When I speak to high school players around the country, I always ask, “How many of you guys want to play baseball in college?” Mostly everyone raises his hand. If you are a high school player reading Next Level Ballplayer, then you would most likely raise your hand to that question as well. So, if playing college baseball is your goal, listen up! You need to make sure you avoid the biggest recruiting mistake out there.
There are many obstacles throughout the recruiting process that players and families struggle through across the board. A few of the most common topics include: How to know if you’re good enough to play D1, how to actually stand out when being scouted, how college coaches determine whom to give scholarships, how to determine which showcases are a waste of time and money (Hint: Most of them!), and others… But today I want to highlight the number one recruiting mistake high school baseball players make:
NOT BEING PROACTIVE IN THE RECRUITING PROCESS.
Before you quickly dismiss this, saying, “That’s not me”, let’s take a look at five popular ways that “not being proactive” rears its ugly head. I see these all the time:
1. You think that just because you got a letter in the mail from a college, you are actually being recruited.
Each college baseball program is sending out hundreds, if not thousands, of letters to high school ballplayers every year. All this proves is that they have your address. By all means, fill out the questionnaires, but just understand that it is the very BEGINNING of the recruiting process.
2. You think that paying a recruiting service to “get your name out there” means that all you have to do now is play well.
I have an aversion to recruiting services that sell under the premise of “getting your name out there” to college coaches. The problem is that they are also sending out every other player’s name that pays for it AND few, if any, coaches ever take those emails seriously. You’re much better off reaching out to schools yourself.
3. You think that because a college coach has called and talked to you, it’s only a matter of time until he offers you a scholarship.
The truth is that every coach recruits multiple players for each position they are trying to fill. It wouldn’t make sense for them to need a SS and put all their eggs in one basket by only recruiting one SS. It’s great if the coaches are calling you because that shows that there is interest… just don’t mistake it as a done deal. Keep pushing forward until there is an official offer on the table.
4. You (or your parents) pay to attend every showcase possible.
The problems with showcases are twofold. One, anyone can pay to be a prospect whether they are one in reality or not. Two, they are huge moneymakers and don’t always have the player’s best interests in mind. Some showcases are great places to gain valuable exposure to college coaches. Most are extreme wastes of time and money. Also, please make sure you are in baseball shape before going to a baseball showcase. This might seem elementary, but there are more and more winter showcases these days and a lot of players (pitchers especially) are getting injured because they aren’t in baseball shape going into them.
5. You wait until your Junior (or Senior) year to familiarize yourself with the recruiting process.
You should begin familiarizing yourself with the recruiting process no later than your sophomore year of high school.
The answer to everything, if you haven’t figured it out already: BE PROACTIVE!! Figure out what level of college baseball is realistic for you, make a highlight video, personally reach out to those college coaches you’d like to play for, and do everything possible to get those coaches to come see you play in a live game (not just a showcase)… and don’t stop until that scholarship is signed!
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