In this Baseball Recruiting: Everything Players and Parents Need To Know Guide, we're going to discuss:
- Off the field baseball recruiting advice.
- On the field baseball recruiting advice.
- Baseball recruiting compliance rules.
- New and Updated baseball recruiting tips and tricks.
Understand The Baseball Recruiting Opportunity
When it comes to your Baseball Recruiting process, the reality is this. There are so many college baseball programs looking for players who can play - there is an opportunity for every player who is willing to take complete ownership of their college baseball recruiting process.
As ballplayers, we have to buy into the following idea.
Anything good that happens in our baseball career after high school has to be earned.
One day whether you are 18, 24, 35, or 60 years old, someone will ask you if you played sports.
And you will say “yes, baseball”.
At that moment, the level of enthusiasm, passion, and fondness you expressed on the field will flash in your mind's eye. Then, they may ask next, “ were you any good?”
Make sure you can answer with, “Yes, yes I was.” With a slight smile and deep inner conviction. You will be filled with a sense of esteem that will serve you in life.
That moment is earned today. How you approach your baseball recruiting process can be broken down into two categories.
- The things you do on the field to position yourself as a potential prospect.
- The things you do off the field to position yourself as a potential prospect.
Listed below are tips, tricks and ideas to help you understand what baseball scouts and recruiters look for, as well as some college baseball compliance-related info that you need to be aware of.
Be Aware of Your Body Language
So much of hitting is less about having a good swing, bat speed, and hand-eye and more about how you respond to failure. When you pitch a fit, slump your shoulders and kick dirt, you’re telling the pitcher that he’s won.
Rather - what you need is the type of body language that reflects the adjustment you make after failing.
Let’s call this emotional posture. When you pout, you’re giving away your power to your opponent.
It doesn’t mean you never get mad. Showing a little Emotion is a good thing.
But make it a conscious choice. If you get mad, make it last for no longer than one at-bat max.
Then you clean the slate.
Stand Out From The Crowd
If you’re an idiot, you better be a stud. I mean like an All-American, best-in-your-state type stud.
Trust me, it's better to be a player that coaches and teammates want to be around.
Doesn’t require talent. just a little self-awareness.
Here are a few things coaches & teammates admire that have nothing to do with talent or ability.
- a sense of humor
- a clean locker
- a killer instinct
- thick skin
When you learn how to laugh at yourself, rag your teammates while building them up, take care of your equipment responsibility, battle & compete to win while not taking things personally…
…you’ll stand out and build bonds with teammates that will last a lifetime.
Take 100% Ownership
Take complete ownership of everything that happens on the ball field.
I've never met a ballplayer who thrived by transferring blame.
How we view ourselves is often how our opponent will view us.
do what you need to do to make sure that:
1. the pitcher on the mound perceives you as a hitter who does damage.
2. the coach perceives you as the player they wished that had in their line up.
perception is everything.
Go From Good To Great
If you've been told you're good. Trust me. You’re not as good as you may think, maybe.
If I could go to Florida, California, Texas, or the DR, walk to a tree, shake it, and 10 guys with your abilities will come falling out.
Players with talent are a dime a dozen. It’s a given pre-requisite at the college/pro level.
What will set you apart is your ability to compete, and to execute the routine plays consistently.
Wanna achieve greatness?
Learn to be good, consistently.
It begins with a mastery of the fundamentals.
It ends with being the best competitor on the field, day in and day out.
Pay The Price
Players, if you wanna play at the next level, be prepared to pay a price.
If playing pro/college ball one day seems too good to be true…
…you will create a price tag that’s unplayable.
You’ll think - "what’s the point of going the extra mile if most players never play after high school?"
The draft is a crapshoot.
Most pro players never make it out of a-ball.
On the flip side - if your price tag is something that you believe will benefit you beyond baseball, you’ll pay any price.
Here’s a hint. Make the price tag something that helps you to help others.
When you stop making the game about you, good things happen.
Be Prepared To Earn It
I signed a full ride to Bethune Cookman university - a d1 powerhouse in the MEAC conference. The first lesson I learned was that being on a full scholarship did not guarantee playing time. I fought for playing time my sr year the same exact way I fought for it my freshman and sophomore year.
for most of you - at the d1 level, the Friday and Saturday pitcher you face will be some of the most advanced pitching you will see consistently up to that point.
Pitchers are throwing 90+ consistently with the ability to locate.
