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Rebellion Recruiting – In-Season Recruiting Communication

With everyone’s season about to start, I wanted to share some information with all of our readers about how the college recruiting process works while you and the college coaches are both in-season. Last week I hopped on the Baseball Rebellion Podcast with JK and Eric to talk a little recruiting and share our knowledge on camps, showcases and recruiting communication. If you haven’t already, you can listen to last week’s podcast by clicking here.  To give a little background, out of college I was a high school coach at a top program in the Charlotte-area, and then following that, on East Carolina University’s Baseball staff for the past two years.

This article is designed to help anyone who plans on trying to play college baseball or softball and not just people who are currently being recruited. Whether you are 12 or 17, I believe that the information in this article will help you know and better understand how the recruiting process works during the season. As I have stated every time I talk about recruiting, whether it be in articles on the podcast, I CAN’T STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT YOU ARE REALISTIC WITH WHAT YOUR ABILITY LEVEL IS AND WHAT SCHOOLS FIT INTO YOUR LEVEL. You must self-evaluate yourself and have a clear, realistic understanding of where you are as a player. Here are the best ways to do so:

  • Look at other players your age who are being recruited and find out what schools are recruiting them and ask yourself how you stack up against those players
  • Get an outside (not your parents) opinion to compare you and other players to see where you currently stand. If your high school coach, travel team coach, or private instructor has coached recruited players in the past, ask them how your ability compares to players that have gone to play at the next level.  At Baseball Rebellion, we help show this to high school athletes by comparing HitTrax data of players who have gone to play at the next level
  • If you have relationships with college coaches ask them what they believe your strengths/weaknesses are. This is the best way to get your true evaluation as a player

COMMUNICATION

You’re practicing, lifting weights and playing games. The college coaches are at their team’s practices, their team’s lift’s and their team’s games. Both parties are extremely busy but coaches still have to recruit and if they want to see you/talk to you then you have to make time for this to happen.

Most of the recruiting during the season will be done through phone calls, emails, text messages and direct messages on social media. This is very important because the first impression a coach has of you might not be in person.

STAND OUT DURING COMMUNICATION

The coach you talk to might be making 15 other recruiting phone calls that day. If you are really interested in that school you must do something that helps separate you from the others calls he or she makes. Here are some tips to help you better phone communicate with college recruiters:

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

These college coaches spend countless hours talking to your coaches, watching you play and looking at your stats. If they are spending this time doing their “homework” on you, then you need to be doing your “homework” on that school. If you get the chance to talk to a coach during the season, make sure you know how THEIR season is going and don’t just talk about yours. Know their most recent games/results, talk about how you’ve been keeping up with their schedule and what players you noticed are playing well. I can guarantee this is a great way to show the coach how interested you are.  

SEND YOUR HIGH SCHOOL AND TRAVEL TEAM’S SCHEDULE

Most of the time coaches will have a spreadsheet of all of their recruit’s high school and travel team schedules. And a lot of man hours are put into scouring the internet trying to find that information. One of the best things you can do is send your schedule to school’s you are interested in. This will help save a lot of time for the coaches.

KNOW THE RULES

It is very important that you have an understanding of the recruiting rules so you don’t get yourself or the coaches a violation. Here is a chart highlighting some important information to know when it comes to rules and recruiting:

You can find great information on more recruiting rules at Recruiting Look.

SUMMER BALL/TRAVEL BALL

The most important “recruiting” season for both baseball and softball will be during your summer travel season. I spoke about it on the podcast last week that if you are a baseball player who is wanting to play in college you need to be on a team who goes down to Lake Point in Emerson, GA to play in the World Wood Bat Association. This is the MOST centralized recruiting area for college coaches in the county. Thousands of players go every summer and nearly every coach at every level will be there at some point to recruit players.

The most important thing you can do going into the summer season is making sure that school’s you have been communicating with have your travel schedule and be sure to send them updates any time there are changes. The last thing you want to have happen is for a coach to show up at a field/tournament that you’re not playing in anymore expecting to watch you play. Find out what college connections your travel ball coach has and if there are any you would be interested in. Sometimes it could be best for you to be proactive and reach out to schools that you have a REALISTIC chance of playing at.

The last thing I want to add is that if you find yourself panicking because you are not being recruited, know that there is a place out there for everyone to play. There are so many levels of four-year schools, junior colleges, and NAIA schools that there more than likely a place out there for you. If you find yourself in this situation, reach out to Junior Colleges in your area or in your state and see if there are still looking for players. There are numerous situations of student-athletes signing with a junior college summer after their senior year.

I really hope you all found this article informative. I used my knowledge gained while working on coaching staffs in high school, college and travel ball to help get this information to you in hopefully a very understandable way!

Found this article informative?  Check out Tyler’s last recruiting article here!

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Baseball Rebellion Podcast – Episode 18, College Recruitment

This week JK will discuss how learning to swing up can drastically change your chances for success.  Dave will dive into how position players can greatly benefit from quarterback like practice.  New comers, Eric Tyler and Tyler Zupcic weigh in on the college recruitment process.  Eric and Tyler both have spent extensive time in college baseball and have great insight if your son or daughter is thinking about the next level.  Thanks for listening!

