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Getting Noticed
 
Academics »          Recruiting Rules »          Getting Noticed »

With almost half a million high school students playing baseball every year and the limited recruiting budgets of most college and junior colleges, it is very easy to get overlooked or "fall through the cracks". So what can you do to improve your chances of being noticed by college coaches?

We thought it might be helpful to ask college coaches to rate the various sources of prospect information. The results of the survey can be summarized in three words ---Seeing is Believing. Coaches gave the highest rating to activities where they can see a prospect with their own eyes. We asked coaches to rate a variety of sources for their usefulness in providing information on a scale of 1 (lowest rating) to 10 (highest rating). Following is a summary of the results:


Camps and showcases 8.55
Regular season games 8.48
All-star games 8.23
High school coach recommendation 7.55
"Friend of the program" recommendation 6.81
Prospect video 6.79
Letter from prospect 6.53
Recruiting service 4.77
Newspaper articles 3.99
So what advice can we give you? Most importantly, don't sit back and assume that schools will hear about you if you're a good ball player. This isn't the NFL draft and it isn't college football. You have to make colleges aware of you. So how do you do this?
  • Attend college camps. These days most colleges have summer or holiday camps. Ideally, you would attend between your junior and senior year. If you're interested in a small group of schools this is a good way to get noticed. It can get very expensive, though, if you try to attend camps at a number of schools. When you attend a college camp, make sure the coach knows you're there and that you're interested in his school. If a coach from a school has already seen you play, attending their camp may not be necessary. Also, ask if coaches from other colleges will be working at the camp. My experience is that this element can vary widely from year to year.
  • Attend showcases. There a zillion of these things around so be careful. The showcases are typically intended to make a profit so your interests may not necessarily be served. Many of the showcases are very expensive so you should know exactly what you're getting before you sign up. Find out how many college coaches are working or observing the showcase. Many showcases have a large number of participants and it is easy to get lost in the crowd. In this situation, there will be a lot of sitting around and probably a great emphasis on "numbers" (e.g., 60 time and throwing velocity). If you're not a "numbers guy", think long and hard about whether to attend. The ideal time to attend a showcase is the summer before your senior year or during the winter of your junior or senior year. We will include information about showcases on our website. We are also interested in getting feedback from players who attend showcases and camps. Once we get some feedback we will share it with you.
  • Attend pro tryout camps. Look in the notices section of your local paper for the announcement of pro tryout camps. We will try to include local tryout dates on our website as well. College coaches place a high value on the opinions of professional scouts. A recommendation from a professional scout carries a lot of weight with college coaches. Players usually have to be at least 16 years old to attend these camps. Attend them as soon as you are old enough.
  • Write to the coaches at the schools that interest you. Don't send a form letter. The best thing to do is to send a hand-written letter describing your ability and why you want to attend their school. Ask the coach where you can go to be seen by him or tell him where you are going to be or send him your baseball schedule. One coach told us that a phone call is even better than a letter because it shows interest and initiative. Start doing this before your junior season.
  • Send the coaches a video. Some coaches love them and some never look at them. One approach would be to ask the coach in a letter if he wants a video. We think its best to send the video after your junior year. If you do send a video, here are a few things to think about:
General

- The video should be no more than 5 to 10 minutes.
- It is better to send workout footage than game footage because it can be customized to show what the coach wants to see.
- Use a tripod for taping to avoid the camera bouncing around.
- Don't make it a Hollywood production with music and titles.
- Label your tape with name, address, phone number and high school.
Pitchers

- For pitching, film the player from various angles to allow the coaches to see mechanics, arm slot, ball movement and location.
- Film from behind the catcher, behind the mound and from the pitcher's "open" side.
- If you can only do one angle, behind the catcher is the best.
Hitting

- Film from the player's open side and show 10-12 swings.
- This allows coaches to see the player's hip rotation and the path of their hands to the ball.
Fielding - Infielders

- The best angle for filming infielders is from between home plate and first base
- This allows coaches to see a player's range, movement, hands in fielding the ball and throwing mechanics and strength.
- Be sure to include the throw to first so coaches can see how the ball carries.
- Ideally, film 9 ground balls, divided equally among plays with the player moving in, to his right and to his left.
Fielding - Outfielders

- Film from behind the pitcher's mound with the player in center field.
- Ideal would be a total of 6 balls, 3 grounders and 3 flys, with the player moving in, to his left and to his right.
- Show the player's movement to the ball, how they move into their throw and the flight of the ball to third base.
Catchers

- Film from behind home plate with a few shots from the first base line to show the player's open side and mechanics.
- Ideal would be a total of 15 pitches, with 5 showing the ability to frame a pitch, 5 showing the transition from receiving the ball into a throwing position and 5 actual throws to 2nd base.
Running

- Running is not often included but you could include video of a player running the bases.
- Show the player running to 1st base and rounding the base and then running from 1st to 3rd.
  • Ask your high school coach to help you. An experienced coach has done this before and may have useful contacts. Most coaches are happy to do this, but some aren't.
So what about the recruiting services? There are a good number of services around with prices ranging from modest to expensive. Some players have had good experiences with the services and some haven't. Again, we are hoping to get some feedback from those to use the services and will pass that reaction along to you as we receive it.

The reaction we received from college coaches regarding recruiting services was mixed. Some liked them and some didn't. Those who didn't were more inclined to comment on them. A Division II coach told us: "Some services are strictly money makers. Some of the kids they send are horrible."

A coach at a major Division I power said, "I am always suspect of a recruiting service because the kids buy the product. Hard for someone to pay a fee for the service and then have the service not say good things about (the) player's ability".

A Division III coach said, "Some recruiting services just waste our time. Some are helpful."

Our advice? If you're considering using a service, be sure to talk to other players who have used that service to be sure they felt it was worthwhile. It's probably one of those things that can't hurt but we'd recommend spending the money on camps and showcases instead.

We'll close this out by offering a few other words of advice:
  • Always assume a scout is watching you play, including in your pre-game warm-ups. Some scouts have been known to leave after the pre-game warm-ups. Working hard in the pre-game shows you are serious about the game and have a good attitude and work ethic.
  • We once heard a college coach in pre-camp comments say he was looking for "low maintenance" players. In other words, lose the attitude. College coaches won't put up with it and if they think you are high maintenance they're likely to cross you off their list.
  • Always show a positive attitude, toward your own coaches, to opposing players and to umpires, and respect the game. College coaches want to see this in a player.
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