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What do college coaches look for when they are scouting? This is probably the most common question I get from High School baseball players all over the country. If your goal is to play college ball, than that’s the natural question that will come up and it’s a great question. Tons of high school players get the opportunity to play in front of scouts during showcases, tournaments or league games. The million dollar question is: “What can I do to stand out?”
I ask that same question to all the college coaches I interview. I’ve compiled a lot of their answers together below and expanded on a few of the points. It’s important to remember that when we are talking about playing at the major D1 level, there has to be a base level of talent before the characteristics talked about by these coaches can make you stick out.
Brian Green from the University of Kentucky spells it out well, “Obviously it starts with talent. This is where the process begins from the college standpoint.”
So without further ado, here’s what some of the top college coaches in the country say you can do to stand out:
Have the Intangibles:
Randy Mazey, TCU
“For me, once I recognize that they have the talent to play at this level, I look for the intangibles like hustle, work ethic, how they talk to their teammates and coaches, and how they act when something goes wrong. If I don’t like the intangibles, I won’t recruit him.”
That’s a bold statement by coach Mazey in the last sentence. More and more I’m hearing from coaches that they won’t go after the talented guy with character issues anymore. Be a guy with intangibles.
Have an Attitude that stands out:
Ray Tanner, South Carolina
“Perform, hustle, and demonstrate an attitude that’s impactable. Just doing all the right things. They have to perform, but it really goes beyond that. Can they handle adversity? Baseball is a game of failure. The guys that can handle themselves well at all times and show true character, those are the guys I want.”
How do you react when you strike out in a big spot? How about when you give up a tie breaking home run? I’m not saying you shouldn’t be upset, but you shouldn’t let your body language or actions turn into moping or defeat. The great players understand that failure is a big part of baseball and that they can only control the next swing… the next pitch.
Perform in the clutch, Have Good Character, Be a Dirt Bag:
Brian Green, University of Kentucky
“Evaluating tools that can positively affect your program, with Speed and Athleticism being the constant trait that we hunt. In terms of the 3 things that position players can do to stand out from an evaluation standpoint:
- Perform when it matters. Nothing speaks to confidence more than when a recruit performs when all eyes are on him. It is the safest way to predict what the player would do in the college environment and particularly the SEC where you could be routinely playing in front of crowds in excess of 7,000
- I mentioned this earlier, but the makeup and character component. Constantly working in between innings regardless of position, demonstrating a passion and willingness to improve on a daily basis. This is what we are all as coaches constantly preaching, “showing up everyday” to work, grind and improve. This can be another positive predictor that the player will at some point perform at the next level, because his work ethic and desire to improve is in place.
- Getting Dirty and Being infectious with energy. Seeing players constantly talking on the field, or invested pitch to pitch on defense speaks volumes about their character.
Again it always starts with talent and the athleticism, the speed – power – arm strength – hit categories…..and when they are present or close and the above factors are seemingly in place- you have something there.”
I love how coach Green expanded on all of his points in detail. It is clear that there is a lot more that goes into the recruiting process than pure talent. So listen to the ways he says that position players can stand out… AND BE A DIRT BAG!!
Do the Fundamentals Well:
Kevin McMullan, University of Virginia
“Hustle, hit the ball on the barrel, make the routine plays on defense.”
Coach McMullan has coached a lot of crazy talented ballplayers, including Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals and I think it’s very interesting that he points out making the routine plays on defense as a way to stand out. You don’t have to make web gems when coaches are watching!! Just prove that you can consistently be smooth and handle the routine plays. Also, when it comes to batting and taking BP in front of scouts, I think this is huge- HITTING THE BALL ON THE BARREL should be your goal. Not getting hits or hitting home runs. Coaches notice a hitter that’s always squaring a ball up. Trust me, in the scouts eye, you’re better off going 0-4 with four line outs than 4-4 with duck farts and seeing eye singles.
Good Make Up (Handle Adversity Well), Love the Clutch Situations:
Ken Knutson, Arizona State
“Their make up, how they deal with pitching. A lot of the guys we scout at ASU are pretty good, but I like to see how they handle adversity.”
Dan O’Brien, UC San Diego
“Make up, make up, and make up! There are a lot of solid ballplayers out there with a lot of ability. We’re looking for the guy that comes early, stays late, loves to be in the clutch situations and can’t wait to come through for his teammates, and pick them up on and off the field whenever he can. Get a group of guys like that together and you can accomplish anything!”
So there you have it. The best ways to stand out while being recruited, straight from coaches at some of the top programs in the country. If this was helpful, “like” it on Facebook. If you like the site, subscribe. If you have more questions leave them in the comments section or hit me up on Facebook (David Franco). Now go impress the scouts!