High School Baseball Road Map
Helpful advice to keep you on track through the recruiting process.
Freshman Year — Fall Quarter
About this season
Welcome to high school!
This is going to be an exciting year and a new experience for you. Have fun and good luck!
With your first season of high school baseball right around the corner, start preparing now.
Introduce yourself to the varsity head coach at your high school, ask him when tryouts will be held and what you can do between now and then to prepare. Some high school programs have a fall season or workouts through the fall and winter so ask your coaches about those.
For recruiting, college coaches at the highest level begin identifying recruits as early as freshman year.
That means you should begin identifying possible colleges to attend during your freshman year as well. Begin checking out the rosters on the college athletic websites that interest you and see how you match up. Research at least one school each week at every division level.
When you find colleges you are interested in and think might be a match for you athletically and academically, feel free to fill out their athletic questionnaire. You should also start making unofficial visits to college campuses your freshman year, so start with these colleges and try to visit at least one college per month. Make sure to catch a baseball practice or game when the team is in season.
Attend at least 2-3 college baseball camps a year.
Start researching what winter camps you want to attend and register early. Now is the time to start thinking about which baseball team you want to play for during the upcoming summer. Find out when tryouts are scheduled and make sure you tryout for a few teams. This fall, you should be playing for a fall baseball team to continue to increase your skills and possible exposure to college coaches.
Finally,set a GPA goal and start working on earning good grades early in your high school career since academics determine what colleges will accept you. Also, there are only 11.7 scholarships per team at the Division I level (9 at Division II, 12 at NAIA, and 24 at JUCO), so having strong grades will increase your chances of earning an academic scholarship. Make sure to meet with your guidance counselors at the beginning of each year so they know you are planning to play baseball in college.
They can help ensure your classes meet the NCAA Eligibility Center core courses requirements. A great resource to help with understanding more about these requirements is the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete.
Freshman Year — Winter Quarter
About this season
Continue researching colleges, filling out their questionnaires, and sending coaches an introduction email.
Be sure to research colleges at all division levels since some DIII, NAIA and junior colleges can compete with DI programs. Don't count anyone out yet!
Keep in mind, Division I and Division II colleges cannot answer emails personally until September 1st of your junior year.
They can send you general information about their university, camp brochures, and questionnaires. (Division III, NAIA, and junior colleges can email and call you anytime.) It is still important to introduce yourself and keep them updated on your progress at least once every other month.
Before your high school season, attend a college baseball camp that gives high school athletes the opportunity to work directly with college coaches and develop as a player. Prior to attending the camp, be sure to send an email to the coaches that will be in attendance. This will put you on their radar and give you a better chance of being evaluated.
As well as attending a few camps, it is important to continue lifting weights and working on conditioning.
Be sure to touch base with your high school baseball coaches for their off-season program. Research the rosters at the schools you are interested in, look at the height and weight of the players at your position, and strive to be similar in body size to the players. Continue hitting in the off-season to work on fundamentals and improvement. For players in northern states, find a nearby indoor facility to hit and throw at and make this your second home.
Begin preparing your arm for the upcoming season; high school baseball will be much more demanding than any other league or season you have played in. As a baseball player, your arm is one of your biggest assets; formulate a throwing program and stretching routine now so when spring rolls around, you will be ready to go and won’t have to worry about soreness or the risk of injury.
Winter is a quiet period for baseball which means Division I college coaches may not watch you play or visit your high school during this time. Therefore, some showcases may not be well attended by high level programs. To learn more about specific dates and details of the quiet period, read through the NCAA Division I Baseball Recruiting Calendar.
Even though this is a quiet period, it is a busy season for taking unofficial visits.
Since you're allowed an unlimited number of unofficial visits to colleges, start thinking about which college campuses you want to visit this spring and summer. Try to attend a game in the spring and evaluate the coaches while you're there. Remember, you should be evaluating them as much as they are evaluating you!
Track your progress in school and make sure you are reaching your GPA goal.
If you are struggling with any classes, talk to your teachers or find a tutor right away; don't wait until it's too late.
Freshman Year — Spring Quarter
About this season
Good luck with your freshman season!
