No matter how your recruiting process turns out, you will benefit tremendously from going through it and taking the lead on it yourself. We aren’t saying this as a consolation prize for those who don’t make it to their dream school, end up at schools where it doesn’t work out, or don’t find any college baseball program to play at all. We say it because it’s the truth. Organizing your own recruiting process is turning you into a learner and a leader. Still not convinced? Let’s look at (some of) the qualities you will develop in the recruiting process that are turning you into a capable leader and that will benefit you on and off the baseball field.
Baseball is often lauded as a microcosm for life’s challenges. One of its main teachers is adversity. The recruiting process, like a baseball game or season, is chalk-full of ups and downs. Recruits are forced to handle adversity and unexpected circumstances at every turn. Things will not go exactly according to plan. These adverse situations force you to problem-solve, adjust, and keep moving forward. There is no greater skill to learn than problem-solving and problem-solving lessons from the recruiting process will serve you well moving forward on and off the field.
Overcoming Failure and Rejection
Very few college baseball recruits burst on the scene and get to pick the school of their choice. If you haven’t already experienced it, it’s highly likely that you will face rejection and failure at some point in the recruiting process. Much like the Chicago Cubs’ “So what? Next Pitch!” mantra, the recruiting process is helping you move forward after failure because you have no choice. If a conversation with the coach at your dream school goes poorly, will you just wallow in self-pity? No! You will find a way to do better next time. Rejection is never easy, but you will learn throughout the recruiting process that it’s something everyone faces and you will overcome it. Much like problem-solving and dealing with adversity, this is about having the will and resolve to overcome challenges and find a way. That’s a skill that any employer or coach will find attractive.
Not only does the recruiting process force you to become a clear and efficient communicator, it forces you to communicate with many different types of people. You will need to communicate using different platforms (email, phone, face-to-face, non-verbal communication, etc.), across generational lines (with other players, with coaches, with admissions officers and other administrators, etc.), and about many different topics (baseball, school, interests, and much more). Many recruits are nervous when they first start interacting with college coaches, but most find that the nerves subside with practice. This is a sign of learning and growth. You can bet that speaking with people in different power hierarchies will help you in the future, whether it’s talking with a professor, applying for a job, or handling an interaction with an umpire.
There’s a saying, “if you fail to plan, plan to fail.” Unless you get lucky, that about summarizes the recruiting process. As a recruit, you have a lot to juggle. School, baseball, and workouts are just the tip of the iceberg. You must come up with a recruiting plan that accounts for all the moving parts from development and school work to how you will create exposure to college coaches when the time is right. We’ve talked about how project management skills and techniques are a great way to organize the recruiting process, and these two articles go hand-in-hand. Learning to efficiently plan will be the skill you walk away with once you have implemented those techniques and are forced to make adjustments on the fly.
Throughout the recruiting process, you are getting practice building relationships with all different kinds of people, often from scratch! Some of the people you encounter in the recruiting process might rub you the wrong way, but you are smart enough to know that you can’t afford to burn any bridges. You need to treat everyone you encounter with respect, and this is forcing you to build relationships and rapport with people who you may otherwise never want to talk to. Your school counselor, college coaches, the lady on the phone walking you through how to file your FAFSA, every one of these relationships, however short-lived, is giving you practice getting along with different kinds of people. This is a skill that leaders possess, and you are building it without even thinking about it.
We could go on and on about the various qualities and skills that are making you a more capable person and a better leader, but we think you get it. Whether you end up at your dream school or not, know that by taking charge of your own recruiting process, you are already learning, growing, and winning. If that’s not what life is about, we’re not sure what is. Keep up the good work!
Need more reason to organize the recruiting process yourself? Check out 10 Reasons Why a DIY Recruitment is Best.