To get recruited to play college baseball, high school student-athletes must put in a lot of hard work to keep up their grades and continue to improve their game. But that is only the beginning of the recruiting process. Many student-athletes believe, “If I’m good enough, coaches will find me, and I’ll get recruited.” The reality is that student-athletes need to be just as engaged with their college baseball recruiting process as they are dedicated to mastering their skills on the field.
College baseball recruiting is extremely competitive. There are about 34,500 college baseball players, but only about 5,400 baseball scholarships! That’s why it is important that student-athletes and their families get proactive and not procrastinate when it comes to getting the recruiting process started. It is time consuming and can be frustrating. But families need not be intimidated by it. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide that can be used to prepare for each step of the college baseball recruiting process and to navigate its many milestones along the way. What is AAU baseball?
Below, we have outlined the major sections of our baseball recruiting guide for easy reference. This information was created by our team of former college athletes and coaches who have experienced both sides of the recruiting process. We’ve included their expert insider tips to give families a competitive edge and help recruits find the college baseball program that is the best athletic and academic fit for them.
Two of the most common recruiting questions are: “When can a college coach contact a student-athlete?” and “When can a student-athlete contact a coach?” The NCAA regulates the way coaches can recruit athletes and under what conditions recruiting may be conducted so there is no improper communication. There are specific periods when college coaches can and cannot contact an athlete and their family. So, while an athlete may be able to contact a coach, the coach may not be allowed to respond. This section includes the latest college baseball recruiting rules and recruiting calendar, helping to ensure a smoother journey throughout the process for student-athletes and their families.
What key measurable are coaches looking for in their players? How do recruits stack up to college players? How does the position they play impact recruiting and the chances for a scholarship? Student-athletes can use this information to fine-tune their list of target schools and better determine which program and what division level is a good match for them while improving their chances of earning a scholarship. Our team of former baseball coaches and athletes created a set of positional guidelines to help athletes determine at what division level they are best qualified to play.
According to Forbes magazine, college is one of the top five expenses that can consume half of a family’s lifetime earnings. Finding ways to help ease that financial burden is a top priority for families looking to stretch their college dollars. Full-ride baseball scholarships are rare. Baseball scholarships themselves are limited and vary depending on division level. For example, for a 30-player (or more) roster, Division 1 baseball programs have only 11.7 scholarships to award; Division 2 programs have only 9. Division 3 schools do not offer any kind of athletic scholarship (but merit financial aid is offered). In this section, we’ll cover baseball scholarship opportunities and the most successful strategies for landing the best and most realistic offers.
According to a 2018 NCSA survey, college baseball coaches primarily begin evaluating recruits in their sophomore and junior years of high school. Tournaments, showcases and camps are the major sources of recruits. But student-athletes cannot count on a college coach finding them. They must be proactive in communicating with coaches and diligent in following up. Otherwise, chances are they will not be on a coach’s radar when it comes to identifying recruits to evaluate.
How does a student-athlete go about identifying schools they would consider attending? What information should be included in a subject line to get coaches to open an introductory email? How long should a skills video be? What is the best type of event for student-athletes to showcase their skills in front of coaches they want to impress? From the first family discussions about playing baseball in college to National Signing Day, there are specific milestones and benchmarks to reach during the recruiting process. This baseball-specific information alongside our college recruiting guide is a winning combination to give you the best chance to achieve your college roster goal.
This section focuses on one of the essential tools recruits must use to market themselves and heighten their exposure with college coaches. Coaches cannot be everywhere to scout recruits and an effective skills video serves as that all-important first look. Baseball coaches are more focused on a player’s skills than they are game footage. What should be included on the video, and what should not be included?
Get filming tips for each position for a baseball recruiting skills video that will make that first impression count. But once athletes have created their video, what’s next? How do they get coaches to view it? Where should they post it? What is the most effective strategy to get it in front of the coach?
As we mentioned earlier, college coaches primarily use showcase camps and travel team tournaments to evaluate the recruits they’ve identified. It is important that student-athletes put themselves in front of coaches in game and showcase situations. It is a great way for them to gain experience, improve their skills and update their stats.
Families are presented with many camp and tournament options, but which event is the best platform to demonstrate their talents and skills? Should student-athletes prioritize attending a national showcase in hopes of gaining exposure or attend the camp of a college program in which they are interested? How much money should families be prepared to spend on camps or showcases? This section breaks down the differences between each platform to help families make an informed (and economical) decision and give their student-athlete the best opportunity to get evaluated by a college coach.
Having a strong support system goes far behind what happens in a student-athlete’s home. By enhancing a student-athlete’s “team,” families can ensure that their child is undoubtedly prepared for the next level.
Boarding schools are often a major focus for families, as they have built-in support systems already established upon enrollment. Our partner, IMG Academy has a team of experts that focus on each individual, including academic teachers, college placement advisors, experienced coaches, Athletic & Personal development staff, on-campus mentors and more.
When a student-athlete feels supported, they’re more confident and better equipped for next-level success. IMG’s college-preparatory environment mirrors that of a collegiate environment as well, so the collegiate schedule and lifestyle is already ingrained in them upon high school graduation and beyond.
Within IMG’s college-preparatory environment for 6-12th graders, as well as gap year student-athletes, athletes will:
As we’ve seen with previous baseball student-athletes, supplementing NCSA’s services with a boarding school experience at IMG Academy can completely transform a child’s preparation for playing collegiate baseball.
There are roughly 1,700 college baseball programs in the United States, but how do student-athletes determine which one is best for them? A common mistake student-athletes make is focusing solely on their sport and not considering the social and academic aspects when applying to colleges. It is important to consider the big picture; would they be happy at a particular school if they could not play baseball? Student-athletes need to honestly evaluate whether a school is a good fit academically, culturally, socially and athletically.
In this section, we present lists of all colleges with baseball programs, broken out by division level, conference, city and state. We also break down NCAA Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3 schools, as well as NAIA schools and junior colleges, to present recruits with an overall view of the student-athlete experience, expectations and cultures at each level.
Many recruits, parents and coaches focus on getting ranked by various organizations in order to get publicity and get discovered by college coaches and professional scouts. Some of the most popular rankings are Perfect Game, Baseball Factory, 247 Sports and Baseball America.
There is no doubt that being a highly ranked recruit on these websites is great exposure and will go a long way toward getting a recruit discovered. All serious recruits should get verified numbers and attend at least a few showcase events. However, athletes should not put all of their recruiting hopes on getting highly ranked. Very few athletes are going to have the elite skill set to break into these rankings. For most, finding the right college fit is going to require a more direct approach of reaching out to the schools they are interested in.
Insider tip: Despite the impact that coronavirus had on college sports, as of June 1, 2021, the NCAA resumed its regular recruiting rules and activity! Coaches are actively working to fill their rosters, so student-athletes should be proactive in reaching out to coaches. Read up on how the extra year of eligibility granted to athletes who were most affected by the pandemic in 2020 will impact future recruiting classes.