The defense can and will make the routine plays.
It will really feel like 9 against 1.
You need an approach, the ability to think efficiently and a plan and a strategy to Win The At-Bat. It begins with the ability to:
- be aggressive early with selective aggression.
- post-up & look for a good pitch you can handle.
- keep your finger on the swing trigger™, geared up & ready for a strike.
- attack the inner half of the ball.
- compete your tail off.
Know The Baseball Recruiting Rules & Compliance
Here's the gist, the NCAA has made some changes during the past several years regarding recruiting. These rule changes were made to give prospective student-athletes more time to consider their college options and avoid the pressures of early recruitment expectations. The goal is for every student-athlete to focus on their grades, test results, overall skill set, and athletic ability as they move closer to their high school graduation. Lastly, this gives the prospect more time to initiate a more holistic outreach with their prospective school once communication is eligible.
Baseball recruiting Rules & Compliance Breakdown
Baseball recruiting rules and compliance are important as they set in place the conduct of coaches, student-athletes and their parents in the recruitment process. Just like it is the case in any other recruitment process, NCAA baseball recruitment processes have to follow an agreed-upon guideline. Through the recruiting rules, college coaches have a clear guideline on how they move forward in the process of recruiting athletes. Therefore, compliance is important from all the involved parties.
Coaches have to comply with these rules whereas athletes and their families need to be aware of the process and rules involved. As long as the persons involved understand the rules as they are, they won’t find themselves doing things they shouldn’t be doing. For instance, knowing and comprehending these rules is vital as it prevents recruits from undertaking campus visits during periods outside of the stipulated timelines. Recruits can only get in touch with college coaches if they visit during the required time. Anything out of the confines of the rules is tantamount to a breach.
Why are NCAA Baseball Recruiting Rules Important
NCAA baseball recruiting rules are put in place for a reason. Essentially, these rules are set in place to level the playing ground for all persons involved in the recruitment process. Unless there is a system of rules that control the process, there will be those with an upper hand at the expense of others. Indeed, schools are not the same. There are those that have more resources compared to others. Clearly, the bigger schools have a higher level of advantage than the less popular ones. Consequently, the recruiting rules come in handy to ensure that there is fairness in the entire recruitment process.
There are a couple of significant things that the recruiting rules seek to achieve. To begin with, they give guidelines on the persons who should be part and parcel of the recruitment process. Basically, this means that not anyone can be involved in the recruitment process. So, the persons allowed to be part of the baseball recruitment process should comply with the rules to the fullest. For example, coaches are integral persons in the recruitment process. Their roles are clearly set out in the guidelines.
Something else that the baseball recruiting rules seek to do is to give guidance on when the recruitment process should take place. There is a designated time when the recruitment process should take place. For instance, there are set times for each division that particular activities should take place. Compliance with the guidelines means that the people involved in the process have to do so within the stipulated time period. Lastly, the rules are important in providing guidelines on the conditions for conducting the recruitment process. Of great importance still, these baseball recruitment rules are significant in controlling interference in the personal affairs of student-athletes.
Understand The Baseball Recruiting Timeline & Calendar
This is an important question when it comes to the baseball recruitment process. Well, the right time for a coach to contact recruits depends on the level of division. The persons involved in recruitment processes have to take note of this point of information. They have to be compliant with the requirements set out for each division.
For example, coaches in Division 1 should not contact student-athletes prior to the 1st of September of their junior year. For coaches in Division 2, they can begin to communicate with athletes from 15th of June after their sophomore year. In regards to Division 3, there are no restrictions as it is the case in the previous divisions. Coaches can begin contacting student-athletes once they are in their junior year. This information is valuable as it prevents contacting recruits at the wrong time and messing up with the recruitment process.
When Can Student-Athletes Contact College Coaches?
Baseball recruiting rules are clear in regards to when a student-athlete can contact coaches. Athletes have the opportunity of communicating to coaches via calls and emails at any time. However, the rules give directions as to how and when a coach can respond to the communication from student-athletes. A valuable tip for students is to be aware of the times when coaches can respond to their calls and emails. This way, the process won’t have hurdles that affect its success.
Basic Recruiting Rules By Level
There are recruiting rules that involved persons should take note of. It is important to highlight that there are three divisions with distinct rules. In each division below, you’ll know the corresponding baseball recruitment rules that parties should comply with.
