What College Coaches Say

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From a baseball coaches message board....

I recently sat down with two college coaches, and I thought it was interesting to hear their perspective on how they viewed the recruiting process. Here are my notes.

(1) Grades and conduct matter - Finding out that a baseball player can qualify for an academic scholarship is pure candy for the coaches. My experience is that Maryland baseball players are generally pretty good students, but coaches are dealing with scores of prospects from other areas with real difficulties. Coaching staffs are small and they don’t have the time and bandwidth for dealing with the behavior problems. It’s bad enough to deal with when after you’re on board, but it is a red flag if you’ve got problems before you get there.

(2) “No time for coaches” and their shortcuts. Think coaches have time to see what you’re up to during your high school season? Think again. They are too busy with their own seasons. Think a coach and his staff have bandwidth to digest all the talent in the area? Think again. Coaches rely on shortcuts to tell them whether somebody is good enough to be considered. There is no requirement to play for a state champion, a CM Wright, a Calvert Hall, a Good Counsel, or Atholton. Coaches know that a great deal of talent lies beyond the dominant programs. If you have done well in these big time environments and they have confidence in the coaches that they know, they use it as an indicator that you can succeed at the next level of competition and/or that you’ve been well coached. You’ve made it into the next hopper for consideration. Not a requirement and no guarantee that you’ll get picked up. Just a sign that the coach has to spend a little less time thinking about your resume.

(3) The next Billy Wagner - Anybody can pick up a local paper and see that great high school baseball players come in all shapes and sizes. From the coaches perspective at the next level, they want to see certain frames in certain positions. They all want speed (especially in the outfield), they want tough catchers, and they want their pitchers throwing 90+ and tall. Even if you see yourself as a short stop, the coach may see your tools and see you as an outfielder. You may be the next Billy Wagner or Pedro, but you’ve got to show him that your stuff stands out. In a world where every candidate looks the same on film or on paper, the player’s size stands out. Baseball is like football. If you are a great athlete but unrefined, more than a few coaches will think that they can teach you the right way. Know which bucket you fit in and plan your strategy accordingly.

(4) Be considerate to EVERYONE. For most coaches, not much separates the talent in a list of candidates, and there’s usually only 2-3 degrees of separation between the coach and the prospect. The coach will find someone that played with you in the past five years (in rec ball, for an isolated summer tournament, an all star team). Odds are that he’s not gonna find your best friend. You don’t have to be BFFs to everyone, but you do have to be a good teammate to everyone. Hearing that a candidate has a bad attitude has taken many a candidate out of consideration.