When to college coaches start looking?


#1

I’ve heard that starting the “push” to get your name out there should begin at the end of your sophomore year (filling out recruiting forms, maybe a 2 minute bullpen video, etc.). Is that good advice? Will coaches bother to see a player as a sophomore in summer AAU or is Junior year the best time to push because they are actively looking at the “more developed” players and hoping to get committments in the fall of their senior year?

Thanks.


#2

When you say “ college coaches”, that encompasses a large population. So, let’s narrow the field down a bit with some questions.

First question= if you live in Bose, Idaho would you expect a college coach, any college coach from say, Alabama to be interested in you regardless of how well you play? Or say, a coach from the University of Hawaii?
Answer= Well maybe, maybe not. All depends on how really good you are, BUT, more importantly, it all depends on if these coaches really want to fetch THAT FAR from their base of operations. Sometimes coaches and their recruitment can hit dry spells with regards to talent, but still, at the college level, dry spells have a way of not being all that dramatic for the coaching staff and their job security - there are exceptions, but that’s rare. It’s far better to keep within a 100 mile range of the campus because of the relationships with coaches at the high school level and similar clubs. There are exception to be sure, but if you look at he majority of college baseball rosters, you’ll see a pattern that remains fairly consistent.

Second question= are you just on the scene?
Answer= players who just pop up and start playing serious ball have no track record or history behind them. Things like a player’s reputation, development qualities, game savvy and so on are all unknowns. Hence, trying to stand shoulder to shoulder and buck the players with experience, not to mention a track record of quantity and quality, can be a tough nut to crack. It’s not impossible mind you, just very difficult.

Third question= who knows your out there?
Answer= sitting home and keeping to yourself is not the way to go. If you want people to know who you are and what you can do, you’ve got to be very pro active. Not your parents, not friends of friends, but you. You’ve got to play all the ball you can, attend college prospect camps, college skills camps, try out for every high quality club you can, fill out all the prospective student athlete forms you can (within reason), let people know you exist.

Fourth question= why you?
Answer= because you’ve decided it should be you, not the guy next to you or anyone else for that matter, but you. Look, this is a world of competition - it’s either get your share or move out of the way. No one, I mean no one, has ever sat on the curb and watched a parade and heard the crowd waving and cheering at them. Ain’t gonna happen. You’ve got to be very proactive for number one - yourself. Start making phone calls to the college baseball office or athletic director of the colleges that your interested in yourself. Start relying on your own list of questions and followup yourself.

Fifth question= how realistic are you?
Answer= facts are facts, and reality can sometimes bite. For all you good intentions, sometimes things just weren’t meant to be. On the other hand, you “thing” could be at another position other than pitching, or even with another sport or vocation in life. Don’t discount your talents and what really puts a fire in your belly every morning when you get up. We all only go around once in this life, and to do something that you really enjoy, the place that you really want to be day in and day out, is worth having. You may not make the big bucks nor enjoy the perks that others seem to have - but if it’s what you want to do with this gift that you’ve been given - LIFE, then go for it.

Coach B.


#3

Thank you, Coach, as always. Great advice. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m the father of the subject in question. I will say that I have read (on this site, and others) how important it is to have my son do the communicating with college coaches. He is a Freshman in high school and is passionate about baseball (always has been). I am looking to give him the best advice possible without pushing (don’t want him to lose his passion). Anyway, I read another article that suggested that Freshmen attend a winter college showcase in their area to get a feel for how these are run (not necessarily to see how they “match up” with other talent at this point). I did send him to a showcase at a local university in January of this year. He had a great time, was relaxed, and it further fueled the fire. He did all the communicating with coaches at that showcase and I hid in the background. He was nervous talking to the coaches, but did a great job for his first interaction. He later sent a thank you e-mail to the coach and recruiting director.

Here are my answers to your questions from what my son has said (I will run each of these questions by him to see if I’m listening!!!):

First Question: he wants to attend the best college possible and is hoping that baseball will push him over the top in getting into a very good school. In that regard, we live in New England and, as you know, have access to some of the finest academic colleges in the country. He wants to stay close to home, so my guess is that he lands in one of the 6 New England states (possibly New York) whether he plays baseball or not.

Second Question: Not sure. He has played on very good teams but not on highly visible AAU teams. Given his age, not sure if he’s been in a position to be noticed. The area coaches certainly know him. He will play high school baseball for the first time this year. He has already committed to an AAU team this summer (and will play up one age group) but if this program is not visible enough, he has expressed a desire to try out for a more visible program at the end of his Sophomore year.

Third Question: Just the coaches at his first prospect camp, as far as I know. They did take notice and approached him. He asked me later if they spoke with him because of his size, age, or talent (or some combinatinon). I said “I think they liked what they saw” but I have no idea why.

Fourth Question: Completely get this. I have vowed to never, ever speak with or e-mail a coach!!! (unless, of course, the coach wants to speak with me).