Hopefully, you are working with your coaches to develop and improve as a player. The most selective college programs across the country recruit three and four time varsity starters and student-athletes who play for the best travel teams in the country because these are the most experienced players. Your freshman high school and summer seasons are as important as any to begin gaining this experience. Start proving yourself early and work towards playing on varsity next year, if you aren't already.
Position players, do you know your 60 yard dash time? The 60 yard dash is the single most important measurement coaches will use to evaluate your speed. If you have not had your 60 yard dash timed, have your high school coach time you and post your time to your Recruiting profile.
Pitchers, do you know your top fastball velocity and your consistent fastball velocity?
Your fastball velocity is the most important measurement college coaches will use to evaluate your arm strength. You can also add in your changeup and breaking ball velocities on your profile. Be sure these are always up to date throughout high school.
College baseball coaches at all levels are busy in their season so it will be tough for them to come out and evaluate you.
Keep updating them on your schedule, anyway; you never know if they may be in the area. Coaches do need to evaluate you in person, but this mostly takes place over the summer.
For any new programs you research, fill out a questionnaire, send an introduction email, and then send them another email a couple weeks later with your schedule update. Don't try to cram everything into one email; the more these college coaches see your name the better.
Just because coaches may not see you play live, doesn't mean you shouldn't give 100% on the field during every practice and game. The better you play, the more outstanding stats you can report to college coaches. Make sure you track your own stats rather than relying on your coaches to do it for you.
Before the summer, identify 2-3 camps and 1-2 showcases to attend after your high school season is finished. Also, talk to your high school coaches about how you played this season and ask out areas that you can improve to help your coach win more games. Be sure to work on this before next season.
Balancing academics and your season may be tougher your freshman year.
Be sure that your grades are always coming first. You don't want to dig a hole that will be tough to get out of in the future with your GPA. Listen to the Goal Setting 101 and Time Management Recruiting Classes to help with this.
Freshman Year — Summer Quarter
About this season
Congrats on making it through your first high school year!
Now that its summer, you can use your time off from school to focus on improving as a player. The only way to improve in baseball is to play games against good competition. So, make sure you find a good travel team to play with during your off-season.
Take advantage of the warm weather while it is still around; be sure to hit, throw, and train on a regular basis. With a season of high school baseball under your belt, your coaches will want to see improvement as you move forward in your career.
You can also use your time off to do more for recruitment.
College visits are one of the most important parts of the recruiting process.
Many of these can be done over the summer when you are traveling for your summer team and tournaments.
Remember, you can make as many unofficial visits as you like. Try to average visiting at least one new college each month. You may miss some months, but maybe you can make up for that in a later time (especially over the summer). If you do accomplish this goal then that would be about 48 college visits through high school! Before you visit a college or go to one for a summer tournament, be sure to introduce yourself so they know you are interested in their college.
Just because school is out doesn't mean you fall behind on your studies.
Do some summer reading and work hard in your summer class if you took one. Set new goals for next year including a new GPA goal as well as goals for baseball. Use your free time to get involved with your community and volunteer when you can.
Sophomore Year — Fall Quarter
About this season
One year down, three to go!
As each year passes, you will become more and more busy, so be prepared.
Next thing you know, you will be a senior! Now that you have one year under your belt, you can better identify what you did well and what you need to change. Re-evaluate your recruiting, athletic, and academic goals for this year and set new ones, such as being a leader! Start working on these new goals while playing for your club team this season.
From all of the colleges you have researched over the past year, start prioritizing them by developing a 10-10-10 list: ten programs that might be slightly out of your reach academically or athletically, ten programs that are a good fit, and ten that are back-ups. Be sure to introduce yourself to one new college each week, and then build relationships by following up with those coaches every couple of months. You can reference the new information you have included on your Recruiting Profile including academic achievements, a winning season or new upcoming schedules. Try to use this fall season to visit colleges, watch a baseball game or practice and evaluate the competition. Division I programs have scrimmages and all other divisions play a fall season.
Are you hitting enough?
Make sure you hit on a regular basis to improve your skills at the plate. The best players in the game work on their swing all the time. Working on your swing can range from taking batting practice on a field, hitting in a batting cage, or even taking dry swings in your backyard.
