Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Coaches Want

RT Staff Note: This is Part Two of our recruiting series. Thanks to San Gabriel Valley Arsenal and TeachDGame for the content.

If you are ready to commit to the demanding schedule and stress, you should know that coaches watch your conduct off the field before and after games, your academics and athletic desire or “heart”. Sometimes intangibles will make the difference over pure athletic skills.

There are literally thousands of outstanding players in in any colleges recruiting area. College Coaches therefore have a lot to choose from. They DO NOT desire to recruit athletes who will prove to be problems to their team or institution. Therefore, they recruit as much on PERSONALITY TRAITS as they do ATHLETIC. They want quality student athletes as well as the best baseball players they can find. Your behavior and academic standards should reflect the same level of attention as your athletic abilities on the baseball field.

They notice and ASK about everything. Be prepared and aware that you are being scrutinized not only as an athlete, but as a person too.

Recruiting Basics
1) Please understand the following statistics – out of the hundreds of thousands of kids that play age group/high school sports only 3% will participate on a college varsity sports team, only 1% will receive any type of college athletic scholarship.

2) The coach’s “recruiting game” - a school may be in contact with as many as 250-350 players per year; 40-50 seriously(handwritten notes & letters, the one call per week, etc.); 6 to 12 all out; top 3-4 they will ask for early commitments. Recruiting is a serious business and most college coaches do a VERY GOOD JOB of it. They are selling their institution and experience. Like anything you are buying, always be aware and evaluate your alternatives.

3) If you don’t have stellar grades, your athletic skills are even more important, as they may help you get a spot on the team or even just into an institution!

4) Make an effort to watch a practice and games of the schools that interest you.

5) Consider what you know about the head coach and the coaching staff.

6) Ask the schools if you may contact former and current players and/or parents.

7) Do YOUR homework. Evaluate the schools you are interested in current Rosters. Where are their current players coming from? High School or JC’s? If there is a large number of JC transfers, you need to factor this into your decision to attend as a Freshman. Is the coaching staff showing a practice of bringing in transfers if they feel their current players are not going to win games for them. What is the composition of the team by graduation year (i.e. Frosh, Soph, Junior & Senior). Remember, some Juniors will be drafted and sign.

8) Ask about players in the program that are NOT on the roster (i.e. Redshirts, other players). There can be hidden individuals you may not even be aware of.

9) Evaluate the OTHER PLAYERS being recruited by the specific school. Do they play the same position you do or could they be moved into your current position. Schools will over recruit Shortstops knowing that there are many high school Shortstops that end up playing different positions at the collegiate level. Shortstops in high school are usually some of the best athletes on the team. They can move multiple places at the collegiate level.

10) Have the college coaches explain their interest in you and why they want you in their program. Even go so far as to ask them to compare / contrast you with other players you know have committed or are being recruited.

11) Determine if you would attend this school even if you had a career ending injury and could not play.

12) Remember you can have five paid visits and add and drop as you go. Enjoy the experience. What does the player need to know about the College, Coach, Team, and Scholarship options?

Know The College:
1) Does the college offer the academic program the player would ultimately hope to pursue? Are athletes given priority registration?

2) Where is the college/university located? Will the locale be good for the player in terms of weather and distance from family/friends?

3) What is the general campus like? Social aspect of school?

4) What is the expected enrollment of undergraduates and graduates? What are the class sizes?

5) What are the schools strongest degree programs offered, which are the best academic departments?

6) What are the student housing options? Do most students live on-campus or off? What transportation is available?

7) Do the members of the baseball team room together? Live in special dorm facilities?

8) What are the majors of most of the baseball team members?

9) What is the academic calendar? Quarter / Semester / Trimesters?

10) Is tutoring offered to student-athletes? Is there a fee?

Know About The Baseball Coach and Team:
1. In what division and conference does the team play? The top conferences in baseball are the SEC, PAC 10, Big West, ACC, Big 12, Conference USA, West Coast Conference, WAC, Missouri Valley, Sunbelt and Southern.

2. What was the team’s record in the past? What are the coach’s goals for the team?

3. What style of play is desired for the team? Is the player comfortable with the coach’s style?

4. How many players will be on the roster and how many will travel with the team? How
many trips are planned for the coming season?

5. What are the pre-season and post-season schedules?

6. How often is practice during the season, and post-season?

7. Where do most of the players play during the Summer? Are there expectations of playing in collegiate Summer Leagues?

8. How will the team composition change with seniors leaving and redshirt players returning? What known transfers are coming in?

9. What is the normal composition of the team? Developed from Freshman year to Senior year or high level of Junior College transfers each year?

10. What position is the player being recruited for and how many others are already playing there or are being recruited?

11. Where am I in terms of your recruits? (Really listen carefully to how this is answered, let silence work for you and don’t be too quick to move on to another question.

12. Have you seen me play? Which of my coaches have you talked to? What other scouts/individuals have you spoken to about me?

13. What are the next steps ?

Scholarship Concerns:
1) If not offered a scholarship, is the player a candidate for admission as a Walk-On player?

2) If offered a scholarship, what expenses are covered, what is the duration and how can it be terminated?

3) If offered a scholarship and the player is injured and can’t play, will the scholarship be lost?

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