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Rebellion Recruiting – Player Development

Last week I provided a “Thursday Thoughts” video that talked about one of the most important factors for high school athletes who are going through the college recruiting process, development. High School recruits need to make sure that they find out what development plan a college’s coaching staff has for them specifically to grow and raise their ceiling. For those of you that missed the video here it is:

Like I explained in the video, I have seen countless players going through the process overlook what, in my opinion, needs to be one of the most important deciding factors in picking a school/program. Since that video was posted I have been asked several questions as to what exactly they need to be asking and looking for when it comes to finding out what that school’s development plan actually is and I want to use this article to help clear up any questions you may have. As I stated in the video, I am talking more to the players whose dream is to play on at the next level after college, but the information is also very beneficial to the player who just simply wants to have a great playing experience in college and get better while doing it.

Here are three main development criteria that I believe should be looked at when it comes to how well a school is at developing their athletes that play for them:

  1. Strength and Conditioning. One of the most important factors in development is getting into the weight room, getting stronger, putting on good mass and becoming more flexible. In my time in college baseball, rarely did I ever see a player come in and be put on a weight-loss program. Most high school athletes who are going to college for the first time aren’t knowledgeable on the most effective ways to gain weight/muscle by lifting weights.

When visiting a school make sure that you are shown the weight room and if possible, meet and talk with the strength and conditioning coach for that specific sport. Find out what they are going to do for you specifically to help get you bigger, faster and stronger. Have the coach and strength coach talk you through what the plan will be from the very first day you arrive on campus and moving forward. A really good strength coach will have the workouts/plans already printed out to walk you through their plan for you.

 

This part is so crucial but I often feel so overlooked. At the next level, scouts and teams are looking at players who throw the ball harder (the first things scouts do when seeing a pitcher for the first time is throw up that stalker radar gun), hit the ball harder/farther, and run faster. It’s nearly impossible to do any of those things without first getting in the weight room and getting stronger and faster.

 

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  1. Tracking Progress. Another important thing you want to see is what plan that coaching staff has in order to track your progress throughout your career. There is so much technology available nowadays to not at least use something in order to track data/progress. If a coach is telling you that they are going to do whatever they can to develop you as a player, then they need to have a way to show you your progress.

 

There are many different ways this can be accomplished when I was a coaching high school baseball we set up video cameras and filmed pitchers and hitters in practices and games. We would then have “classroom” sessions with the different positions and go over individuals film in private and in group settings. This sounds very simple, and it was, especially for a high school program with a budget that doesn’t compete with any college-level program. This was our way of tracking development and finding out things that each player needed to work on and get better at, and it is one of the reasons it will always be a successful program.

 

For schools and programs with a bigger budget, there are many technological advances in recent years that can far and away help with tracking progress and player development. With machines such as HitTrax, swing sensors like Blast Motion and Rapsodo for tracking numbers and video analysis systems such as Right View Pro and BATS, there is no excuse for bigger programs to not be able to use something from the list above to help with tracking the development of their players. When communicating with schools make sure you ask them what they use for player development, and if you hear a coach tell you that they don’t need any of that stuff to tell what you need to do to get better, then I suggest you kindly cross that school off your list.

 

There are many colleges out there who are finally putting an effort into player development and investing in these technological advances to help track progress and you will soon see that these schools will distance themselves from the rest of the pack. I had a reply to my video from one of my favorite twitter accounts to follow, JT Maguire, who is the Recruiting Coordinator at Lander University. Here is what he said:

I absolutely love this, just like getting the strength coach to show you how they will track your progress, get the coaching staff to show how they plan on tracking your playing development progress.

One other extremely important thing to remember is if you have a chance to visit the school, make sure you talk to the players on the team about what kind of development is being done. Often times the recruiting visit is “fluffed” a bit to give off the best possible appearance and to give the kid a great experience, but talking to the players who are currently on the team will give you a complete, real answer on what is actually being done with player development.

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  1. Next Level Success. Like I said in the video, shouldn’t the most important thing as a coaching staff is getting your players ready to succeed at the next level if that is what their dream is? I understand that some players have “maxed out” by the time they get to college and that their room for development is small but I believe if programs spent more time on developing their players by using all means possible to do so and less time focusing on bunt defenses and first and third plays then maybe more of their players would have more successful college and pro careers. Find out what schools are really devoting their time and effort to finding the most efficient, effective and informative ways to help their players succeed at college and onto the next level. The best way to do this is to look at what schools have a lot of players not only at the next level but succeeding at that level as well.

Here is a great article from the NCAA on the number of players from each school on 2017 postseason rosters. (Shout out Jim Penders, Head Coach at UConn, who is one of the best people in college baseball and has FIVE players on postseason rosters)

http://www.ncaa.com/news/baseball/article/2017-10-01/mlb-playoffs-2017-breaking-down-postseason-rosters-former-ncaa

This can also be applied to junior colleges who do a really good job of getting “fringe” players out of high school and turning them into high-level college prospects after developing at the junior college level.

Lately, I have seen more and more programs adding a “director of player development” position to their staff and I think this is awesome. If they use this position to find better ways for what their title is, “player development”, then I am very excited to see what the future of this position can become at the college level.

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I hope this article clears up the questions you had about what exactly my video was talking about. I have been a part of many different levels of the game of baseball and have learned that my absolute passion is getting players better. The information that I wrote about in this article comes from first-hand experience and I want all players and parents reading this article to use the information provided and help make their recruiting process and experience very enjoyable!