Getting recruited for collegiate athletics is as much of a job as anything else – and as daunting as it may be, with all the different things you are hearing from coaches, scouts, and parents of kids who have been through the process, it can be a little overwhelming. Showcases, school tours, highlight videos, and so much more can really help get your name out there and in front of coaches. Being an ex-collegiate player myself and having been through this process as well as helping a few others, I have a few tips that can help you through this process!

 

Tip #1: Start Early!

Please don’t take this literally and start marketing your 8-year-old son – I can guarantee there aren’t any scouts at your coach pitch games! But really, if you love the game of baseball and want to play at the collegiate level, start the process as early as your freshman year of high school if you can. If you’re reading this and you are past that point, don’t fret! Start as soon as you can. Start looking into schools that you are interested in attending and start looking for as much information as you can, I.E., coaching staff, coaching changes within the last couple of years, upcoming camps and so on. The recruiting process is as competitive as anything else. Do you best to get ahead of the curve.

 

Tip #2: Do Your Research

When deciding where you want to continue your education, let me be the first to tell you, do NOT just think about the baseball program. Remember, this is where you will be getting your education. Choose a school that is best suited for you and your learning style. So many people get caught up in the status of “Division I” and all that jazz. Yes, there are some great schools, and they have some great programs, don’t get me wrong. But if you are a senior and you play centerfield, but your dream school just invested in a freshmen centerfielder with 2 others behind him, it may not be a good fit. Or, if you are a student who performs better in a smaller class environment, going to a big school like Ole’ Miss may not be the best for your education. Remember, the end result should be a degree – and that should be the first thing on your mind. Not the cool gear and clout you get for being on the team.

 

Tip #3: Be a Professional

College coaches and other scouts do not recruit children. They recruit players that they can mold into professional young men, and if you conduct yourself in a professional manner on and off the field, you are already one step ahead. I am not naïve to the impact social media has on our society these days and the young age that kids are getting on sites such as Instagram and Twitter. If you pay attention to any MLB news, you can see that every so often a big named player will be under fire for something they posted YEARS ago, and it will come back to bite them well into their professional careers. What you put on the internet is not written in pencil; it is written in ink. Coaches will be sure to do deep dives on your social profiles and I know this because I have seen it firsthand in their recruiting process – and they do it before they even invite you on a visit. These social pages can be a great tool for you to put yourself out there and get some good traction to your name. Use them correctly and be a professional.

 

Tip #4: Be Realistic

Okay, I know how this is going to sound, but please do not take this the wrong way: Not everyone’s son can play Division I. But guess what: That is okay. This is something I wish someone had told me earlier in my recruiting process. But, if you are still dead set on playing D-I, let me ask you a question and you can answer yourself: What’s better? Riding the bench and MAYBE getting an at-bat or two against smaller schools during midweek games or really getting to compete for a spot and playing every game at a smaller D-I or D-2 school? I’ll be the first to tell you, sitting the bench sucks. Now, I’m not saying you can’t earn and fight your way into a spot at a D-I school because I have seen that happen too and if you want to attend a big D-I school because you love the school and playing baseball is a perk that comes with it, I tip my cap to you and wish you best of luck. For those that are looking to deep dive into a program they can make an immediate impact in, find a school that wants you BAD. Believe it or not, there are so many schools out there – I promise there is one for you to play at. Make sure to ask the coaches what their plans are for you and where they see you fitting in their program. College coaches are not going to lie to you. If any coach expresses interest, they see you fitting in a specific role. Make sure that role is something you are willing to accept.

 

Tip #5: Be Ready for a GRIND

Now that I’m thinking about it, this should have been the first tip. When looking into playing collegiate baseball, a question to ask, no matter how cliché it is, is this: Do I really want to do this? Being a collegiate athlete, in any sport, is an absolute grind. There will be early morning workouts, practices, games, travel, and so many other things you have to endure all on top of being a good student. Remember, you have to pass to play. You don’t take care of business in the classroom; you don’t get to take care of business on the diamond. I coach and one of my player’s dad asked me if I had any tips to give his son as he moved into his senior year. The first question I asked was this: Do you really love this game? I have to ask that because if you look at any study, being a student athlete equates to a 40+ hour work week. It’s hard, but it is also one of the most memorable and most rewarding experiences I have ever had. If the answer is yes and you really want to do this, work hard, train harder, and go after that dream. I promise it’ll be worth it – no matter what level you’re playing at.