Make sure you set up an appointment with your guidance counselor early in the year to ensure that you're on pace to graduate and that your classes match the NCAA Eligibility Center core courses list. Your sophomore year is when you should prepare for your ACT and SAT tests that you will take next year. Look into PLAN or PSAT to help you practice for taking the tests.
Sophomore Year — Winter Quarter
About this season
Winter seasons are usually slower due to holidays and college coaches getting ready for the spring season, but don't take this time off.
Be sure to continue training, hitting the batting cages, and maintaining a good throwing program. Your goal is to make the varsity team this year! Stay on top of your academics and try to get ahead before your upcoming spring season. If you are struggling in any class, remember to talk to your teachers early or find a tutor.
This quarter might be slow for recruiting, but keep in mind that next quarter college coaches will be identifying top recruits from your class!
Keep building strong relationships with coaches now to increase your chances of getting on some coaches lists.
Just remember, DI and DII coaches can't personally contact you until your junior year, but they can talk to your coaches anytime. DIII and NAIA coaches can contact you any time, in any way.
Just like last year, you should find a college exposure camp that gives high school athletes the opportunity to work directly with college coaches.
During this slow season, use your time to do more for recruiting.
Compile a list of sample questions to ask college coaches for when you start to call them. Practice asking these to your parents and having them ask questions as a coach, too. This role playing will help so you're prepared when you communicate with college coaches in the future.
Sophomore Year — Spring Quarter
About this season
Your goal for this season is to make the varsity team.
Playing at the highest possible level will give you a better chance of being identified as a potential recruit. If this doesn't happen, it's okay. There is still time in the process to be identified.
Exciting news this quarter:
Most Division I programs are identifying (and some are even offering scholarships to) their list of potential recruits from your class! DI programs cannot call you directly at this time, but they can call references anytime. Many times, that communication is relayed to you and those college coaches often want their recruits to call and visit them at this time. If this isn't happening for you, there is still time to be recruited by college coaches. Keep working hard this spring and summer. This upcoming September will be when you can personally email back and forth with college coaches to see where you stand with their recruiting.
If a college coach does offer you an athletic scholarship, be sure to tell the coach you are excited and thankful to receive the offer.
If you are 100% sure that is the right college for you to attend, then feel free to accept it. We would recommend having visited multiple college campuses and having talked with multiple college coaches before committing to one school. If you are not ready to make the decision it is okay to tell the coach thank you and that you need to talk it over with your parents. Make sure to ask the coach when they need an answer by so you know when to get back to them.
Keep in mind that you cannot sign a National Letter of Intent until November in your senior year.
While you're focusing on your season, start thinking about which college camps and showcases you want to attend during the next few quarters. Research showcases and find at least one that you'd like to attend this year. Be sure to plan some college visits for the summer and try to catch a baseball practice or two to evaluate the coaches.
As your season comes to an end, talk with your coaches to review your progress and ask them to help you set some goals for the summer.
This is especially important so you know what their expectations are and what you need to do in order to get more playing time or move to the varsity team next year.
Finish your school year strong and review your academic goals.
Did you reach your ideal GPA? If not, make sure you continue your studies over the summer and set realistic goals for yourself next year. Research the academic requirements at the schools you are interested in and strive to meet these numbers. Also, think about what clubs or school activities you want to get involved with next year.
Sophomore Year — Summer Quarter
About this season
This is an important summer for high level colleges to be evaluating the recruits they have identified as a freshman or sophomore.
Make sure you are playing for the best travel team for exposure, but be sure you are receiving playing time as well. If you know of college coaches coming to particular tournaments you will participate in over the summer, be sure to introduce yourself a few weeks beforehand. This same advice is important if you are playing a tournament at a particular college or for showcases. Always be sure to follow up with coaches after tournaments, camps and showcases to see if they saw you play and to tell them how you did.
Get proactive and continue calling and emailing college coaches.
Let them know you recently updated your profile and ask them to go check it out! Keep sending introduction emails to new coaches you have not been in contact with yet. Visit more college campuses this year since you can make as many unofficial visits as you like. If you travel for any tournaments or showcases, research colleges that may be nearby and use your free time to check out those schools.
Just remember NCAA contact rules when you're reaching out to college coaches. DI and DII can personally contact recruits starting in September of your junior year. DIII, NAIA and Junior Colleges can contact you anytime!
If you have some free time, try to volunteer in your community.
