Thursday, July 17, 2008
Is it Time To Verbal?
It's July and the summer baseball season is half over or half started, however you like to look at it. If you are an incoming senior, should you verbal now? There are several answers that relate to various scenarios.
You have probably gone to most of the major showcases by now. Many of you have been approached and called. It's an honor to have a college coach court you, but there is still a lot of summer left. If you were lucky enough to get invited to participate in your local Area Code games, you may get more even calls and offers. If there is one word of advice that we can give you, it's don't say yes to the first college that shows interest. Play your summer season through...Unless of course your offer comes from your #1 Dream School. Then and only then, after a heart to heart with your coaches, parents and yourself...make the RIGHT decision. The recruiting process can be a lot of fun if you follow this timeline.
The heart to heart with your family and coaches is very important, especially in today's new NCAA. A player can't transfer without sitting out a year under any circumstances, so make sure your decision is permanent. Another thing to remember is that although you may want to go to a top rated school, they may offer you less money than a competitive but lesser rated D-I that wants you. Depending on their needs, the top schools may limit a freshmans playing time as well. A lesser known, but respectable university may have a starting spot for you. This is especially important if that lesser school plays in a good conference. Everyone wants to be recruited by UCLA or Arizona State, but Oregon or Washington may provide the better chance to play. You still get to play in the tough Pac 10, but you get to PLAY and to many competitive athletes, that is important. Look at the rosters of all schools that ask you to verbal and find out if there are player positions that have been vacated from graduation or the draft. Also, pick the school that you would go to IF baseball was not an option. It's important to like where you are going.
Once you figure all of that out, it CAN be a relief to finally concentrate on playing ball for the next year. Many elite athletes get bombarded with mountains of e-mails and regular mail everyday and it gets old after a while. Verbally announcing the decision usually stops the activity. Now, verbals are non-binding for both you and the school at this stage...but, that doesn't mean that a you can or should change your mind. Barring any injuries to you, a school should not back down on it's offer either. You both can legally, but it's not really acceptable, unless there has been a change in the coaching staff or other outside influences that change the ground rules a bit. Bottom line, you as a player must be absolutley sure that this is your number one choice. If so, then make the announcement.
First of all, the majority of incoming Juniors will not get "offers" or solid interest just yet...Yes, you will get letters and e-mails...that doesn't necessarily imply solid interest.. So, Incoming Junior players and parents...be patient! That said, we do know literally a handful of incoming Juniors that have verballed. (Literally, less than 5 exceptionally talented players that we know of.) And, unless a player is one of those handful of super-studs that comes around every once in a while, there is absolutely no reason an incoming Junior should be thinking that he is missing out on something at this age. Physically, mentally, and practically, there is so much baseball ahead. A player should just use this time to play exceptional ball. This is the time to concentate on being a leader on his HS varsity team. That should be priority number one. Continue to play hard for your travel team. That is priority number two. Get seen at showcases and major tourney's. That's priority number three. Your Junior year is a time when a player should be scaling up his game to a higher level. You may have dominated at a younger age, but how does that scale to playing against other players two to three years your senior? It can be a wake-up call and all the more reason to relax and just play the game, work-out, get stronger, smarter and better.
We hope this helps. Any personal experiences that players, parents or coaches want to add? Use the comment section below. Don't worry. You can reply as anonymous.