For most young baseball players, their high school coach is probably their biggest influence in the game. For those with goals of moving on to the next level, the time spent over those four years is crucial to developing as a player. Coaching at the high school level can be a thankless job at times, with long hours and little compensation in return. Some coaches desire to take an active role in helping their players get recruited, others do not. At the end of the day the onus is always on the player to make their goals happen, but for coaches looking to help, here are a few easy ways you can help your players through the recruitingprocess:
1. Start Early
The easiest and most basic thing a coach can do for a player who wants to play in collegeis to get them thinking about the process as early as possible. Not early as in junior or sophomore year – more like the first day they make the team. There are kids that fall through the cracks every year simply due to the fact that they don’t put themselves out there on time. Waiting until your junior or senior year to start taking recruiting seriously puts the player at a real disadvantage. Obviously a player hasn’t “proven himself” and all of that in their freshman or sophomore years – maybe they haven’t even made varsity yet – sorecruiting may seem like looking way too far ahead, and most players probably aren’t polished enough to start contacting coaches on their own at that point. Not to mention it’s hard for coaches to vouch for players they don’t really know. However, things like starting to research colleges, stressing the importance of keeping grades and test scores up, and getting educated on NCAA rules and the recruiting process are things that coaches can stress to all players from day one.
2. Create a Program
At the high school level, recruiting can be all over the place. Having players bombard you asking you to contact schools, or scrambling to collect stats, grades, etc. when a collegecoach calls you can be a pain for busy high school coaches. The easiest way for coaches to handle recruiting for their players is to put a program in place and follow it equally across the board. Have players fill out paperwork with their vital info and with a list of schools they are interested in. Set aside a practice for running the 60 and recording throwing velocities if you have a radar gun (could even be done at tryouts). Use a scorekeeping service likeGameChanger to compile detailed stats electronically. Doing things like this will basically create a ‘file’ for each player. In our experience, it’s must easier to have a file ready on a player when a coach asks about them then having to track the kid or his parents down and ask them 20 questions. The same is true if a player asks you to contact a coach on his behalf, you will already have that info at your disposal. Filling out a questionnaire from a coach can be a nightmare if you aren’t prepared with all of the info. Having a program in place for gathering info, and letting the players know it’s for them in recruiting, can make the process much more efficient and less of a headache.
3. Get Connected
Some coaches are well connected, others are not – that’s just how it is. A big part of collegerecruiting is building relationships, not only between the players and college coaches, but probably more importantly between high school/travel and college coaches. This is how ‘pipelines’ get started. College coaches really like getting players from high school programs that they trust and know that graduates players who are ready for the next level. As a high school coach, it’s crucial to start reaching out to coaches on your players behalf. They may not recruit every player you contact them about, but at the very least you will build a rapport with them, which could help the next player down the line. Now, this doesn’t mean every coach should start email blasting college coaches about everyone on their roster, because it doesn’t help if you hurt your reputation in the process. If a player is serious about being recruited and is interested in a school, there is nothing wrong with contacting the coaches of that school and letting them know. Also, because of NCAAcalendar, college coaches can’t contact players directly at certain times, and often do portions of their recruiting through the players’ coaches. Reaching out and building relationships with college coaches is key for high school coaches helping their players through the recruiting process.
4. Be Flexible
One of the biggest things a high school coach can do to help their players get recruited is really doing nothing at all, except for being flexible and working with them. There are some high school coaches who require their players to play on specific teams in the summer and in the fall, or else suffer some sort of consequence. Others suspend or bench players who miss a practice, regardless of the reason. Players need to play on the best summer team they can, attend showcases and camps, and visit colleges. Unless there are some extreme circumstances, holding players back or punishing them from doing these things will not help them in the long run. As long as the player is working hard and doing the right things to help their career, be flexible and encourage them to do those things!.