College coaches like players who are involved with their schools and their community. We recommend taking the SAT and ACT in the fall semester of your junior year. Both tests are different, so you won't know which test you'll do better on unless you take both. Also, taking them early in your junior year allows you time to study before your high school season begins. Don't forget, you can always re-take the tests if you're not happy with your scores.
You are halfway done with your high school career!
Review your progress over the last two years and set goals for yourself for the next two years. Remember, Goal Setting 101 is a great Recruiting Class to help with this part of the process. You should be happy with the improvements you’ve made so far, but remember, there is always room to get better. Be honest with yourself and address your weaknesses with hard work and preparation. If you aren’t the fastest player, try to incorporate some speed and agility work into your workout routine. If you aren’t the strongest, make sure you carve time out of your schedule to hit the weight room. Baseball players work night and day on their game, do you?
Junior Year — Fall Quarter
About this season
Big news this quarter:
High level players may verbally commit to colleges at this point. Keep in mind that you cannot sign a National Letter of Intent until next November of your senior year. (Check out their website to learn more about the NLI.) Also, beginning September 1, DI and DII coaches can send you personalized letters and emails.
This should make communicating with college coaches much easier .
Start narrowing your colleges of interest by developing a 5-5-5 list: five programs that either you are not sure if you can get in to academically or that you may not be able to play for athletically, five programs that are a good fit, and five that are back-ups.
You may begin to do this by asking more serious questions if there is initial interest and by setting up personalized unofficial visits with these colleges.
Even though Division III, NAIA, and junior college programs can email you anytime, beginning this year they start to identify student-athletes in your class. Most don't seriously start recruiting your class until next year, but start building relationships with these programs now if you haven't already.
At this time, you may be asking, "how do college coaches show interest?" Below are ways a coach may show interest in a recruit, beginning with the highest interest level.
- -Colleges have offered you an athletic scholarship
- -Colleges have offered you a spot on their team, detailing your amount of playing time
- -Colleges have told you that you are high on their list, but at this time they have offers out to their top recruits. If one falls through, they may offer you a spot
- -Colleges have offered you an official visit (When you become a senior)
- -You have visited and met personally with the coaching staff (possibly multiple times)
- -Colleges have told you where you stand on their recruiting list
- -Colleges have been communicating with you by phone consistently (starting summer of your junior year, DI and DII coaches can begin calling you personally)
- -Colleges have been communicating with you by personalized emails (back and forth, consistently)
- -Colleges have called your references to learn more about you
Now is the time to prepare for the upcoming season and school year. Set goals for yourself athletically and academically. What skills do you want to improve next season? What is your goal GPA? Consider taking more challenging courses like honors or AP classes if you can.
At the beginning of the academic year, register for both the ACT and SAT tests if you haven't already and start studying.
But, don't stress! If you're unhappy with your results, you only have to report your best scores.
Taking these tests early this quarter or next quarter allows a lot of time to retake them in the future. Also, research the ACT/SAT requirements at the schools you are interested in and strive to be beat the required score. Remember, it is important to track your NCAA Eligibility Center core courses list and make sure you are on pace to graduate, so set up an appointment with your guidance counselor to discuss your schooling.
Junior Year — Winter Quarter
About this season
If you have been communicating with Division I coaches, it may be important to start asking serious questions like, "What, Where and When." For example:
- What else do you need from me to make a final evaluation?
- Where do I stand on your list of recruits for my position?
- When do you usually make offers to student-athletes in my recruiting class?
These questions are great on visits so be prepared if a coach asks you to visit at this time.
Keep in mind, if you ask serious questions, expect serious questions back about what offers you have on the table, what other colleges you are visiting, and who you have been communicating with personally on a regular basis. Many times on an unofficial visit to the college campus and an offer could be extended. This is a great way to verbally commit early!
As for DIII and NAIA schools, they may ask for you to stay in touch and keep them updated on your progress.
Since these programs tend to do most of their recruiting during your senior year, this is a great sign! Keep sending coaches your season schedules and academics, but don't be afraid to still set up visits to their campuses. You don't want to try to cram all this in during your senior year.
Keep training during the off-season, but most importantly, make sure to attend college camps where the coaches have written you personal emails and have shown serious interest in having you attend their college.
