Use your school list to begin reaching out to coaches
Ask for honest feedback from your coaches on what you need improve on the rest of the season
Plan for your campus visits to schools that you know you’re not interested in
CLASS OF 2020: This spring and summer is crunch time for your recruiting
Reach out to coaches to update them on your spring season and summer plans – Having multiple touchpoints with the schools on your list is a great way to demonstrate genuine interest, and coaches will be interested in the progress you’ve made since you last spoke or saw each other. With the spring season in full swing and some games under your belt, send the coaches a few early highlights from your season as part of an updated highlight video. This can include high school season stats or updated objective measurements to show the improvement you’ve made over the last few months. Include anything notable about the remainder of the season – road trips, big rivalry games, and especially if you have any games near their school. Coaches will be busy with their own season, but providing this information will at least give them the option to come watch you play. You should also let these college coaches know about your upcoming summer plans to try to maximize the number of times they can watch you play. Let them know which showcases and tournaments you’ll be attending, when you plan on visiting campus and ask them how that compares to their schedule. Asking for this information early gives you time to adjust your plans if you feel like you are not getting enough exposure to the schools on your list. It may take these coaches a little while to get back to you while they are still in-season, but sending them a thoughtful and personal note can help you stand out down the road.Remember – because you’re pursuing high-academic recruiting, your recruiting process is going to look different than your teammates. It’s crucial that you’re able to get exposure to the right group of colleges – the same ones that you’re targeting in the recruiting process.
Check what events your target schools will be attending this summer – While you wait to hear back from these coaches about their summer recruiting schedule, take a look at the showcases you’re interested in attending to see what schools will be there to watch you play. As a rising senior, IT IS CRUCIAL THAT YOU MAXIMIZE YOUR EXPOSURE TO COLLEGE COACHES THIS SUMMER. It’s important for you to get on the field as much as possible, but with the limited amount of time left in your recruiting process, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to play in front of the schools on your list. We post our confirmed coaches list online – which you can view here – and update it whenever new schools are announced. See how this list compares to the schools you’re targeting. If you plan on joining us this summer and see one of your target schools on our list, shoot that coach a note to let them know you will also be at camp.
See how your standardized test scores compare to the schools on your list – Many of you that took your standardized tests recently have already received your scores – and those of you taking them in April will likely receive those scores by the end of the month. Now that you have a more complete academic resume, see how your scores compare to the admissions standards of the schools on your list. Scoring higher than what’s required by the schools will stand out to coaches and be a huge help during the recruiting and admissions process. If you feel like you still need to improve your scores, decide if and when you want to retake these tests and create a test prep and study plan. Letting coaches know that you’re actively trying to improve your scores is a great way to demonstrate your dedication in the classroom and that you’re willing to put in the work to improve. Once you receive these scores, it’s also a great touchpoint to reach out to coaches to update them on your latest (improved) round of standardized test scores.
CLASS OF 2021: It’s time to make moves in your recruiting!
Send out your highlight video to the schools on your list – With the spring season in full swing, we hope that you’ve had the chance to put together an updated highlight video to send to coaches. If this is ready to go, we recommend that you start sending these to the schools on your list before the spring season is over. We wrote last monthabout the benefits of including these videos in your outreach to coaches – using this a benchmark for future development and assessing your “projectability” at the next level. This is also a great way to stand out more to these coaches by putting a face to a name for when you contact them in the future or meet them in person. By the time you engage with these coaches at a showcase this summer, they might recognize you because you gave them the chance to watch you play. This can also be a great way to break the ice when talking to these coaches – by asking for direct and honest feedback on your game footage.
Use your categorized school list to plan campus visits for the summer – Once you’ve split your list of schools into “fit schools” and “reach schools”, plan a few campus visits while keeping in mind which list these schools fall on. There is still plenty of time left in your high school career to improve your academic and athletic resume to make your “reach schools” a more realistic possibility, so make sure to keep these schools in mind when planning visits. However, since there is limited time for both your playing schedule and campus visits, make sure to strike a balance between your “reach schools” and colleges that fall in line with your current standing – both academically and athletically. Keeping your options open will pay off at the end of your recruiting process as you narrow down your choices.
