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We know better than anyone that the recruiting process can seem like a daunting task. If you don’t know what to do, it can be confusing and frustrating. In a KPB survey of high school baseball players, 59% said a major concern about playing at the next level was not knowing what to do to get recruited. These same sentiments are echoed every time we talk to a group of high school baseball players in person. In the recruiting process, like many other things, knowledge is power. There is no substitute for understanding what it takes to play college baseball and knowing the ins and outs of the recruiting process. That’s what will give you the best chance to find a college baseball fit, and that’s why Keep Playing Baseball exists! We give you the information and resources you need to make it to college baseball and we provide it 100% free. Even with the information we provide, there are no shortcuts. You still have to put in the time and effort to take charge of your recruitment and create a personal plan.
During recruitment, you are likely to have many other people offering advice on what you should do. While many people truly just want to help, you also have to be careful for companies and individuals who say they want to help, but are really just after your money. Unfortunately, there are people who try to cash in on players who don’t know what to do and parents who are willing to do everything they can to provide their kids with the opportunity to reach the next level.
It’s important for you to find people who are offering advice for no other reason than to help you find a college baseball fit. Finding people to help you for the right reasons isn’t as difficult as you think. We’ve come up with 3 ways to ensure people are helping you for the right reasons. Here’s how to know who you can trust for recruiting advice.
Are your goals the same?
This is the most important criteria. It may be simple, but it is often overlooked. Make sure that anyone helping you with the recruiting process has the same end goal as you. Be specific with your goals. Go beyond “I want to play college baseball.” Playing college baseball won’t be as fun if you are at a program that’s not a fit for you. Really think about your goals and what type of school will provide you with a lasting college fit. Make sure the people helping you have that same goal for you and don’t try to steer you away from schools or programs that will make you happy. A few red flags to look for:
- For-profit companies with little personal investment in what happens to you or who have surprise or unexpected costs that pop up (bait-and-switch schemes).
- Coaches who ignore your interests or put the reputation of their organization ahead of what’s best for you. This usually happens when coaches push you towards a program with name recognition or status because it reflects better on their organization, even when it doesn’t match what you are looking for. You should be the driving force behind the recruiting conversation and what types of characteristics and qualities you are looking for in a school and baseball program (for example: size, playing opportunities, program success, academic standards, etc.).
It’s important to make sure your goals are understood and supported by the people helping you. Even the slightest difference can give you mixed signals and make it hard for you to find a school that fits what you are looking for.
Is the relationship grounded in honesty?
For someone (or something) to be helpful in the recruiting process, they must be honest and objective. A showcase company that requires your satisfaction for its business to exist probably isn’t going to be 100% forthcoming in your player evaluation, if the truth is going to leave you really upset and angry. We know because we’ve seen events where despite having a 1-5 grading scale on the evaluation, coaches were explicitly told they weren’t allowed to grade a kid below a 2. That’s not helpful. If your goal is to have an opportunity to play as a freshman, a company that pushes you towards a D1 program notorious for red-shirting freshmen, knowing well that you will be sitting on the bench for two years, isn’t likely to be very helpful. Honesty and objectivity are a key part of the development and recruiting process. Without honest and objective help and feedback, things rarely turn out well in the long term. Ask yourself this: can you trust the person or organization to do what’s in YOUR best interest, no matter what?
Are you a person or a number?
This isn’t as straightforward as making sure that your end goals align, but it’s important to consider. What you want to figure out is the intentions of the person or organization offering to give you individualized help. One way to do this is to consider whether you are just a number or if the person helping you is willing to make things personal. Are they willing to take the time to understand what you are really looking for? Will they take the time to talk to you when you need extra information or support? This is about finding people and organizations who care about you and what happens to you. Is your person collecting success stories, or statistics? What has happened to the people they’ve helped before? Looking at the track record can be really useful here. Have they done it for the right reasons in the past?
Surrounding yourself with good information and good people goes a long way in the recruiting process. The recruiting process is a long journey and likely to be filled with many ups and downs. A support system is important, but you’ll want to make sure that support system is full of people who care about you and want to help you reach YOUR goals. We can help you get the information you need to successfully guide yourself through the recruiting process, but when you seek additional help, ask and consider these three important questions to make sure you can trust that help to be in your best interests.