|6 Common College Baseball Recruiting Myths and Misconceptions
By Chris McKnight, Worldwide Baseball Prospects Mentor/Coach,
Associate Scout, Philadelphia Phillies,
19 Year NCAA Collegiate Head Coach,
Former Chair of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee,
Vision Training Specialist
As a former 19 yr. NCAA college baseball coach, I have had the opportunity to speak with many student-athletes and their parents on a wide variety of topics, ranging from the recruiting process, to academics, and ability. During this period, I have tried to assist the students and their parents by giving them correct information with regard to the above topics. Unfortunley, a lot of myths exists in the baseball world and as coaches; it’s our responsibility to help educate the parents and their sons to help them make smart decisions.
Let’s take each one of the topics and look at some common misconceptions:
1. “I can wait till my Senior year to start looking at Colleges”
- Myth-100% yes!
As a baseball student-athlete, the earlier you can begin your recruiting process, the more successful you will be in choosing the “right school” for your 4 year academic and athletic career. I advise students to start making a list when they begin high school. Put 5 dream schools you would love to attend, 5 schools that you think you could gain admission to and 5 safe schools, schools you know you could get into with no problem. See what schools offer a camp, either during the break or in the summer and make a list of which ones you would like to attend. Enlist the help of your high school coach or summer coach to narrow your choices based upon your ability and academics.
2. "If I’m good enough, the coaches will find me."
Unless you are the pitcher that in high school is throwing 90mph or the position player that is hitting over .500 and plays his position like a big leaguer, you need to market yourself correctly. One of the easiest and best ways to get yourself in front of college coaches is to attend specific showcases and clinics (and school sponsored camps) where the schools you want to attend are present. I recommend attending these programs when you make your varsity team. For instance, if you are a sophomore playing on the varsity team and have a good idea you want to go to school on the east coast, look for camps and showcases that will feature coaches from this area. It does you no good to attend showcases in the Midwest if that is not your first choice. Second, get ready to send out a resume with a cover letter and DVD to at least ten schools. Include in the packet your high school and/or your summer league schedule, a short clip of you hitting/pitching/playing the field, and a letter of recommendation from a professional scout or instructor. I would also include 3-4 references from coaches whom have seen you play.
3. "I don’t know if I’m good enough to play in college"
- Myth-100% wrong!
I believe that there is a college program right for every player. But, as we said before it takes some work on the part of the student-athlete and the parents to find the right fit, academically and athletically. Ask your coaches for their opinion on your strengths and weakness. Attend as many camps and instructional programs as possible. If possible, get private instruction and have that coach give you an honest appraisal of your skill level, and most of all, have a goal and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough.
4. Academics - "If I’m a really good player, the coach will get me into school"
Coaches want players whose grades are just as good or better then the player’s athletic ability. Nowadays, with all of the emphasis on the NCAA APR and the consequences for programs not living up to those expectations, coaches are looking for the combination of the best of both worlds- Great grades and athletically talented players. When do you start working on your grades?-NOW-start developing good habits (just like in baseball) and they will carry over for you in your academic career. Too many players wait until their junior or senior year to start taking the grades seriously, and by that time it’s too late. Have a plan for each semester and utilize all of the resources available to you to help you achieve excellence in the classroom. Coaches are looking for players who will remain eligible for their four year career. No one wants to recruit a marginal academic player and have to worry each year if they are going to be able to play.
5. Size - "I’m too small to play at the next level"
- Myth-100% wrong!
Size plays no factor in your desire and athletic ability in baseball. I hear this all the time from players and coaches looking for an excuse. Some of the best players in major league baseball- Willie Mays-660 HR’s, Carl Yastrzemski-452 Hrs, Roy Campanella-242 HRs, Mel Ott- 511 Hr’s-Rickey Henderson, Craig Biggio, Kirby Puckett, Mickey Mantle, Edgar Martinez all of these great players have one thing in common-they are all under six feet tall! What counts is your athletic ability, and the size of your heart.
6. Velocity for Pitchers - "I have to throw 90mph or better to be a very successful pitcher"
If you are able to throw 90mph and have great movement and control, will that hurt your chances on becoming a very successful pitcher? Absolutely not, but velocity is not the only key to being a great pitcher. I believe you need to have Control, Movement and last, velocity. Throwing hard does not instantly make you a good pitcher. You need to have sound mechanics, very good control of your pitches and the ability to make your ball move.
So there you have it from a former 19 year NCAA College Coach, 6 common Myths about what it takes to play at the College Level.
If you are a parent or player who is in need of direction and some guidance with a plan of action to help facilitate your development and recruitment timeline then please click here .