Be thorough. College coaches did not grow up in your generation. They don’t communicate in shorthand speech like you and your friends do. They use complete sentences. They write their thoughts into letters that have an introduction, body, and conclusion. They don’t have time to have a back and forth with you in words/phrases like you do with your friends. The way you communicate is not efficient. This is the real world, not high school. One introductory e-mail should include all the relevant information a coach needs about you.
Give the coach a job or task. Don’t ask them to go to MaxPreps and look up your stats. Don’t ask them to call your coach and get your stats or info about you. This college coach does not work for you! They have their own bosses and tasks they need to get done. If you want the coach to recruit you then your job is to get them what they need to evaluate you. You take the time to write out your stats for them. You take the time to get a quote from your high school coaches. This college coach has no interest in being your mom or dad, so don’t treat them like they are.
Going on a college visit? You will likely be visiting with a combination of athletic coaches and also academic and financial aid counselors. The following list was actually written by a College Baseball Coach and sent to his recruits (*we removed the school name per NCAA rules). The tips are meant to help the athlete make a good impression with the admission staff to help their chances of admissions and financial aid.
We’re excited about your visit to [NAME College]. Here are a few things to know about tomorrow. Our goal is for your day to go as smooth as possible. Dress casually for the first part of your visit. I recommend wearing the same thing that you would for school. Leave your Baseball gear in the car. You will have time later in your day to change at the field prior to your instructional workout. Your campus tour will be led by a current [NAME College] student. This is your time to get a look at the inside and outside of our campus. The next part of your day will be an admissions session with one of our counselors. Although this is called an admissions session we would like you to treat it like an interview. The primary job of our admissions counselors is to enroll the best students possible to [NAME College] every year. The counselor will be meeting with you to answer any academic and financial aid questions you have. During this meeting they will also be formulating an opinion of whether you’re a good fit for [NAME College]. By good fit I mean someone who has the best chance of succeeding academically and socially here while graduating on time. We want you to represent yourself to the best of your ability during this segment. Here are some tips for this interview.
It can take a lot of work but if you put your mind to it anything is possible. Just about every baseball player in high school wants to land that big full Division I baseball scholarship. The truth is that only a small percentage of high school athletes in any sport will actually get a full Division I scholarship. That does not make it impossible. There are around 300 Division I baseball programs out there and some of them like the Ivy League schools can not even offer any athletic scholarship only academic. Division I and Division II each get 11.7 scholarships. That means that in the NCAA there are only around 3400 full scholarships available and most of those will be split so that the programs can get more people. You can understand why baseball scholarships are difficult to get when many schools will carry 30 to 40 players on their roster. Statistically the best chance of getting a full scholarship is if you are pitcher and can throw in the 90’s. Pitchers, on average, will get the highest scholarships but, if you are exposed properly and it becomes a bidding war between a few programs than you have a legit shot.
Just to let you know NAIA schools have 12 scholarships available to them. However, there is a catch. Many schools, if not most, do not fully fund their scholarships. Some do not fund them at all and others may only fund 3 – 6 scholarships. Division III is unable to offer athletic scholarships in any sport.
Steps and Tips to Get Exposed
- The first step is being able to judge your own skills and whether they really are worthy of an athletic scholarship. Try to be honest with yourself and be realistic. Most Division I schools are looking not only for talent but also for size. Most schools are looking for 6’0” kids and taller. This is just a reality. They love to see a big back and big butt with some size on the legs. TIP: On the day of a game (any game but especially on days that you know college scouts are coming) wear some sort of boot that makes you taller. Aka: cowboy boots. Wear a nice coat to make your shoulders and back look bigger. They are looking at everything about you and first impressions are huge.
- I cannot stress this enough give full effort at all times, even during practice. You never know whom maybe watching you. Make sure you practice hard so that come game time everything is easy. When you are on the bench always pay attention to what is happening on the field instead of joking around in the dugout. You do not want to make a mental mistake when you are called on because you were not paying attention. You are also selling your high school coach because believe me when I say the college scouts will talk to your coach and ask all kinds of questions about you. Always be a student of the game and learn all that you can. Coaches are always looking for hard working, smart ballplayers. It may be the factor that gives you an edge over another player that is being looked at.
- Attend showcases and prospect camps. This is a must to get full exposed. A showcase is where many teams will come and evaluate you. Attend prospect camps at colleges of your choice. These can be a very positive experience. Most colleges run baseball camps for high school prospects in the summer or fall of each year or over Christmas break. They use them to raise money for their baseball program and to give them a close look at players in their area. The cost usually runs somewhere between $100 and $500. These camps offer you the opportunity to show your talent to the coach of your choice. But make sure that they know you are coming. Contact the coach and introduce yourself to him prior to going to the camp. Let him know that you would possibly like to play for him. If he knows you are coming, he will be more likely to make sure to keep an eye on you. Many times the college players actually run the camp. Depending on the size of the camp, the coach may not see everyone. So make sure he knows you will be there. I would recommend going to at least three of these prior to sophomore, junior and senior year in high school. Most of them are just in it for the money but if you really show them something it is a great way to be seen. Now you have to be smart about going to these camps. If the coaches really have no interest in you than go to a different one the next year. Some coaches are only looking for specific positions to fill and it may not be your position. So be smart and do some homework before you attend one. See what positions are graduating or leaving. Talk to the coaches and get to know them. Some of the major showcases, such as Perfect Game and Area Code, are the real deal. If you can go to these then definitely go. It will also give you a chance to see how you stack up against other players in your area. If there are a number of scouts at the showcase, it will also enable you to be seen. But be selective in which ones you attend. Make sure that you go to a lot and often so at least your name will be out there when they need to fill a slot.
