February Checklist: High-Academic Baseball Recruiting Tips
February 14, 2019
As we approach the spring season, many of you have already started or will soon begin your high school season. February is usually a time that is heavy on preparation – athletically, academically and in your recruiting process. This is the perfect time for student-athletes to put the finishing touches on all their hard work this winter to set themselves up for a successful spring and summer.
Below are a few items for high school student-athletes to keep in mind over the next few weeks:
February Recruiting Process Checklist
Class of 2020:
- Research the academic requirements of the schools on your list. With more SAT and ACT dates in the upcoming months, finding the requirements for these schools will help you set some goals and give you a number to aim for in your preparation.
Headfirst Pro Tip: Yes – you are so much more as a student than your standardized test scores. You know that, admissions officers know that. But, early in the process, standardized test scores provide the most accessible metric for college coaches to assess where you sit academically in their recruiting. SAT or ACT scores are very easily interpreted, so they are often one of the first assessments that college coaches make in their recruiting – this spring and summer, one of the best investments in your process that you can make is in a test prep course to max out your potential on these standardized tests.
- Create an updated highlight video. As a starting point, try to include 10-15 swings in the cage and a variety of reps in the field (the specifics will vary by position, and you can check out one of our previous posts for some recommendations at each position). For pitchers, film a 15 – 20 pitch bullpen – throw 5 of each pitch and indicate which pitch is coming. This summer is the home stretch in your recruiting process, so it’s important to send this to all the schools on your target list so that they can see how you’ve progressed.
If possible, get those BP reps and bullpen sessions from a couple different angles: some pitches and swings from your open side (i.e. the camera in the left hand batter’s box if you’re a righty, or from the third base side of the mound if you’re a right-handed pitcher) as well as some from behind the plate or mound to show the path of the ball out of your hand or off the bat.
Headfirst Pro Tip: You can tailor additional pieces of this video to fit your specific skillset or type of game – e.g.: If you’re highlighting your speed tool, include a video of you running the 60 on a football field, and if you’re a great hitter, include your exit velocity.
- If your video is ready to go, send a personal email to the coaches on your list with a link to the video or your online profile. Include some general information about yourself (name, grad year, academic information), any objective measurements and stats and let them know why you’re interested in their program. If you are following up with coaches you already met, update them on the progress you’ve made – both on the field and in the classroom – since you last saw them. Make sure to write a unique email for each school – coaches can tell if you are sending everyone the same note.
Headfirst Pro Tip: Follow along with the results of the schools you’re targeting now that they’ve started their season (or will be soon). Send this email after they win a game or series against a rival or tough opponent and congratulate the coach on the win, or wish them luck in an upcoming weekend series.
- Begin planning out your campus visits. A lot of this will depend on your summer schedule and what programs express mutual interest, but it’s important to do your research and maximize each visit. Once your summer plans are finalized, you’ll be ready to plug in these campus visits and feel confident heading into each one. For more details on what to consider when visiting campus, check out our post on how the class of 2020 can best prepare themselves for this summer.
Many of your classmates are going to be using their upcoming Spring Break to start hitting the college tour circuit. As a spring season student-athlete, your time in the spring is more scarce and valuable – you need to make sure you’re maximizing your time and college trips by using them efficiently.
- Continue to prepare for the upcoming spring season. Take advantage of every practice rep and every opportunity with your teammates and coaches. A strong spring season will help carry momentum into this crucial summer in your recruiting process.
Class of 2021
- Develop a baseline for your standardized test scores. It may seem early but being proactive gives you the opportunity to see how much you need to improve to qualify for the schools you are targeting.
Headfirst Pro Tip: Yes – you are so much more as a student than your standardized test scores. You know that, admissions officers know that. But, early in the process, standardized test scores provide the most accessible metric to college coaches to assess where you sit academically in their recruiting. SAT or ACT scores are very easily interpreted, so they are often one of the first assessments that college coaches make in their recruiting – this spring and summer, one of the best investments in your process that you can make is in a test prep course to max out your potential on these standardized tests.
- Similarly, develop a baseline for some objective measurements – 60-yard dash, exit velocity, overhand velocity, broad jump, etc. These will improve as you continue to develop physically, but this should help you gain an understanding of your strengths and which areas might require more attention.
Once you get a baseline, you can not only see where you may stack up “tools-wise” against your peers and age group, but also develop a plan to build on this foundation and improve your metrics in measurable ways.
- Focus on your on-field development. This upcoming summer is a key time in your recruiting process, as many of you will start gaining exposure to college coaches. Use this time to build your on-field identity so that you can take your game to the next level once it’s time to hit the field.
- Build a list of schools you’re interested in and continue to research them to learn more about these programs. The more you know about these schools and why they are the right fit for you, the easier you’ll find it to connect with these coaches when you meet them this summer. Demonstrating genuine interest in a school will help you stand out to coaches, and putting in the time now to educate yourself will put you in a position to succeed later in your recruiting process.
Class of 2022
- Create a list of some of the features you’re looking for in your ideal college. These can change over time as you develop a better idea of who you are as a student-athlete, but these initial criteria will help you get started in your college search. Begin with broader search parameters and narrow it down later in your high school career.
It’s important in the early stages that you don’t start from a list of schools, but from a list of qualities – like what sort of setting (urban, suburban, semi-urban, rural) or size school would make for your best college experience. Targeting this list of qualities rather than a list of schools, helps remove the label blinders that can get in the way of finding the best fit. For example – though the appeal of the “Ivy League” label is considerable, there’s not a lot else that those schools share: a half-public university of 15,000 undergrads in upstate New York (Cornell) has very little in common with a school of 6,700 in the heart of Cambridge (Harvard), and a university on the Upper West Side of Manhattan of 6,000 students (Columbia) offers a very different college experience than a school of 4,000 in rural New Hampshire (Dartmouth).
- Fill out the questionnaires for colleges that are on your target list. While coaches will be focused on the 2019 season and DI schools are restricted from having “recruiting-specific” conversations until September 1st of a student-athletes junior year, this helps put your name on their radar early in your process.
- Plan a few visits to schools that you know you’re not interested in. This might seem counter-intuitive, but it will help you refine your list of qualities that you’re looking for in an ideal school. By visiting a campus that you are not interested in and forcing yourself to identify something that you liked about the school, you can then use this list of qualities to vet the schools that are on your list.
- Continue training for the upcoming high school season and look for as many opportunities to play as possible. We also encourage you to keep an open mind about trying new positions. Coaches love recruiting players that are versatile and can contribute in multiple ways. Early in high school is the perfect time to keep an open mind about this, especially if it gives you more chances on the field.
As you continue your search for the ideal fit at the next level, remember that every student-athlete’s recruiting process is unique, and you will ultimately need to decide what steps are best for you. We hope the tips above provide some guidance in your recruiting process, and be on the lookout for more recruiting tips over the next few months.