This time of year, college recruiters are crisscrossing the country to see hundreds, if not thousands of high school or travel ball games. Recruiters are working night and day to find and sift through hundreds of players to come up with one, two, or just a few of the “right guys” to fill out a roster for 2019 and beyond.
It might seem impossible to stand out in this crowd of would-be players. How can you get noticed if there are literally hundreds of players’ names on recruiter lists? How do you avoid getting crossed off those lists? We asked a recruiter who told us that it’s simpler than you think:
“In the dog days of summer, everyone gets a little worn down and tired. I would be lying if I told you there weren’t days when I didn’t feel like scouting and recruiting. Days when I don’t feel like driving several hours, sitting in the heat to watch games, and driving back. Days when I am sick of living out of cheap motels and eating late-night fast food. But, every time I step out of my car to watch a game, I find a way to be present. I find a way to put my emotions and feelings aside, lock in and have a productive day. I have complete control over my ability to be in the present moment and the kids who are playing in front of me deserve my complete attention. As a result, most of the time when I leave the ballpark, I leave thankful for getting to do a job I love and happy I showed up that day.
Players need to be able to do the same. Baseball is not a chore, it’s a game. And it’s a game you are playing by choice. It is supposed to be fun. The number one way to get crossed off a recruiter’s list is by acting like you don’t want to be there. The players that make it to the next level, play the game present in the moment. They are engaged in the game, and as a result, they play one step ahead, they play the game hard, with effort, the way it was meant to be played.”
Hundreds of guys are out there not running hard when they ground out or hit a fly ball. Hundreds of guys are not hustling on and off the field. Hundreds of guys are making mental errors and forgetting the game situation or they are looking tired and disinterested on the field. Hundreds of guys are not moving with the pitch, not anticipating the back-up position, and not making the effort to congratulate a teammate on a good inning, at bat or defensive play.
These are the guys that get crossed off the lists.
So, if you want to stand out when the recruiter comes to your school or sees you at a big tournament, you need to play like you want to be there. Do you remember the first day you started with a team (high school or travel ball) that you thought was going to be really, really good? Do remember the first time you did something during an important game that led to a win? You need to bring back the energy, fun, and confidence that you had on those days and keep it on the field with you during every game that a recruiter sees you play.
You’ll stand out if you run hard, play hard, stay focused, are aware of the game situation, and play to win. It’s that simple. You might even end up on that list of guys that recruiters are spending all that time looking for.