Create a study plan to help you reach the academic requirements of your target schools – Back in February, we recommended that rising juniors develop a baseline for their standardized test scores to see how they compare to the admissions standards of their target schools. Now that you have an idea of your scores and see how much you need to improve to qualify for your target schools, create a test prep and study plan to help you get to those goals. Set mini-goals along the way to make sure you are on track to hit your target score on test day. If you feel like studying will be harder over the summer when you’re traveling for softball, keep this in mind when deciding how much studying you want to accomplish before junior year. However, do not put off all of your studying until next year! Junior year is often considered the most challenging academic year of high school, as students begin to take harder courses while balancing their standardized test prep. Setting aside some time now to create a timeline for yourself will help you feel more prepared next year and more relaxed and confident when it’s time to take those tests.
CLASS OF 2022: Get ahead now – benefit later
Use your school list to begin reaching out to coaches – Even though you still have 3+ years of high school ahead of you, it’s never too early to reach out to coaches and put yourself on their radar. Using your list of qualities to identify a few schools that match what you’re looking for, reach out to the coaches at those schools to introduce yourself and express interest in their program. If you don’t hear back from them right away, do not be discouraged! Division I coaches are unable to reach out to you and have a recruiting-specific conversation until September 1 of your junior year, but they still notice your communication with them and can follow along with how you are progressing prior to that deadline – especially if you’re able to give them a sense of your play through video or objective measurements. Getting on their radar early can help put you in a strong position on their recruiting board once they are allowed to have recruiting-specific conversations with you. It’s also possible that Division III coaches won’t get back to you right away while they are in the middle of their season – but use this timing to your advantage! In your introductory note, also congratulate them on a recent win over a rival or wish them luck in an upcoming series. Personalizing your outreach is a great way to get yourself on your dream school’s radar.
Ask for honest feedback from your coaches on what you need improve on the rest of the season – Now that you have some games under your belt this spring, ask your coaches for direct and honest feedback on what areas of your game need improvement. There is still plenty of time left in your high school career to shape the player you want to be, and being proactive in identifying your strengths and weaknesses will help you shape your on-field identity. This can also be a great talking point when introducing yourself to college coaches because it shows that you’re coachable, dedicated to improving your game and that you have a strong awareness of who you are as a player. By discovering these areas to improve as a freshman, you can keep these coaches updated on your progress over the next few seasons.When developing your game, it’s important to not just focus on your strengths OR on your weaknesses. You have to find a balance between working to amplify your strengths, while also addressing and shoring up your weaknesses. For example – if you’re a power-hitting catcher, it’s not crucial that you run a sub-3 20-yard dash, but it is still important that you’re working on footspeed to improve and put up your best measurement. If you’re a lefty speedster, putting in the work to improve your 20 from 3.0 to 2.8 will work wonders in your recruiting – but you should still work on your strength to boost your power and batted ball exit velocity.
Plan for your campus visits to schools that you know you’re not interested in – Back in February we recommended that you visit a few schools that you know you’re not interested in to help you refine your list of qualities that you’re looking for in an ideal school (we know this seems counter-intuitive, but check out the February checklist on how this can help you rank the schools on your list). Once those trips are scheduled, begin to do some research on those schools to get the most out of your visit. If you’ll be taking a tour while on campus, come up with some questions for the tour guide that touch on multiple areas of college life – athletics, academics, social, etc. Take note of what qualities you expect to like and dislike about the school and see if that matches how you feel once on campus. By focusing on the qualities of the school, rather than the name recognition or what division it’s in, you will be able to more effectively find the college that is the best fit for you when it comes time to apply.In addition to discussing these visits with your parents, sibling and/or friends, one key way to track and remember these qualities is to write down some key points from the tour that stood out to you. Writing them down will help you track these features and compare them with future visits as you move through your list-building process.