NCAA DIVISION 1
Of the three college division levels, Division 1 schools have recruitment rules with the highest level of strictness and regulation. In this division, there are particular forms of communication expected from coaches depending on a student’s year in high school.
1ST SEPTEMBER OF JUNIOR YEAR
It is during this time that coaches start communicating with student-athletes. They can use different forms of communication ranging from calls, emails, texts, and direct messages on various social media platforms. They can use the form of communication that is convenient and able to reach student-athletes in the most effective way possible. Feedback is valuable during the communication process.
Also, it is during this time that student-athletes together with their parents and guardians can start having visits. These visits are considered to be official. According to the rules of NCAA on recruitment, student-athletes should not have more than 5 visits to Division 1 schools. Each Division 1 school should receive 1 official visit from an athlete. Following these rules is paramount for student-athletes as it determines the eventual success of the recruitment process.
Additionally, athletes can organize for unofficial visits with the athletics department of a school. In these visits, they can meet with departmental members, coaches, members of the coaching staff, and players. During this meeting, students can have recruitment conversations. These meetings happen on campus as they get to know one another more.
1ST JULY BEFORE SENIOR YEAR
During this time, college coaches can have off-campus meetings with student-athletes. Coaches can visit the students at their homes or school.
During this time college coaches have the opportunity of doing off-campus communications with student-athletes together with their parents and guardians.
NCAA DIVISION 2
The baseball recruiting rules for schools in Division 2 are less restrictive compared to those in Division 1. Communication with coaches official visits, and off-campus contact start from 15th June after sophomore year.
- GENERAL MATERIALS - Athletes are allowed to have all kinds of communications. The general types of communication materials include: NCAA materials, brochures, questionnaires, and non-athletic materials. The information in these pieces of materials is significant to the student-athletes as they navigate through the process.
- PRINTED RECRUITING MATERIALS - In regards to printed recruiting materials, coaches can start sending them to students. This can happen at any time. This process starts on the 15th of June before the junior year of an athlete. The printed materials include the following: general school brochures, questionnaires, and camp brochures. These materials have essential information that students need to get hold of for the process ahead.
- TELEPHONE CALLS - Coaches can begin communicating with athletes from 15th June before the junior year of the athlete. They can use any preferred video conferencing platform with athletes.
- OFF-CAMPUS COMMUNICATION - Coaches have the opportunity of having off-campus communication with students and their parents beginning from 15th of June before an athlete’s junior year.
- OFFICIAL VISITS - Student-athletes can begin having official visits from June 15 before their junior year.
NCAA DIVISION 3
Compared to the other two school divisions, Division 3 schools have the least strict baseball recruiting rules. Here are the fundamental guidelines of Division 3 baseball recruiting rules:
- College coaches don’t have restrictions as to the number of calls they can make to student-athletes. They have the opportunity of making unlimited calls to prospective recruits.
- Getting access to recruiting materials is not a challenge. Student-athletes have the opportunity of getting these materials, with ease, at any time.
- It is possible for coaches to begin off-campus communication with an athlete after the sophomore year.
- Unofficial visits are unlimited. Athletes together with their parents and guardians can make as many unofficial visits as they wish.
- Athletes can start making official visits after the 1st of January of junior year.
As you have discovered, the NCAA baseball recruitment process provides important guidelines that all involved parties have to adhere with.
Compliance to these rules is paramount for recruitment to be successful. That’s why it’s valuable for coaches, athletes, and parents to understand the rules clearly to avoid affecting the process negatively.
A significant factor to put in mind is that there are different division levels. Each school division has its system of regulations that coaches, student-athletes, and parents need to comply with during baseball recruitment processes.
For each division, there are fundamental things to consider. The bottom-line is that these rules play a major role in creating order and control in the recruitment process for it to be successful and have quality outcomes.
Know When The Recruiting Period Starts
Starting January 1st of a student's sophomore year, college recruiters and coaches can begin contacting potential prospects. At this point, recruits can also begin to take part in their own recruiting process with outreach and unofficial visits to schools and programs that are on their dream school list.
Prospective athletes will need to wait until September 1st of their junior year before they are able to make official visits and obtain verbal scholarship offers from college coaches.
Unofficial visits: College athletic departments — including coaches — are not permitted to be invovled in a student-athlete's unofficial visits prior to Sept. 1 of their high school junior year. The rule change was likely implemented due to the growing number of college coaches interacting with students while they were touring a campus on an unofficial visit.
