Ultimate Guide: How to Get Recruited for College Baseball
Ready to take your sport to the next level? Read on to learn how you can increase your chances of getting recruited to play college baseball.
So you’ve made up your mind - you want to play college baseball. Congratulations! Now let's discuss how to get recruited to play college baseball!
Once the initial excitement wears off, you might be left wondering where to start. Pressures from school, extracurriculars, and daily life already compete for your sanity, and adding the pressure of getting recruited to to play the sport you love can be overwhelming. How do you stand out and make recruiters notice you in a crowd of talent?
While the process of getting recruited to play college baseball for your dream school can be daunting, it isn’t impossible.
In this guide we’ve compiled some tips to increase your chances of coaches not only noticing you, but wanting you on their rosters. This guide has everything you need to know about college baseball recruiting!
While it’s never too late to start the process, the sooner you start the better.
A 2018 NCSA survey found that college baseball coaches begin evaluating recruits in their sophomore and junior years of high school. Paying attention to NCSA baseball recruiting guidelines is a great to prepare in the beginning.
Generally, coaches will gather a large list of prospective athletes who meet basic requirements and begin narrowing down their selection. They’ll develop this list based on recruiting media sites, third party recruiting services, recommendations from high school and club coaches, emails and messages from recruits, as well as camps and showcases.
As college coaches narrow their list of recruits, you might receive an email or letter asking you to complete a recruiting questionnaire, inviting you to a camp, or expressing general interest. Respond with an enthusiastic, personalized message to show that you appreciate their consideration.
In the meantime, don’t get overlooked in the madness - instead of sitting and waiting for that message to come to you, take the initiative and make the first move. As an aspiring college athlete, hopefully you have already been thinking about where you’d like to play and have compiled your own list of prospects. The sooner that you are on someone’s radar the better.
If you’re a senior reading this, don’t throw in the towel. If this is something you want, start now!
Remember: As soon as you have your sights set on playing a college sport, start looking into what you need to make it happen. Everyone has to start somewhere, and tomorrow you’ll wish you started today.
Do Your Research
Coaches are not the only ones critically evaluating their options.
Just as prospective players are being scrutinized and rated, you will be judging colleges and their programs based on fit.
Whether you are set on the school of your dreams or have no idea where to start, begin with a big list and narrow it down. Finding a school that feels like a good fit is hard enough when you don’t have your sights set on playing a college sport - it’s important to keep an open mind and treat all of your options with the same reverence.
Remember that your best fit is not just based on whether you will be a guaranteed starter on the field. Think about how you qualify academically, your finances, as well as the culture of the campus. What are your long-term goals? Where will you feel happiest? Where would you want to be if you couldn’t play baseball?
Be realistic about skill level compatibility, as well as academic compatibility. Know that college sports are demanding, and the demand only increases with division level. Think about how you will balance expectations from athletics with academics.
Create a list of a select few dream schools, some safety schools in case of emergency, and a focal group of some “likely” schools.
Don’t channel all of your energy into your dream schools. Your focus should be on increasing your likelihood of getting recruited to a program that is a good match - don’t neglect your safety schools or assume that any school on your list is a given, as anything can happen between now and signing.
Additionally, don’t leave lower divisions off of your list that not only could be better fits for you as a growing individual, but offer more in the way of career development and scholarship opportunities.
Once you have your list, know the eligibility requirements for each school. Check, double check, and don’t waste time getting your materials together. If you know that there is an SAT requirement, take the PSAT when your school offers it to gauge where you fall on the spectrum and whether you can realistically meet academic criteria.
In addition to general eligibility requirements, stay updated on how coronavirus has changed recruitment for each respective school. Different divisions have decided on different rules, and the status can change with little notice. Check NCSA’s page for updates related to college baseball’s response to the pandemic and how this could affect your recruitment process.
Remember: Keep the big picture in mind, and remember that you’re not the only one being judged. Be critical, but open-minded.
Don’t Wait to Get Noticed
Successful people know that it takes more than luck to make things happen. Be proactive and find ways to get yourself in front of coaches and on their radar.
Now more than ever, you can’t rely on chance encounters to land you an offer. While camps used to be one of the best ways to show off your skills and meet potential coaches, coronavirus has limited the options available. Be sure to comply with the latest coronavirus guidelines if you decide to travel for a camp, and know how each state is handling both coronavirus and sport restrictions.
If you are able to make it to a camp, make the most of the experience. Take this opportunity to hone in on and showcase your skills so that potential coaches can see you in action first hand. Camps are also a good place to film skill videos for your applications.
