One of the biggest questions I am always faced with from high school baseball players is how to get recruited by more colleges.
I run a baseball academy and a travel organization, and I act as the liaison between college coaches and our players. As such, I get lots of questions from players and parents – often in a near-panic – asking me what they need to do to get recruited. In this article, I’m going to share a few actionable steps that players can take to boost their recruiting stock and get noticed.
Step 1: Figure Out How Good You Are
This is crucial, and you need to be ready to listen to someone who can objectively and accurately evaluate you. I’ll tell you from experience: many, many players do not truly want to be told how good they are. This, unfortunately, is because most players are not nearly as good as they think they are.
Coming to terms with reality is difficult, but the reality is that only a tiny percentage of high school baseball players will become college players.
If you’re still 5’8, 115lbs and throwing 72 mph off the mound; nothing will come of your recruiting efforts.
The best use of time and money is on getting better until you’re “fully baked” as a player – when you’re good enough that showcasing yourself will draw interest. The mostly-finished version of you is what we want to advertise when we ask a coach to make a special trip to watch you play.
If you don’t have someone to evaluate you, attend college baseball games!
Watch the level of play – how fast are the players? How hard do they throw? How good is their defensive range? How physical are they? Go to games of different levels and observe the players. Are you at that level?
Step 2: Identify Schools That You Would Like to Attend
My recommendation is to start with local schools first. The farther the school, the harder it will be to start the recruiting process with them. Here’s what to think about:
- Location: Where do you want to work and live after college?
- Education: What major and career path interests you?
- Size: Big? Small? Medium?
- Cost: What will your budget allow?
Step 3: How Strict Are Your Criteria, and How Badly Do You Want to Play?
Will you leave no stone unturned? Or do you want the big school experience, where playing baseball would be icing on the cake? I often see three types of players:
- Type 1: I’ll play anywhere – I just want to play, above all else.
- Type 2: I’m selective but really want to play. I want a good balance of academics and baseball.
- Type 3: I’m choosing my school for academics and student life first. If baseball is also an option, I’ll play there. If not, my baseball career will end.
Step 4: Fill Out Student-Athlete Questionnaires for The Schools on Your List
These questionnaires provide your information to a prospective school and indicate your interest in them. It’s a necessary first step.
These are found on the athletics website of each school. You’ll have to look around. If there isn’t one, send the school a personal email asking for more information on their program.
Step 5: Attend Baseball Camps of Your Top Schools
Most schools have baseball camps that you can attend. I have talked to many coaches that have said that the majority of players that pay for them have come from these camps, so this should be something you target for the schools you are most interested in attending.
This tells the school that you’re interested in them, which makes recruiting you easier.
The cost of these trips can add up quickly, so make sure you’re ready to be showcased, and pick your schools wisely if you have a limited budget.
Step 6: Gather the Emails of Colleges that You’d Like to Play For
The next step is to get the emails of colleges that you have on your hit list. Better yet, find the email of the head coach or recruiting coach, if possible.
But, be sure to choose schools that are within your ability level. Schools that are actively recruiting you give an idea of your ability level. If D-1 schools talk to you, then D-1 may be a reality. If only D-3, then D-3 may be your ability level (at least for now).
Start at JUCO, D3, NAIA, D2 and go from there.
Step 7: Attend Showcases and Ask Your High School Coaches for Help
Showcases like Prep Baseball Report (PBR) and Perfect Game can be a good way to get in front of multiple schools at once.
Recruiting profile websites like ELP and PBR are good ways to establish your physical numbers and host videos for colleges to look at.
Your high school coach can send emails and follow up with schools to provide an additional voice to help “sell” you to a school, especially if they have some personal connections.
Step 8: Re-evaluate and Repeat
There is a college for almost any player, it just depends on how badly you want to find it.
Coaches are always searching for the right players to fill their roster needs, and it’s a service to them for us to send them information on good players.
If your initial efforts don’t stick, then two things need to happen:
- The player needs to get better
- They need to cast a wider net
If you email 20 Division-I schools and none reply, then maybe you’re not a D-I talent, and that’s okay!
Ultimately, the schools that reply with interest will give you the best gauge of how good you really are. Just remember, that with hard work and a solid plan for improvement, you will become more recruitable over time.
If you’re not sure what you need to do to fulfill your dreams, check out my free eBook What it Takes. It contains actionable steps for an athlete to improve his or her focus, routine, mental strength, and determination.
The process can be daunting, but I think that there are a few steps that you can take to really put yourself in a much better position.
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