Official Visits: Student-athletes can begin taking official visits beginning September 1st of their high school junior year. In other words, while unofficial visits can occur during the course of a student-athlete’s high school career, official visits are allowed beginning on Sept. 1 of their high school junior year. Previously, official visits began the fall of a student-athlete’s senior year or after the conclusion of their junior year, whichever came first.
Camps: Camps provide athletes with an opportunity to meet coaches face-to-face and form a relationship while showcasing their skills. The same rules apply regarding limitations on communication. No discussions can be made regarding the recruiting process before September 1st of the player's Junior year.
When we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail. There are so many things we can do to position ourselves as a potential prospects, months and even years before our college baseball recruiting process even begins.
Here are a few things to consider before recruiting process begins.
Make a plan for the summer before your junior year - Have a skills video prepared. Know what schools have showcases and camps and when they're scheduled. Become familiar with how showcases are run.
Improve your skills and get stronger - You don't need to look like Mike Trout in a uniform, but it helps to showcase physical attributes that have projection. Know what your strengths are so they can become weapons. Identify your weaknesses so they don't become liabilities. Have a solid strength-foundation and range of motion. In other words, you should be hitting the gym during the off-season.
Talk to your coach about your goals for the summer - Having a coach who is willing to vouch for you is an asset that will help especially with attending top-tier schools. Make sure you communicate with them what you have your sights on. They may be able to help you with opportunities that only coaches typically are aware of.
Protect and refine your reputation - Elite baseball programs will want to know about your reputation, emotional makeup, and how you interact with your teammates. Guard it with your life.
Be ready for college-level competition - The game will speed up. Baserunners will get down the line faster. Pitchers throw higher-velo while being able to location secondary pitches consistently. If you start, you will be playing a longer season with weekends of travel.
It's a lifestyle that will take continual adjustments.
Understand The Difference Between Division I, Division II, and Division III Schools.
While the majority of schools in Division I and Division III baseball fall into the same category, there is one key difference between them: the size of their student bodies and the amount of scholarships available.
NCAA Division I schools tend to have larger populations than their division II counterparts, while Division III schools are usually smaller than both divisions and also lack athletic scholarships.
NCAA D2 college baseball organizations are allowed to offer a maximum of nine athletic scholarships, which can be divided up among players. Typically, it will be a hybrid of academic scholarships, student aid, and other scholarships an individual player can qualify for.
Understand How Many Baseball Scholarships Are Allowed
The number of scholarships allocated to players and the percentage of each will usually be dictated by various factors.
The number of returning players.
The coaching staff's approach to building a competitive line up and pitching rotation.
The academic performance of starting athletes, and other intangible factors that will influence a coaches approach for the following year.
The number of baseball scholarships by each specific baseball division level.
|Division Level||Number of Teams||Total Players||Average Team Size||Scholarship Limit Per Team|
Consider Which Division You're Best Suited For.
When you're deciding which division to play at, it's important to consider the following factors:
Skillset— Do you have the skills that would allow you to thrive in a particular division? You might be able to throw hard and hit for power, but if a particular team is deep at your position or skillset, you may ave to look at alternative teams.
It may be better for you to focus on what makes your unique skill set stand out instead of trying to measure up against other players who are already better than you are at something else. If this sounds like an unfair advantage for others over yourself, then maybe Division II or III is more appropriate for your skill level.
Ultimately, you have to go where you can play. Being able to say you made an SEC school but you're sitting on the bench your first two years may not be as beneficial as attending a Juco or second-tier D1 or D2 school where you can be an everyday player.
Coache's Personality— Are there certain types of personalities or behavior patterns among players that would make playing with them too difficult? Is the coach a screamer with a hard-nosed reputation or does he have quick heals and is aspirational.
Depending on where you're at with your emotional make-up, you may need a coach who is experienced at earning trust before setting high expectations.
Make Sure Your Grades Are In Order.
Do not let your grades dictate where you can play. Your high school grades are part of your overall academic profile, so it's a good idea to make them as high as possible.
This is a non-negotiable.
Hit the books!
Get To Know Your Recruiters
Find out who the top recruiters are in your area and how to get in touch with them.
You can find out what schools are recruiting you by going to a site like Baseball America, where all of this information is easily accessible.
You can also use Balllead to get access to every college baseball coach in the country to begin your college baseball recruiting outreach.
