Wednesday, January 9, 2008
There are so many showcase services, letters from college coaches about their camps, and player rankings from a multitude of services, it's hard to put it all into perspective. What does all of this contact from these people mean? It means your son is in a bunch of datatbases. That's not such a bad thing...but beware, some of the services, to paraphrase former football coach Dennis Green.."They aren't who they say they are".
We get dozens of e-mails from services claiming to get you noticed by managing the paper flow to the coaches. Today, we received one that claims is a web based management tool that helps players manage and upload their information, videos, news clippings etc for $19.95 to send to coaches. Why can't a player do that himself? Why does he need a web based management tool to store that info?
We got e-mail blasted from another "showcase" organization three times a week to reserve our players chance to be seen by a bunch of coaches of colleges that we hardly heard of. Most were D-III and NAIA schools, yet they made it sound like an elite camp and it wasn't...Not that a showcase for players interested in attending a small college isn't a good idea...it is a great idea...it just wasn't being marketed as such.
And of course, we have all received that letter that stated that our son was a Pre-Season All-American to something...And for $375, he'll get a t-shirt to prove it. And many families spend that money so they can have something to talk about at the water cooler that next Monday morning.
When it comes to legitimacy, it's our opinion to stick with the brand names and the basics...
Do you want bang for your buck? Attend a Perfect Game showcase. They are the grand-daddy of showcases nationwide and also run the Statewide and regional BCS and WWBA national tournaments...Team One/Baseball Factory has a few good showcases in many parts of the country as well. However, there are privately run showcases by established organizations like Boys of Baseball, Impact Baseball Showcases in the mid-south, Best In Virginia, Blue Chip Prospects in the Northeast and Norcal's Bay Area World Series in Northern California that are excellent events for scouts to attend. There will be many others that claim to be The One Showcase You Must Attend and they may be...but, just be careful and do your homework.
Do you want a bigger bang to compliment the above? Have your son try-out for a major travel team that goes to all of the aforementioned top showcase tournaments and has contacts with college coaches...However, having college contacts are only useful if the coach on the other end of the phone respects the messengers opinion. As, we stated in yesterday's post...ASK FOR REFERENCES!
Is your son the best on his high school team, but money is tight? Have your son's high school coach nominate him for your states North/South or East/West games run by the state high school association...or have him nominate him for the Area Code games in your area. In many states, these are free and many local and regional scouts attend these events. Since it's the best high school players in the state or area, it's a good benchmark for the recruiters and scouts to assess talent. However, if you can get a sponsorship or scholarship, (many top travel teams have scholarship options) we stress the importance of having your son play the entire summer in a competitive environment on a travel team to compliment the free showcases. If a scout shows interest, he'll want to see him play later in the summer or fall.
Do you want a targeted approach? If your son has the tools, enroll him into his targeted colleges high school prospect camps. These are usually week long or weekend events. The week long events are more expensive, but it will give your son the closest thing to a college environment. These events require the player to stay overnight in dorms and they are there the same time as the schools other sports camps...boys and girls. So the athletes all eat and have twilight activities together throughout the week. They are also very intense. Many overnight camps have wake-up calls at 7:00...are on the field by 8:30AM and don't usually end until 8-8:30PM. About 20% of a colleges signed athletes are found at these camps.
Bottom line, if your son has attended any high profile event, he will be spammed by dozens of so-called "experts". If you doubt any of these letters, ask your travel coach or private instructor what they think. If you're still unsure, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll do the research and we will give you our best assessment to determine whether it's legit or not.