Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Travel Ball Season Is Here

Now that freshman and JV ball has ended, many top underclassmen players have already started playing in many local tournaments last weekend in preparation of some huge Memorial Day Bonanzas that are happening from coast to coast. This is the time for all of you sophomores and juniors to really step it up and play hard and with passion. Many of you had practice the day after your JV or varsity season ended, others are probably having your first tournament this weekend. Memorial Day is early this year, so the season will essentially be a week longer this year and allow many of you the opportunity to take a week or two off to explore college camps and Perfect Game Showcases. Hopefully, many of you will have the opportunity to play in a Junior Olympic Tournament or the grandaddy of them all, the WWBA in East Cobb, GA.

But the main thing is to play, learn and work on your game. Coaches...by the time they are in high school, it's not so much about winning as it is developing and getting your players seen. Below is a timline we ran in one of our first posts for players that are finishing their sophomore and junior years.


May-June· We hope you enjoyed your high school baseball season. Whether or not you were on varsity or JV, we do hope you played hard and smart. If you thought you were good enough to be on varsity, don’t worry, many high school coaches favor their upperclassmen. If you are good, you will get your shot next year. Be thankful that you got to play everyday on JV.

· Summer travel ball is more important than ever…There are never too many games in travel ball. The more reps against the best, the better you will get.

June-August· Attend an Area Code Camp in your region or state – Log onto Area Codes web site…(Listed in the right green column).

· Scour the web sites to the right about the many showcases offered in your area. The summer after your sophomore year is when college scouts get serious. Start sending your profile sheets and letters with more frequency before every showcase and camp or tournament you attend and personalize the letters to each coach.

· If there is a Perfect Game or another high profile showcase in your area attend it. They will prove invaluable to your reputation as a player. If they don’t have a showcase, there are many more. Look to the right for the showcases in your area.

· If you get more letters back, respond to every one, no matter if they are not in your top 10. Leave all doors wide open.


· Register for the NCAA Clearinghouse. The link is to the right.

· Step up your work-outs from the previous years work-outs. You are starting to mature and you are able to take more on physically.

· Double check if you are NCAA eligible with your counselor.


May-June· Send out your high school schedule to all of your college contacts. Find out what local paper covers your team frequently and send a link to each scout/recruiter/coach so that they can follow you. If your high school web site is up to date on the daily box scores and news, send them that link as well.

· Go visit the schools of your choice when you have time. Many have "Junior Days" during the spring, usually on Sundays. GO TO THEM!! THEY ARE IMPORTANT!! These are all “unofficial visits” and the bill will be on you.

· Plan your summer schedule!!! This is when the rubber hits the road…Attend all the important showcases. Go to the WWBA in Atlanta. Work to get invited to the Area Code try-outs and a USA Baseball try-out as an example. Have a plan in place and work towards getting as many phone calls as possible on July 1…the day when you can be officially contacted.

Summer· June and July are the primary showcase and camp months. If you followed the timeline, you will have gotten invitations to the camps of the schools of your choice, and to the invitation-only showcases. Continue sending out your letters and tell them of your successful Junior year on varsity. If you received any local awards such as first team in league or metro honors, tell them that up front!

· This is by far the most important time of a player’s baseball life. For instance, many of the better players will have received offers by the middle of the summer.


· The NCAA allows phone contact after July 1 of your Junior year.


Anonymous said...

I want to stress that on July 1, if all goes well, many prospects will NOT start receiving their first phone calls from college coaches!

There are many reasons for this:
* First, at least in Texas where I live, super-studs are typically the only ones who get a call at that time -- and many times, they have been in contact with college coaches long before that. They are known entities, having attended Area Code tryouts and having started their sophomore and junior years (and maybe even their freshman year). Colleges know way before the July 1 date that they want those particular players.
* For the rest, select season is just half over, and colleges are still scouting them. The D1 school my son signed with, which will receive an NCAA regional bid this year, came to 8 of his games -- 2 in early June, 1 in early July, 2 in late July, and 3 in mid-August. For this school and many others that I am aware of, the scouting process was nowhere near finished by July 1.
* Schools are usually wanting to firm up their pitching first, so pitchers are typically the ones who get the early calls. Position players oftentimes have to be patient.

My son was recruited by 3 D1's and none called before mid-August. The one he ended up going with didn't call until early September and they told us that our son was the FIRST player at his position that they had recruited.

I remember the feelings of disappointment when July 1 came and went and no calls were forthcoming. I would hate to mislead other talented players and set them up for disappointment as well.

RT Staff said...

If the kids are good and there is some competition brewing with different schools, many players will get calls on July 1. I remember a few years back when our son was playing on a high profile travel team and was at a big national tourney and 12 of the 16 guys on that roster got calls during a late breakfast from college coaches...all almost at the same time. It was like it was planned. The truth was that the coaches had the schedules and knew when we played, and that morning was the only time to reach their potential recruit.

Yes, there were some that did not get calls. For them it was disapointing...but it was also an incentive to work harder and a few of them had great tournaments and got their calls a few weeks later.

Anonymous said...

I think the key phrase in your comment is "high profile travel team." It is definitely true that if you play for the Midland Redskins or Houston Heat or Norcal or one of the top East Cobb teams, you can probably expect a call on July 1. Members of those teams are the super-studs I mentioned in my first post. That said, there are many players on quality, non high-profile teams who may not get early July calls. Of the 6 players on my son's team who signed early with D1's, only one (a highly-coveted LHP) received calls on July 1. (Actually, he received calls several weeks earlier from Army, which is allowed to call before July 1.)

It is awesome if you get a call on July 1, but it is by no means disastrous if you don't.

RT Staff said...

That is very true. Thanks.