Academics should still be your number one priority.
If you are not where you want to be, make an adjustment since graduation is only a year away. Grades are becoming more and more a part of recruiting since colleges need to ensure that you meet their school's academic requirements. College coaches want well rounded athletes that perform in the classroom as much as they do on the diamond.
Re-read the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete. Now that you have taken your SAT and ACT, be sure to see if you are on your way to being an NCAA qualifier. The NAIA also has requirements so be sure to check out their NAIA Eligibility Center website to learn more. If you are a qualifier or if you have more questions about this be sure to reach out to our team of Recruiting Coaches.
Junior Year — Spring Quarter
About this season
This season, focus on being a leader and a team player so you have the chance to be a captain next year on your high school team.
Be vocal and encouraging while working to improve your skills and be the best at your position.
Be sure to ask your high school coaches if any college coaches have inquired about you (and follow up with those coaches as soon as possible). We recommend having communication back and forth with college coaches through email before picking up the phone. Then, you can ask college coaches directly, "When is a good time to give you a call to talk to you more about your program?" or "When is a good time to call you to set up a time to visit?"
Email is a good way to begin reaching out to colleges you are interested in. Again, for information on introduction emails, check out your Recruiting Management System. After you have sent your introduction emails, it is smart to have a timeline for following up with each coach. Below is a guideline you can use:
- 1st e-mail
- 2nd e-mail - 2 weeks later (unless the coach responds - if coach responds make sure to respond promptly)
- Phone call to coaching staff - 2 weeks later (if no response, leave a voicemail)
- Follow up the voicemail with e-mail the same day as the voicemail (tell the coach on the voicemail that you will follow up by e-mail)
- Follow up with coaches each month by phone and e-mail - once per month
You have to remember that many times it takes persistence with these coaches in order for them to get back to you.
If after contacting the staff five times in three different ways (questionnaire, email, and phone calls) and you do not hear anything back, we recommend that you just follow up with them once per month (step 5) if you are really interested. Sometimes coaches are very busy so do not be discouraged. Other times coaches just may not be interested. Either way, what you are after is a “yes” or “no” in terms of interest, and if you are really interested you should be determined to follow up as much as possible.
Start identifying 2-3 college camps to attend during the summer and research showcases to attend. Also, keep visiting college campuses and attend a baseball game to evaluate and talk with the coaches.
Continue working hard in your studies through the end of school.
Review the grade requirements at the colleges you are interested in and put a plan in place to make sure you finish high school with the grades you need to get into your schools of choice. Ask your high school guidance counselor to send your final transcript from the last three years and ACT/SAT scores to the NCAA Eligibility Center (they need this information in order for you to start taking official visits to colleges during your senior year). Finally, if you're looking into top academic programs, you may need to take the SAT Subject Tests in addition to your SAT and ACT. For more information go to Collegeboard.com.
Junior Year — Summer Quarter
About this season
You should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center for many reasons, but one reason is you have to be registered in order to make official visits when your senior year begins.
Division II college coaches are allowed to start calling you on June 15. Division I coaches can start calling on July 1. After your junior year is complete, Division III coaches can start meeting you off-campus.
Just because coaches can start calling you, doesn't mean you should wait for the phone to ring! Be proactive and start calling coaches who have expressed interest or have come to see you play live. Don't be shy; make sure you are asking questions! If you have not heard from Division I coaches, make sure you are reaching out to lower level programs more frequently.
If you are talking closely with an NAIA coach, make sure to register with the NAIA Eligibility Center and possibly try out for the team. Tryouts at the NAIA level can take place anytime. Also, make sure you tryout for a fall baseball team as they are invaluable to your baseball career.
You should also think about filming your (first or second) skills video to post to your Recruiting Profile if you haven't done so already.
If you plan to re-take the ACT or SAT tests next year, keep studying so you can improve your score.
Don't forget, you only have to report your best score, so it's worth a shot to try for a better score, even if you end up doing worse. Review your current GPA and plan to make adjustments next year if it's not as high as you'd like. Be sure to look into the academic requirements for the colleges you are interested in attending so that you can meet and exceed their minimums. Begin to think about what schools you want to apply to and check the application deadlines at these schools.