- Play on a well-established summer team. There are many options and it allows you to tone up your skills. The more competitive the better. College coaches will come out to see you if you are playing impressively consistently. This is the time to go to camps and get lessons to improve you weak points in your game. Always stay sharp and be ready to play ball. Again you never know who is watching you.
- Another huge step is to contact a coach directly. Make a list of possible schools that you would like to attend. Take some time on this and do some homework on the school to see if it fits for you. The first point of contact should be the recruiting form on the website of the baseball team. But don’t stop at this. Track down the coaches email address and send him a follow-up email. Let him know a little about you as a player and why you would like to be considered for his baseball program. Some smaller schools may contact you by merely filling out their online recruiting questionnaire but many larger schools will never respond. They have too many contacts, as it is to chase down every individual who thinks they have the ability to play for them. However, if you contact them directly by email, most schools will at least respond. If they do respond, you have opened up the door to communication with them. If this does not work see if you can get a phone number off the site and try calling them. Until there is open lines of communication just assume that they have never heard from you. Just because there is no response from them does not mean they are not interested in you they are just busy. Be persistent and you will get a hold of them.
- Now that you have made contact with the coaches make a video of yourself and send it to coaches. Since many coaches are unable to make it out to your games during the high school season most of them are big fans of video. Film a number of your live game at-bats or a few innings that you pitch. Add to this a session in the batting cage and some video of you fielding ground balls or fly balls and send it off to the schools you have an interest in. Make sure that they know the video is coming and have them contact you once they get it. This is another way of helping you get exposed.
- Ask the coach to meet on campus. By far the most effective method for being seen by a coach is to ask him if you can travel to the college for him. The coach will look into you whether it is talking to your coaches or just keeping on eye on your stats the point is you are no longer just a name. If you go and the coach does not seem interested then you can cross that college off of the list right away. The great thing about visits like this is that you have the coach’s attention and they can get to know you. Often you get the chance to meet some of the current players and you can find out more about the program. You will also have an opportunity to see the baseball facilities. It also will let you know if you will like the coach or not. Often these visits will be coupled with a tour of the university, which will give you a good feel for life on campus.
- Coaches love good students. They are not thrilled with low high school GPAs, ACTs or SATs. A coach does not want to have to worry about whether or not you will be able to stay eligible while in college. If you are only pulling a 2.3 GPA in high school you may not be able to get a 2.0 in college to stay eligible to play. Having said that that are two ways of thought about how good of student you are. A good student also allows a coach to be flexible with his scholarship money. If you can get academic scholarship money that is less athletic scholarship money that he must use. There are two problems with this though. The first is that if you get a really good academic scholarship than you have to keep a much higher GPA in college than the other guys. The second one is that if the coach is not investing that much in you with his athletic scholarship than there will not be as much pressure to play you. This is all just food for thought. Every situation is different. The bottom line is that it is best to get the biggest athletic scholarship that you can.
- Be confident during this whole process. If you are attempting to land an athletic scholarship then you must be at a pretty decent talent level. When you get invited to campus or when you have the opportunity to play in front of a coach in any situation trust your talent. Relax and realize that you have nothing to prove and that you are there to show your talent. Recognize all your hard work that you put in over the years, relax and be yourself. Your talent will show through.
I feel like every kid I know believes they are Division I athlete. In reality very few are, but there are some Division I athletes that are playing now that are not as good as ball players in a lower division. How do you stack up to other players in your area? Do you possess the skill and attributes necessary to play Division I? Get a realistic evaluation of your talent whatever way you can and don’t shut the door to Division II, Division III or NAIA schools because they may offer you more.
Again always remember to give maximum effort every time you step on the field because you never know who is watching. Often a coach will show up unannounced or may be there to watch a player on the opposing team. You always have the potential to be seen. Run hard to first for every at-bat. Most coaches will want to see how fast you make it out of the box and get a home to first time on you. If you give up on it like a prima donna you will immediately go down in value to them. Never give up on a ball in the field either. You never know what you may be able to get to. Coaches are impressed by effort. Go hard or go home.
College coaches are also looking for the proper attitude. Never let your emotions get the best of you. This means never put your head down or throw any equipment. This also goes for succeeding; never taunt the other team because you did something good. You should be right in the middle on the emotional scale at all times. The only real emotion that coaches like is leadership. If your team is down and out of it are you pumping them up and telling them that you can win this the scouts and coaches will take notice. Always have a positive attitude.
Here is a list of All D-I Schools