Once you know who your target schools' top recruiters are and have identified them, sending direct messages or emails to these people will help get their attention quickly and effectively.
You can learn more about establishing a college baseball recruiting checklist here.
Show Off Your Skills In Your Junior Year
In preparation for the recruiting process, you can do a lot to help yourself by showing off your skills in a variety of settings.
Play in as many tournaments as possible. This includes both local and national events—the more you play, the better.
Play in as many games as possible. You will have more game film available to show coaches when they come around for recruiting visits.
Play in as many different positions and leagues as possible. Playing multiple positions shows coaches that you’re versatile and can fill an important role on their team if offered a scholarship. Playing against different teams gives you more exposure than playing against the same team over and over again (even if it’s just one league). And finally, playing against players who are much better than you expose weaknesses in your game that need improvement before college-level play begins!
Get your 60 times below a 7.0 flat if you're a position player.
Start the Baseball Recruiting Process With a Strong Summer Performance During Your Junior Year.
The best way to start the recruiting process is by performing well during your junior year.
If you can dominate and showcase tools that project at the collegiate level such as:
- a sub 6.9 60 yard dash
- a sub 2.0 pop time
- refine mechanics at the plate
- elite action on defense
- good body language and tempo
- easy and effortless arm action
You can help generate extra looks during a game, showcase or tryout.
In other words, work on your tools!
In many ways, the difference between players who earn scholarships and those who don’t often come down to how well they perform their Junior year and possibly summer months before their senior year of high school.
The importance of these performances shouldn’t be underestimated; they are crucial in determining whether you will receive an offer from a top-tier program or not. Most teams recruit players based on what they see during that time period—not how you performed during your senior season and beyond though this can be the case as well.
Take Your Time
It is not the end of the world if you underperformed or were not able to play your JR year. There is plenty of baseball to be played.
But if you want to play for a big-time program, then it makes sense for you to spend some time this summer playing against better competition at tournaments or showcases where recruiters are present so that they can see your talent firsthand!.
Approach senior year with goals for college athletics in mind.
Make sure your grades are in order, and that you're physically and mentally ready to take the next step.
It's also important to have a balanced lifestyle in high school—don't forget about school activities like band or student council, as well as hanging out with friends outside of sports! Your best years are ahead of you, so take advantage of them! You never know when an injury might strike or when an opportunity might pop up that requires more time than you have at that moment. Having other things going on besides baseball can only help when these situations arise!
Schedule College Visits During Your Senior year
Moreover, visit schools before you commit. You can’t see which schools will best fit your needs and personality until you visit them. By seeing a few different campuses in person, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when it comes time to apply for admission and register for classes.
Make sure that the school has a good baseball program. Some colleges have better facilities than others, but it may be more important for you to choose a school with an excellent academic reputation.
The program you choose should ultimately have a healthy balance that contains opportunities for playing time as well as a solid academic program.
Even though it can be overwhelming, getting yourself noticed by recruiters is an important part of getting a baseball scholarship to college.
Baseball Recruiting Outro
In closing, college baseball recruiters and coaches look at four main areas: academic, athletic, personal, and social.
Academic: Your GPA, SAT or ACT scores, or any other standardized test scores are important to recruiters. How you do one thing is how you do everything. Schools want student-athletes who will be able to handle the coursework at their college and do well on exams.
Athletic: The quality of your high school team and how many players it has produced over the years can help you get noticed by recruiters. If you're a good player, play multiple sports (not just baseball), have great endurance, speed, and explosive movements on the field, show leadership skills while playing for your team, and building them up—all of these things are very important when recruiting for college baseball teams because they demonstrate an athlete's ability to perform under pressure on a daily basis in front of crowds as well as individual practice sessions with teammates present.
Personal: Do you have character and integrity. What you do off the field will dictate what you do on the field. Do you have the emotional makeup to represent the college program's mission statement?
Social: College coaches will look at your social profiles and your circle of friends. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Are you hanging around people who aspire you to be better?
These are all factors that play into your college baseball recruiting process.
Make sure you have your ducks in order.
Baseball Recruiting Outline:
- Build on your tools and skillsets.
- Know the recruiting timeline.
- Familiarize yourself with NCAA compliance rules.
- Identify the schools that are a good fit.
- Begin an outreach.
- Be prepared for your Junior and Senior season to perform and dominate.
- Attend as many baseball events, camps, and showcases as possible.
- Take care of your grades and reputation.