Fifth Question: Great question. Again, my son has always made it clear that he thinks baseball can be a tool. He’s at a very good high school and knows that baseball could give him an opportunity to get into a very good college. He would be perfectly happy playing DIII (as you know, the DIII colleges in New England are some of the best academic colleges in the country). I think that he has the potential to play DI or DII. He has the size and passion and, so far, has been working very hard to get even better. The prospect camp he went to was a DI.

Coach…I really appreciate your advice and enjoy all of your posts. Please let me know if I’m way off base, here. I was thinking that I would let my son enjoy his first year of High School ball and play through the summer. I thought one showcase this summer would make sense and another college showcase next winter. Then Sophomore year of baseball let him put a list of colleges together and let him make contact with coaches. Again, I just mean to guide; not to meddle. I do realize it’s a fine line!!!

Thanks.


#4

From a coach’s perspective, here’s what I’ve noticed with youngsters coming of age in this sport.

The main thing that these young men have is a personal identity that stands out. Whether it’s the way they act in crowd, their language, their self confidence, their demeanor, their simple courtesy in the company of a lady - opening the car door for mom or taking their cap off when a lady approaches him or the group he’s with, etc. I also notice how quite their mannerism is- but not overly so. These young men are just that - young men. They’re not looking for mom and dad’s approval at every turn, nor are they running back and forth to the parents for every little thing.

These players also have a quality of style, attentiveness and constant eye contact when being addressed. Their focus is almost like a cold steel look - very sober. On the other hand, their sense of humor doesn’t get pushed out of the way either.

Performance on the field goes without question - they’ve got “ it”. But, sometimes not the necessary stuff that can spell immediate success. There are things that are intangible, not easily spotted by the untrained eye, things that can go completely by the boards by the casual observer – and believe me there are a lot of casual observers in the coaching business … at all levels. That’s why exposure is important. And on that note, there is something called “workability” at the amateur level where a youngster has great potential - it just needs a little work that’s all. So stick with the fundamentals, work on the basics, the foundation(s) that supports everything else.

Ok, now more directly to your son. If he wants to be a student athlete then he has to start thinking like a student athlete. Priorities, priorities. Hit the books religiously. Let the dean of students and the admissions office give the thumbs up for any coaching staff who is interested in your son - it’s that important. Have your son follow up the academics with a sound nutrition, strength and conditioning program that yells - I’M AN ATHLETE. A dynamic breakfast is a given- fruit, grains and dairy, do the homework to plan a time management schedule that’s both realistic and attainable to plan for breakfast and what follows.

Coaching skills enhance any youngster’s potential * - but who and where? Again, be aggressive in watching and learning as much as one can. Being a keen observer of others can work very well, in addition to thinking things out, step by step. Hashing things over with someone who has the same interests can be very worth while too. However, be cautious here with being a “copy cat” of someone else’s body style and technique. We’re all different, you and I, and our interpretation of what we see and how beneficial something can be leaves the door open to a lot of guesswork. Be patient and reasonable with your approach- it’s not that difficult.

Be ready for a self absorbing existence during the junior year of high school. Making a college baseball club is serious business - if your son has ambitions of making it with the high rollers.
Sometimes, a lot of things can take a backseat to your son’s athletic ambitions. Things like a social life, family commitments, friends at school and in the neighborhood. Also, once your son really takes off, your family life can orbit a lot of what your son is doing, at the expense of a lot of other things in the family. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, a family member who is sick and needs tending, sibling events, company outings and parties, even some religious events and observances … take a backseat to a youngster who just HAS to make THIS game, showcase, event. And last but never least is the money that your about to invest, without any tangible evidence of that investment paying off … ANYBODY. It’s all a gamble.

I’ve seen some very talented people get blind-sided at the eleventh hour by some of the most unexpected chain of events. So, be ready for it.

Coach Baker

  • I’ll PM you later with some additional suggestions and remarks.

#5

Coach B - That is just plain awesome advice!

gettingthere - I think your kid has his head on straight with some good perspective. Sounds like the kind of kid who will go far in life. Nice job!


#6

Thanks, Roger. He’s a good kid and really wants to do well. I’ll keep you guys posted with video from time-to-time. As always, we appreciate all the help and enthusiasum.


#7

Id try to deffinately get his name out there early that was my problem i waited till my senior to do any showcases and i only got a little interest because im pretty sure they were like uhh who is this out there he is good but is it just luck? So i did get into a D3 program but im left thinking if i started sophmore or junior year could i have gone higher? Probally but my best strides were junior to senior year so i dont know if it would have helped. Freshmen year may be a bit early but without a doubt sophomore year and beyond get noticed get some vids go to showcases talk to coaches if theres a school he really wants to attend contact the coach get in touch and get your name out there. I cant really follow up coach b’s advice with anything outstanding cause he covered it all. Bets of luck to you and your son.