As this small sample shows, browsing profiles is often not worth the time it takes for college coaches. With social media as an increasingly viable way to share videos and information and a number of free profile-based platforms out there, you should do considerable research before paying anyone money to create or host your online recruiting profile. At KPB, we discuss the importance of using recruiting video paired with social media and direct outreach to programs (email) regularly. We believe that having a profile should be a small part of your personal recruiting plan and the following 5 reasons not to rely on recruiting profiles will help explain why:
- Traditional Recruiting profiles are largely passive. It’s possible to be found by a college coach searching through profiles, but you are leaving that connection up to chance. YOU should be taking charge of your recruiting process, not waiting for a coach or school to fall into your lap. Even having a company deliver your profile directly to college coaches is a hit or miss strategy. While there are certainly exceptions, most college coaches will gloss over a generic email from a recruiting company that is sending them recruit profiles directly. These recruiting services are seldom personalized and endorsements/evaluations of the player are hard to trust since anyone can sign up. Once a coach receives a profile from a company that wastes their time, they’ll likely view future emails from the same company as spam and send them straight to junk mail, if they haven’t already.
- No profile-based platform will have the attention of all programs. This may seem obvious, but even the best platform for online recruiting profiles (social media) will have only a percentage of college coaches using it or who will come across your profile. Is there a platform that all college coaches use? Yes! It’s called email. Nearly every single one of the college coaches we’ve surveyed the past few years said that an introductory email was the way they would want an interested recruit to initiate contact. Instead of sitting by the phone (or computer) waiting for your profile to be seen, deliver “your profile” to the coaches will a well-crafted email. Learn what to include in your email here and when you should send it here. Directly seek the attention of programs of interest and use social media to create passive interest or as another form of direct messaging.
- Profiles only work for players who are ready to be recruited. Most recruits make the mistake of seeking exposure and contacting college coaches too early. The same goes for online profiles and video on social media. If you put up a profile before you have what college coaches are looking for, it’s an advertisement for not getting recruited. We’re talking about the majority of high school freshmen, sophomores, and even juniors. No college coach is going to be interested in 5’7”, 140 lb sophomore second baseman who hasn’t hit puberty by looking at an online profile. Like all aspects of the recruiting process, you have to be realistic. College coaches will follow up on a profile only if there is verifiable information that peaks their interest, and this is also best delivered through email or even shared on social media.
- If you are ready to seek exposure, it should be you who is delivering the profile to coaches. If you are ready to be recruited, you should be the one delivering “your profile” to schools of interest and showing them that you can take initiative and communicate well, in addition to meeting the standards on the field. By taking charge of your own recruitment and showing genuine interest to a program, you are showing coaches the skills that they want (initiative, responsibility, organization, responsiveness, etc.). Our articles, 10 Reasons Why a DIY Recruitment is Best and Coaches Want to Hear From Recruits, do a nice job of highlighting why coaches value recruits who take charge.
- The digital age has created better platforms for recruits to market themselves than online profiles. Video rules the day and a quality recruiting video will be able to capture a coach’s attention better than a lengthy profile of information and accomplishments. Video has the capacity to provide the verifiable information a coach needs to see to move forward in the recruiting process. Our free online course, Creating a Successful DIY Recruiting Video, teaches players how to create a useful video and use social media and email to get it to coaches. Enroll for free and learn what to include in a video, how to shoot and edit the film, and why social media trumps any other profile. Social media provides an easy way for players to more aggressively get “their profile” in front of college coaches or out in the open.
What is the best way to use a profile?
Since we know that some coaches do find recruits by searching profiles, you can make an online recruiting profile a small part of your recruiting plan. There is no substitute for contacting coaches at the right time and having a good communication plan, and a recruiting profile/social media can be an important part of that. Use a free recruiting profile/social media to gain possible passive interest from coaches who are looking, but also as a place to keep all your updated information (stats, video, grades, test scores, contact information, contact information for coaches or other references, interests, team information, etc). In an introductory email, instead of listing every single detail about your baseball career (which will quickly get your email sent to junk mail), you can include only the essentials and provide the coach with the link to your profile in case they want more information. A recruiting profile is not the most important part of your recruitment plan, and definitely shouldn’t be your only strategy, but it can really help if you have the skills college coaches are looking for and use your profile the right way to showcase that.