Recruiting is not an exact science. I'm sure if you could interview most college coaches they will each have a story of the kid "that got away" or "they completely missed on." It is not something for the weak minded or feint of heart, this recruiting thing.
The people with the most energy, persistence, and creativity will end up landing more quality players than not. An assistant coach who earns the title of "Recruiting Coordinator" is invaluable to the program and is the one who most families meet during the process. Smaller institutions will probably rely on the head coach as chief recruiter, while other usually larger schools have the manpower for a dedicated recruiting staff position. As sophisticated as a program may be there are still a number of "missed" prospects each season.
Understanding the big picture of the college baseball recruiting process:
I have had conversations with players and families who receive the shocking news that a coach has filled his needs for this year and will not be offering their son or daughter a position. It is not an easy thing to hear but this does not guarantee your passed over player will never play there. Families get that "punched in the gut feeling" when the school of their dreams turns their back in favor of another quality prospect. It can be distressing but it should not be paralyzing!
Many things can happen:
- You will find a better situation.
- The school will call back and ask you to "walk on" because they really want you.
- Roster openings arise due to transfer, academics, or injury.
Schools who have filled their "quota" (their needs for the upcoming year) can still "miss" on someone they passed on. It is a player's job to stay true to his goals and find the best path to his college success with consistency of effort and a positive attitude.
What to keep in mind for players and families:
Here are some things to keep in mind if you're entering or unfamiliar with college baseball recruiting:
- Colleges are looking at freshmen and sophomores right now - it's true - but parents should not run out and buy a Go Pro camera and start sending videos all over the country. There are always a few super talented underclassmen each year, we all know that. Let them get their deserved recognition and take care of your own business for the next two years. Things change in a short few years!
- High school freshmen and sophomores often have yet to hit a growth spurt, see item 1.
- Juniors and Seniors should not worry about item number 1. If they have not gotten recognition it takes a little proactive work to get the word out there and there is plenty of time to do so.
- National Signing Day is a nice thing but should not be a deadline to families.
- I have witnessed colleges signing high school seniors in June of their senior year - do not panic.
- Players, if and when you get passed over, be respectful to the coaching staff and thank them for the opportunity to show your stuff. It will only help cement your reputation as a quality person and could end up helping you down the road (i.e. coaches change schools, student athletes transfer, summer ball brings you back to the same coaches).
Do recruiting videos help in baseball?
I have spoken as a reference on them in the past and I have also made recruiting videos for others. They do help.
Why? Coaches simply cannot afford the time nor money to travel the region to see every potential prospect so a concise video is welcomed by most. If for no other reason the video serves as a pre-screening process for a coach. Candidly, a coach wants to see that you have some coordination and an aptitude for baseball (i.e. good mechanics, arm action, bat speed, and footwork, etc.).
Tips for making a good baseball recruiting video:
- Keep it short, maybe 90 seconds.
- Keep it short, maybe 90 seconds (This is not a typo). A coach wants a quick snapshot of you, not a full ballgame.
- Showcases and other recruiting events offer a video in many cases. They can be helpful if you are OK paying for it.
- Pretty graphics, music, animation - not necessary.
- A personal message from the student athlete perhaps introducing the video is not a bad idea. It does not take the place of a face to face interview, a firm handshake, and looking a coach directly in the eyes when speaking to him. But it gives a coach a feel of his or her personality.
- Did I say keep it short?
- 9 times out of 10 you will look better on the video than you probably felt as you were making it! Don't panic, remember coaches are looking for aptitude.
I recruit all year long for the Mystic Schooners, my summer college team. I enjoy it but the best at recruiting college players is Phil Orbe, our former long time manager. Phil was thorough in cross-checking players through conversations with scouts, watching videos, and viewing in person when he could. There was an organized approach to his recruiting ability that helped with the consistent growth of the Schooners program. What some people viewed as a "gut decision" in signing a players was always a well thought out process, BUT each summer we both acknowledged that we missed a few guys who flourished elsewhere. Like I said earlier, an inexact science.
On my website, instagram and facebook I will have videos of pitchers in the middle of their workouts. A recruiting video is very similar to this, with various angles showing athleticism, arm action, and perhaps movement of pitches (although not a necessary angle).
Need guidance with your college recruitment process? Feel free to reach out.
One final thought: As an owner, General Manager, and Pitching Coach in one of the top summer college leagues in the United States, I have spoken to many college coaches and have formed solid relationships as we have taken care of their elite players. If you are have interest in a college and are stuck in the baseball recruiting process please contact me. I would be glad to speak and offer suggestions and perhaps open a door for you if possible. As I said, it is not like a face to face meeting, but if it can help get you noticed I would welcome that opportunity.