The recruiting process doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive. Yes, you read that right. In this article, we’ll show you how you can get recruited on a budget of any size.
Research tells us that 85+% of NCAA baseball players played both high school and some sort of club baseball. With the cost of club baseball rising astronomically, how do you make it to college baseball if you don’t have the money to play club baseball? Or what if you don’t have the resources to attend a showcase or visit a school? The answer lies in knowledge, planning, and cost-effective alternatives. While money certainly makes the recruiting process easier, by no means is having money a necessity for playing college baseball. In this article, we assume that you have $0 to spend on the recruiting process and lay out a game plan to get you started with free alternatives to replace expensive steps in the recruiting process.
Creating an Affordable Recruiting Plan
Step 1: Get Informed
Knowledge is power. It’s also free. The beautiful thing about the technology age is that there are free ways to find out everything you need to know about college baseball, the recruiting process, and player development if you have the curiosity and persistence to research and learn. In fact, that’s the whole reason KPB exists! We believe with the right information and a solid work ethic, you can make it to the next level on even the tightest budget. We’ve assembled this website to provide you with all the information you need to navigate the college baseball recruiting process. When you know what it takes to play college baseball, your path to get there becomes much more clear and your effort and persistence become the deciding factor. Learn how to use this site to help you get informed here.
Step 2: Focus on What You DO Have
Take note of the resources you DO have! When you don’t have money to spend, all the other resources you do have become even more important! Take stock of who you have to help you (coaches, family members, friends, school administrators, etc.), baseball resources available to you (fields nearby, access to cages, backyard space, access to a gym, weights, etc.), and technology available to you (smart phone, internet connection, computer, etc.).
Step 3: Use Your Resources to Create a Plan
Once you realize that you have more going in your favor than you think, it’s a matter of being resourceful and making the most of the resources available to you. Your local park becomes a place to swing the bat, take grounders and catch fly balls with a teammate. Your uncle’s rusted dumbbells become your gym equipment. The brick wall down the street becomes your place to work on glove skill and throwing accuracy. Your local or school library (or even the Starbucks patio) become a place you can access the internet, do research, and learn.
Step 4: Ask for Help!
The baseball community can be a warm and welcoming place if you look in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to be honest and ask for help. Seek out local facilities, teams, or coaches who can help you. Be willing to work to pay off camps, showcases, or team fees. When you communicate financial needs and show a willingness to work hard to make it work, many people will bend over backwards to make it work. It never hurts to try!
Now, let’s look at some concrete ways to replace some of the expensive parts of the recruiting process.
Free Alternatives to Expensive Recruiting Tools
The good news is that showcases are not a necessity for playing at the next level, that’s just what people want you to believe so you pay them money to attend. Showcases can be a helpful tool, but few players are recruited based solely on their performance at a showcase. The showcase simply gets college coaches interested in following up and seeing players more. A skills video can serve the same purpose and you can make it and send it out to coaches yourself for free. In fact, we offer a free online course that will walk you through the process of creating a successful DIY recruiting video from start to finish, and teach you how to use it to get recruited. You can take the course for free HERE.
However, before giving up on a showcase you have researched and really want to attend, reach out to the organizers and see if they offer scholarships or are willing to work with you to make it affordable. Ask if you can help set up, take down, or work the price of the camp down. If you ask for scholarships or opportunities to work off the cost of showcases or events and it doesn’t work out, don’t get down. You can create the same exposure with a smart phone and Twitter account. We explain how to make a quality recruiting video on a budget here and how to use it on social media and email to get recruited.
Travel Ball Alternatives:
If you don’t have access to a quality travel ball team or can’t afford to play for one, coming up with a training plan is essential. More and more players are giving up summer and/or fall ball to train and develop the skills that make you a can’t-miss recruit. So, if you use the off-season wisely, you won’t actually be falling behind at all. By reaching out to strength coaches, and doing some research, you can put together a great strength and conditioning plan. We suggest starting with guys like Zach Dechant of TCU, Ryan Faer of the Indians organization, or Driveline Baseball. All of these resources offer a lot of free help and integrate baseball strength and conditioning into overall skill development. You will also want to use the resources available to you to continue your baseball training and skill development (hitting in the cage, throwing, taking ground balls, playing wall ball and more). Before you start any training plan, be sure to check it out carefully with your coaches, parents, and if possible, a training professional to make sure it is safe and best for your goals. Another alternative? Play other sports that will help you develop the athletic traits that college coaches will be looking for!
Alternatives to Campus Visits:
Visiting a school is a great way to get a complete understanding of the program. If you get interest from a non-local school and don’t have the money to make a visit, you have two viable options. Wait until schools can offer an official visit (September 1 of junior year) and see if they will help pay for the costs to visit, or use technology to fill the gaps. As weird as it sounds, getting access to a smart phone will save the day. Have the coach give you a virtual tour of campus with his phone using FaceTime, WhatsApp or some other live streaming method of getting videos of campus. That will give you the opportunity to see the campus, baseball facilities, and ask questions in real time. School websites are another option. Most schools now have interactive campus maps, videos, webcams, or virtual tours. This makes it easier to feel like you are at the school when you are not, and can give you a ton of information. While there is no substitute to being on campus and getting a feeling for whether you like it or not, the alternatives are free and have improved greatly.
If you are at a school where there is a lot of coaching turnover or you don’t have access to coaching help on a regular basis, again, the internet can be your best friend. Engage, engage, engage. Many college coaches are as accessible as recruiting rules allow them to be online and there are plenty of coaches in the private sector who are generous with answering questions when players are courageous enough to ask and seek help. Be relentless in your pursuit for help and don’t be worried about getting turned away. Technology has made it easier for recruits without money to spend on recruitment to get access to college coaches and create the exposure and relationships they need to keep playing at the next level. For more on how to use technology to your advantage, read here.