Recently, we’ve been talking about ways that student-athletes can stay at the top of their game over the summer. Here, NCSA Athletic Recruiting’s head baseball recruiting coach Jason Smith discusses one way high school baseball players can maximize their recruiting this summer through baseball showcases.
Attending showcases can be a great way to perform in front of a large number of college coaches.
However, just signing up and attending the event does not guarantee college coaches will be actively evaluating your skills. At some larger events, there can be well over 200 recruits participating.
For one college coach to evaluate 200 recruits in one event would be an extraordinary accomplishment. And it can be tough as a recruit to “stand out” at these bigger events. Below are five steps to follow so you can maximize your exposure at showcases.
1. Select the right event to attend.
Performing in front of a large number of college coaches sounds great, but they need to be coaches at realistic programs and universities. For example, if you are a junior with a 2.5 grade point average then attending a showcase with only Ivy League coaches is not advisable.
Make sure that you have legit interest in the universities as well (not just the baseball program).
2. Research the rosters of programs attending the event.
Review each player currently on the roster at your position. Look for similarities in size, location, and high school awards or successes. You should see similarities within each roster. If you are a similar size, from a similar location, and feel you can develop a similar high school resume of the current players on roster, then this program may be a good fit athletically.
3. Personally contact coaching staff by email before attending the event.
Make them aware of your interest in the university and the baseball program. Alert them that you will be attending the upcoming event. Provide a coach reference (with contact information) for the college coach to connect with prior to the event if needed.
During my eight-year career as a college baseball coach, I always had a short list of recruits to evaluate at each showcase I attended. Typically this list included recruits our staff had previously evaluated or those we knew had interest in our program and were at positions of need.
If you’re not sure which kind of programs you’re interested in, NCSA offers tools to help you sort college opportunities.
4. Do your best at the event and work toward your strengths.
For example, if you are a speedy outfielder then avoid trying to hit a bunch of homeruns in batting practice. Learn from my mistakes as a former speedy outfielder that didn’t hit many homeruns.
Remember to hustle from station to station as college coaches will be watching more than just what happens on the field.
5. Follow up with another email the week after the event.
For juniors and seniors, you should be asking direct questions about your performance and next steps in recruiting. Find out where you stand with these programs. Underclassmen need to be aware of two contact dates: June 15th after your sophomore year and September 1st of your junior year.
June 15th is the first date Division II coaches can call, email or text you about recruiting information.
September 1st is the first date Division I coaches can do the same. If you are contacting coaches at these levels before these dates, then avoid asking direct questions since they cannot answer them yet. Instead, reiterate your interest in the program and plan on sending monthly update emails to keep the coaching staff aware of your successes on the field and in the classroom.
It’s never too late — as long as you’re showing interest in coaches and programs.
Following these five steps will put you in the best position to maximize your investment in any showcase. Do not sign up for an event and just hope to impress coaches with your skills. There are many quality recruits out there, so do what you can to separate yourself from the pack.
When academics and athletics are equal in a recruit, a college coach will move forward quicker with those who have been showing real interest in their program and university. This process can be started at any point in your high school career. Get after it!
Recruiting experts like Jason are here to answer all of your questions about your personal path to playing baseball in college. Get started with a recruiting profile.