Getting your cuts in college takes more than extra BP

One of the tenets of Boston Red Sox immortal Ted Williams’ hitting approach was “Get a good pitch to hit.” And you’ve likely heard coaches tell you to, “Wait for your pitch.” That’s great advice at the plate, but when you step up to the plate for your baseball recruiting, you can’t wait for your pitch. In fact, if you want to get recruited to play baseball in college, you’re the one that essentially needs to do the pitching. Here’s how:

Start Early

If you think you want to play baseball in college, you can start working toward that goal as early as your freshman year in high school. Think about where you might want to play and make a list of target schools that includes 5-10 schools where you think you’ll find a fit and five more that might be considered a reach. Then, do your research on those schools and their baseball programs. See how you match up physically and statistically.

In addition, remember that Division I baseball programs are equivalency sports, meaning they only have the equivalent of 11.7 scholarships to award (Division II can only award the equivalent of nine scholarships). That means full scholarships are rare and you or your family will likely have to fund some of your college expenses. Given that, make sure the amount you or your family can contribute to your college education factors into the schools you put on your lists. Then…

Honestly Assess Your Skills

Part of making your own recruiting pitch is to take an honest assessment of your baseball abilities and physical attributes to determine where you’ll fit in best. If you’re not sure, ask your coach about where you stand now, and where you might be in a year or two. High school phenoms are discovered off the beaten path all the time, but if you want to be recruited by a certain school, you’ll likely need the ability and the physical attributes that program looks for. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t fit at a particular school and, instead, focus your efforts on earning a spot on a team where you do fit.

Attend Camps and Clinics

Attending baseball camps and clinics can help you as a baseball recruit in two ways. First, they can help you better develop your skills or improve your technique, as a hitter, pitcher, or fielder. And secondly, baseball camps and clinics are great places to raise your recruiting profile. Coaches can see what you have to offer and you get the time to get to know the coaches and players who run the camp. And, if a camp or clinic is being held by a school that’s on your target list, you can also take the opportunity to check out the athletic facilities, tour the campus, and get a feel for the local community.

Make A Recruiting Video

Given the ratio of college baseball coaches to high school players, it’s important to have a recruiting video to send to coaches and on your recruiting profile. While your recruiting video shouldn’t be a career retrospective dating back to Little League, it should show coaches what you have to offer. Rather than highlights, focus your video on demonstrating your mechanics, speed, athleticism, power, and body language, at the plate, on the mound, and in the field. Remember to keep your video to five minutes or less, start it with your best clips, and aim to pique a coach’s interest so they’ll want to see more.

Be Proactive

As noted earlier, if you want to be recruited to play baseball in college, it’s up to you to make the pitch. Reach out to coaches on your list via email by sending a brief introductory letter that expresses why you want to attend that school and play ball for that coach, as well as your recruiting profile and your recruiting video. Then, follow up with a phone call or introduce yourself in person at a camp or clinic.

Think of being proactive in your baseball recruiting as networking. Focus on building relationships with head coaches and assistants. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your coach for a recommendation or a contact in his network. Consider all your opportunities, whether a school is on your list or not. On top of that, answer every coach’s inquiry you may receive and keep all your options open. Baseball recruiting can be unpredictable and the more opportunities you have available means you’ll have more chances to find the school, and baseball program, that’s right for you.

When it comes to baseball recruiting, it’s up to you to make your pitch. Start early, aim for where you fit best, attend camps, make a highlight video, and be proactive. Touch all those bases and your dream of playing baseball in college could come true.

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