KPB Blog

What Coaches Look for on the Recruiting Trail

By Ethan Guevin

With your high school season under way, college coaches and recruiters will be out in full force looking for future players for their programs. But what exactly are they looking for? What do you need to show them?

We will let a variety of college coaches tell you for themselves. In a recent KPB College Coaches survey, we asked coaches from a variety of divisions and conferences across the country, “What is the most important quality you look for in a player while out on the recruiting trail?”

Some are looking for size and skill.

“Game ability. Intangibles – effort and  enthusiasm.” David Esquer, Head Coach, Cal, DI

“Size, Strength, Good Hands and Feet.” Coach, DI, Georgia

“Is he athletic? What is his upside and skill set?” Coach, DIII, Minnesota

Others mentioned effort and drive.

“Great team guys who play the game hard.” Anthony Espitia, Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, CSU Monterey Bay, DII

 “[A player who shows] respect, passion, and avoids excuses.” Coach, DII, Georgia

“[A] player that is going to hustle and competes every time he’s out on the field.” Coach, DIII, Pennsylvania

 Several coaches mentioned they are looking for athletes with social skills and good grades.

“Communication.  I’ll find kids that can play, but kids need to be able to communicate.  Return emails, phone calls, and text messages.  We want players that can speak for themselves and not rely on their parents.” Coach, DIII, Minnesota

“[They must have] the GPA, test scores and curriculum to be admitted into our school.  That’s the first thing we look at and is the first aspect that will get your name crossed off.” Ben Cooprider, Associate Head Coach, Grinnell College, DIII

Recruits Need Abilities On and Off the Field

While coaches will look for different talents in their recruits, there are common skills and qualities that all coaches value. Our survey results confirm our conversations with college coaches and highlight the most important things high school players can do to get noticed.

  1. Be a good student with a competitive GPA and test scores.
  2. Always hustle. Period. No exceptions.
  3. Be a good teammate on and off the field.
  4. Be a good communicator. Don’t rely on your parents to do the talking for you. Take initiative and respond to coaches respectfully and promptly.
  5. Showcase your athletic strengths. If you run well, show off your speed. If you have a good arm, use it. Coaches are always looking for athletic “tools” that project well, even if you don’t have a good game when they see you play.
  6. Be a competitor. Coaches want to see kids who compete during both good and bad times.

Now that you know what coaches are looking for, make sure you are putting in time to strengthen these areas. Make sure when coaches show up, you show them what they want to see and you are ready with the grades and the confidence that will let you keep playing baseball.