Senior Year — Fall Quarter
About this season
After starting your first day of classes senior year, you are allowed to make official visits to colleges.
Narrow your list of potential colleges by developing a 3-3-3 list: three programs that either you are not sure if you can get in to academically or that you may not be able to play for athletically, three that are a good fit, and three that are back-ups. This will give you a more narrowed list of colleges to choose from when deciding which colleges to visit.
Some colleges at the DI level may be finished recruiting for the senior class at this time while others may be just getting started.
When communicating with high level programs it is best to first ask if they are still recruiting for your position versus assuming they are still looking around.
As you're getting ready to accept an offer, think about targeting additional programs outside of your 3-3-3 list that compete against your top colleges athletically and academically to create leverage for financial aid.
Have you considered possibly attending a junior college? Here are a few reasons why you may begin thinking about this:
- -To gain experience. Many college coaches want recruits whom have had success in college already or have proven themselves against good competition.
- -To polish your skills. Many student-athletes need help developing and being taught the proper techniques to perform at a high level.
- -To mature as a student and athlete. Sometimes students need to start over academically. Others may need to mature physically by becoming bigger, faster, or stronger. Lastly, many student-athletes need to mature by learning to prioritize their academics, athletics, and social life.
- -It is cost effective. Most junior colleges are less expensive to attend versus four-year colleges.
Academically, you should re-take the ACT or SAT since a good test score is a crucial part of getting into your school of choice.
Whether you scored better on the ACT or SAT, only re-take that test and try for a better score. Meet with your guidance counselor to ensure your upcoming classes match the NCAA Eligibility Center core courses. Also, start putting together your college applications and writing your essays. Ask your favorite teachers to write letters of recommendation for you, and talk to college coaches about the application process at their school.
Look into application deadlines including applying early and early decision.
Senior Year — Winter Quarter
About this season
November and December are usually slower months;
However, the Early Signing Period usually takes place during the second week of November and during this time a student-athlete can sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI). The NLI is a program that most DI and DII programs use in order to secure the verbal commitment between the student-athlete and the institution for one academic school year. You can learn more about the NLI at this website: www.national-letter.org.
You can also sign an NLI in the spring as the Regular Signing Period begins in April.
If you did not sign in the Early Signing Period, there is no need to worry.
Most student-athletes in baseball do not sign in the Early Signing Period. Most baseball recruits commit in April, May, and June of next year so there is still time in the recruiting process. And remember, January 15 is the first day you can sign a letter of intent with a Junior College.
Use this off season to train and develop your skills before your first day of practice.
Be ready in case you're not handed a full ride.
Start your financial planning early by registering for the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You can submit your FAFSA beginning January 1st or later, but remember that financial aid money is first come, first serve, so submit your financial aid application as soon as possible.
Senior Year — Spring Quarter
About this season
Did you make captain?
If not, that's ok. Continue being a team player and a leader, even without the title. Finish your senior season strong and have fun!
Beginning in the second week of April the Regular Signing Period begins. Make sure to ask your high school coaches which college coaches have inquired about you and follow up with those coaches as soon as possible. Start looking ahead and plan on attending any final college camps or showcases this summer.
Send college coaches your season schedule so they can watch you play if you have not made a commitment yet.
Be sure to update your Recruiting Profilewith your final statistics, grades and possibly a final video demonstrating your best skills.
If you decide to walk-on at a university, prepare yourself for the best walk-on situation. If you have questions about this, follow up with our team of Recruiting Coaches so you can ask any questions.
Remember that your grades matter through the last day of school, so keep working hard even if you already have several offers.
Check with the NCAA and make sure you are a qualifier and have met all the eligibility requirements.
Senior Year — Summer Quarter
About this season
Hopefully, congratulations are in order, and you were recruited to play baseball in college.
Keep playing for a travel team this summer to continue developing your skills and stay ahead of the competition your freshman year.
Contact your college coach for a summer workout schedule. Showing up to school in shape will only help make the transition smoother and it will also show your college coach that you are serious about being a member of his team and winning championships. Being a college freshman, your playing time will be based on how prepared you are to play at the college level. If you put the time in this summer to hit, throw, and work out, coaches will take note.
Now that high school is over, have your guidance counselor send a final transcript and proof of graduation to the NCAA and NAIA Eligibility Centers.