The good, the bad, and the ugly of finding a place to play college baseball
(stay tuned for PART II)
The realities of recruiters, ratings and reports in the college baseball selection process.
At any given time in a calendar year, there are approx. 500,000 families and high school students looking for the right fit for a post high school options and chasing scholarship dollars to defray the cost of escalating college tuition. It can be a time of family and player stress as well as a drain on the wallet and much time spent on the road!
Since 1990, Frozen Ropes has seen the college recruiting industry turn into a multimillion dollar business. There are more showcases, ratings, select teams, college recruiters and self-proclaimed instructors than ever before in the game.
How can a parent and player keep their sanity, family savings and maximize one’s chances of playing college baseball one day? Listed below are a few of the topics we present seasonally to parents and players across the country in our College Bound workshops that might be helpful.
COLLEGE COACHES DON’T TRUST, BELIEVE OR CARE ABOUT RATINGS AND SUBJECTIVE REPORTS MADE BY OTHERS.
Seeing is believing. College coaches want to see the player live and in person vs so many others telling them how great they are. Videos are an introduction but be careful blanketing the internet with skill videos that aren’t flattering. Remember, you have one chance to make a first impression. Why not wait until you look like a college level prospect before giving the coach a visual on how good you could be! Enough said.
Social media has made it cool to see your son’s name ranked as the best of the best by a private company. Good for the ego or bad in that it gives players a false sense of their skills relative to the hundreds of players one college coach is recruiting.
If you are going to spend time and money attending events that colleges MAY show up, be careful. Even the tournament circuit has gotten crazy. Players develop by playing competitive teams so attending tournaments just for that reason is ok! Added benefit is that schools will be watching but the problem is that WHAT schools be watching that are an academic and athletic fit for you.
A smart move is to attend events that are guaranteeing colleges will be there in both a teaching and evaluation mode; known in the industry now as Showcamps.
As you and your son start focusing in on 5-7 schools, (yes, 5-7, not 25 or whoever likes me I’ll go there!) attending a camp, or winter clinic on their campus is the best way for you to evaluate the staff, the campus and the current players on the team. FYI, college coaches become wary when they see your son attend every private event, showcase and are rated by every service in the industry. Good for the projected first round MLB draft pick hopeful, bad for the typical player that gets classified as an overexposed below average skilled prospect. More exposure is not the answer. Targeting the right schools at the right time is the magic formula to find the right school.
TALENT AND GRADES ALWAYS WIN
Most families would be better off spending more money on SAT prep and tutors than showcases and recruiting services. Good grades are money when it comes time to send over your transcripts to a coach that would love to have the school give you academic money to play baseball!
Coaches love smart players (don’t have to be a 4.0 or 1350 SAT) as it makes it easier to get you through admissions and opens more opportunities besides, athletic aid, to defray your college costs.
We all know what a good baseball player’s skill looks like. Run fast, throw hard, hit far, field well or pitch and catch above average. Get second opinions on your hitting and pitching skills and find a strength and fitness program that may improve your skills by next season.
More talent, better grades, more opportunities!
AIM THE RIFLE, DON’T BLAST THE SHOTGUN
Attending several showcases annually and being rated by others is the shotgun approach to the process. Who wants me?… NOT the way to do it!
Instead, do your research! I want to go to these 5-7 schools; do you want me? A little time spent researching schools and compiling a target list of schools has been made much easier with the birth of the internet. In one hour, you can take a campus virtual tour, compare your grades to others applying and being accepted to the school, review the player roster to see if the school even recruits players from your area and learn about the many major and class option you have if you attend the school.
But I don’t know what I want to study! That’s fine, just make sure your target schools have a broad selection of majors once you figure out what you may want to study.