Whether or not you manage to place yourself front and center during an in-person encounter, don’t hesitate in sending that first email. Curate a contact list for the schools you are interested in and make the first move. Note that although it is never too early to contact a coach, there may be rules for how soon they can interact with you. Familiarize yourself with college baseball recruiting rules.
This contact list should include head coaches, assistant coaches, and recruiting coordinators. Craft a subject line that grabs the reader’s attention with all of the relevant information they need right off the bat. Use the format “Name, Current Grade Level, Key Stat.” Include a skills or highlight video in the email regardless of whether they’ve had a chance to see you in person.
Key measurables are helpful in these initial interactions, as they allow a coach to quickly get a feel for your skill level and whether you could be a fit. Update your contact with new stats and highlight videos as they come in.
Note that generic emails are easy to spot. Avoid mass emails - individually contact and personalize each message. Respond to emails in a timely manner and follow up with coaches if you don’t hear back, but don’t bombard them with messages.
Another worthwhile reason to contact or follow up with a coach is if you will be visiting their school or will be playing in a tournament and you’d like them to come, coronavirus restrictions permitting.
On the other hand, don’t continue to follow up if you know you do not meet the program’s standards, the coach is no longer recruiting for your position, or if the roster has been finalized.
Lastly, understand that correspondences with prospective coaches are like job interviews. Be prepared with questions as well as answers to what they will want to know about you as both a player and an individual. This professional relationship that you are building should be between you and the coach - don’t let parents overstep their bounds. Use this opportunity to display maturity and responsibility.
Remember: Be proactive and professional. Every interaction with you gives your correspondent a snapshot of you as a person - make sure you reflect values consistent with a reliable, diligent team member.
Show Off Your Best Self
Create a recruiting profile to manage your college baseball recruiting process, and build a resume that reflects your achievements and potential as an athlete.
However, avoid tunnel vision. Know that it’s not just your performance on the field that matters. Just because you have great stats doesn’t mean you can neglect schoolwork and extracurriculars. Prove that you are well-rounded.
Know what each school requires at baseline, such as transcripts and test scores. Showcase your athletic ability in your resume by including measurable statistics such as home to first base, second base to home, 60 yard dash times, and squat weights. Include relevant position statistics as well.
Include links to skill and highlight videos to increase your chances of making an impression with your recruiting profile. In fact, recruiting profiles with video links receive more than ten times the amount of traffic as profiles without. A skills video will showcase staged technical abilities relevant to your position, while a highlight video will include footage from games to show you in action. Keep it short and sweet - if a coach wants more footage, they will ask for it.
If applicable, include your camp, travel, and high school schedules so that recruiters can come watch you perform first hand.
A cover letter can help set you apart by telling your story in a way that numbers and statistics can’t. Although they’re not always required, use a cover letter to make a memorable impression to recruiters and share why getting recruited to their team is important to you.
Given the current evolving coronavirus pandemic, in-person encounters are limited and have shifted to the internet. You can take the cue and use this to your advantage by maximizing your online presence, but it can also work against you. Make sure to clean up your social media accounts and be professional on all fronts. Don’t let one ill-thought tweet sabotage your years of dedication to the game.
Remember: Limited opportunities to display in-person talent puts extra pressure on you to stand out on paper. Take your time to make sure your resume, recruiting profile, and digital media reflect your true potential as a teammate.
Let’s face it - money plays a significant factor in college decisions.
While finances can be stressful, there are options out there to help ensure that money doesn’t make your decision for you.
Consider applying for baseball scholarships. Although the ratio of players to available scholarships can be intimidating - about 34,500 college baseball players to 5,400 baseball scholarships - it’s worth looking into what each school you are interested in offers.
Full-ride scholarships are rare, and scholarships are usually divided based on equivalency between players. Know what is offered by each division level and take this factor into consideration in your final decision. Make sure you fulfill governing body registration requirements as needed.
Note that lower divisions might have more merit and financial scholarship money available - keep an open mind and balance the importance of playing a certain division with financial flexibility. If there are limited baseball scholarships or you don’t qualify for a baseball scholarship at the school you are interested in, look into financial aid and merit scholarships.
Know the eligibility requirements and timelines for each application, and personalize each application to each program. Make sure that your resume and digital portfolio reflect your best, well-rounded self.
Remember: Similar principles apply to scoring a scholarship as getting recruited to play for a college baseball team. Start early, be proactive, and stay organized.
Don’t let fear of failure keep you from realizing your true potential on a college baseball team. While the process is no doubt overwhelming and it might be tempting to decide that the odds just aren’t in your favor, the main goal is developing as both an individual and an athlete. Don’t let anything stand in the way of your game!
Wherever baseball takes you, No Errors is there on the sidelines. Trust No Errors with your next catchers bag purchase to wow your teammates in the dugout while you wow fans in the stands.