November 11, 2020
We recently hosted a webinar for student-athletes and families to discuss the current state of high-academic recruiting. The impacts of the ongoing NCAA Division 1 dead period, as well as many schools implementing school-specific travel restrictions for coaches and staff members means that the recruiting landscape looks different today than it ever has before, and navigating it is challenging.
On this webinar, we discussed the current state of high-academic recruiting, including what’s changed and how it looks moving forward, and also what student-athletes can do right now this fall and winter to advance their recruiting process at their target schools. You can watch the full webinar via the link above – or take a look at the outline of topics covered below to skip directly to the most interesting or relevant topics and questions.
Introduction & Agenda
Themes of the Webinar (Be PROACTIVE!)
Jed Barkin – former player and assistant coach at Denison University
Max McKenna – 4-year player and former All-NESCAC pitcher at Amherst College
The Status of High-Academic Recruiting
Timeline of High-Academic Recruiting –
Since last March, college programs and coaching staffs across the country have been adapting to the new recruiting landscape by re-focusing their efforts on digital outreach, video, data, analytics and more. While many programs did have some lull in their recruiting last spring, most have since gotten comfortable with the “new tools” of recruiting, and have picked up their pace, particularly with 2021s and 2022s.
Jed’s Recruiting Process –
Before we look forward to what has changed and is continuing to change in recruiting, we frame up the conversation by looking back a couple of years to what Jed’s recruiting process looked like.
The “New” Tools of Recruiting –
Video, video, video – as well as increased data and analytics. We cover how coaches are using these new tools and how student-athletes can best take advantage of them.
Video in Recruiting
How to collect both showcase and in-game footage that college coaches need to see to be confident knowing you as a player enough to recruit you.
Email “Plus” in Coach Communication
Coaches also want to know that you’re the right holistic and culture fit for their program – how can you use email and other digital connection tools and platforms to give coaches a good sense of who you are as a student-athlete?
Data & Analytics in Recruiting
From their important role over the last couple of years as player development tools within college programs, data and analytics tools like Blast Motion and Rapsodo are becoming increasingly important in helping coaches recruit the right players for their program.
What Players Should Do This Fall & Winter
Verified Video & Data –
Now is the time to build up a library of video for yourself to give coaches insight into your play, and to set the foundation for future communication, as well.
Coach Communication –
Don’t wait to put yourself on the radar at your target programs. Now is a great time (once equipped with verified video and data) to be in touch via email with your target programs to get on their radar.
Academic Focus –
The classroom may look very different right now – but it’s crucial that you keep your foot on the pedal academically and continue to keep your grades up, as well as think about preparing for standardized tests.
Do. Not. Wait! It’s tempting to sit back and wait for the recruiting landscape to be “normal” again, but those athletes who we’re seeing have success are those who are doing the best and accomplishing everything they can within the restrictions currently in place. Do what you can now!
Effective Coach Communication
Efficiency – Online Profiles & Building a College List –
Create a one-stop-shop for yourself through SportsRecruits, and be efficient in your coach communication by identifying your key and target programs so that you can keep up with the communication and thoughtfully personalize each correspondence.
Personalize Every Touchpoint –
PERSONALIZE your emails to college coaches! If you’re not getting responses to your emails, chances are they’re too generic – let coaches know that you’re genuinely interested in their school and program, and let them know why!
Emailing College Coaches –
Tips and tricks for success in emailing college coaches, as well as some of the challenges of it being so ubiquitous.
Non-Email Touchpoints –
It’s important to take some of your communication out of the inbox and into other channels – like handwritten letters!
Upcoming Headfirst Showcase Events
Southeast Showcase PLUS: December 12-13, Lakeland, FL
West Showcase PLUS: January 2-3, Tuscon, AZ
What does Direct Digital Access mean and look like for coaches who can’t attend the Showcase PLUS?
If my target high-academic schools have gone test optional, can taking standardized tests benefit me as a potential recruited student-athlete?
What is the expected recruiting timeline for 2022s at high-academic schools?
Do we think the dead period is going to be extended? Are D1s pausing their recruiting until the dead period ends?
Will coaches need to see players in person before they commit them as 2021s or 2022s?
What schools are attending our Showcase PLUS events this winter, and what are the opportunities out there for 2021s and 2022s?
When I send an email to a college coach, what should the subject line be?
Where are coaches in their recruiting with 2022s?
What should I use in the update emails to college coaches as I continue the communication after the introduction email?
I did a Showcase PLUS this fall, how can I use that data and video to continue the recruiting process this off-season?
What are the best pieces of information to include in an introduction email to a coach without making the email too long or involved?
As a 2023, what Headfirst showcase should I attend?
Since the dead period is slated to end on Jan. 1, will the West Showcase PLUS (on Jan. 2-3) involve Division 1 schools since they’d be able to attend?
How important is it for players to keep getting live reps during the dead period before they get exposure to college coaches?
If I’m re-taking the SAT, should I tell coaches the first score, or should I wait until I have the new score?
During the dead period, what’s the best way to get a sense of a school or a baseball program? If you get an offer during the dead period, how can you get a sense of the school best before committing?