How do I get noticed by a college coach or pro scout?
As a recruiting coordinator for a Division 1 college baseball team, I get that question a lot, and it’s a good and valid one. The key is that before you can get noticed, you first have to be seen.
Being seen means getting yourself in front of the people who you want to see you. Being noticed is all about your ability to play the game and play it right.
So how do you get seen by a college coach or pro scout?
First is the traditional and effective route of camps and showcases that are frequently held by colleges and private organizations. Of course, attending these events, and using other traditional recruiting services, costs money.
Which leads to the second method: online. With the explosion of technology and social media, there are many more ways to be seen. You can utilize video, text messages, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even YouTube. Plus, almost every college program uses some sort of social media platform.
So let's take a look at these two methods for being seen.
Camps and Showcases
First, what is the difference between camps and showcases?
A camp typically provides specific skill instruction by a coach or camp instructor, and it includes individualized instruction and attention. You'll often breakdown skills with drills and live repetitions.
Meanwhile, a showcase is designed for the prospect to display his talents through position-specific activities. These may or may not include live competitions, and typically no skill instruction is involved.
These institutional camps and showcases are typically both run through a specific college or program, and they are often at their facility. As I mentioned in a previous article, you first need to identify the schools that fit you and your family's specific needs, wants and talent level. Once you identify those schools, attending camps or showcases at these schools will give you an opportunity to:
• Get in front of the coaching staff to display your talents and skills
• Interact with the coaching staff
• See how the program is run
I would recommend going to as many of these as you can. However, they will all cost money, so you might need to prioritize the different events you’re interested in.
Showcases and camps run by private organizations can also be very beneficial. However, there are a few questions I would be aware of are: 1.) Is the company claiming to market you as a prospect? 2.) How are they going to do it? 3.) Will there be college coaches in attendance?
There are a lot of these types of companies. You need to do your research on them and decide which one best fits your needs.
Technology and Social Media
In today's world, technology and social media are second nature to high schoolers. Use them to your advantage. For example, almost everyone has an advanced camera on their phone. Simply take videos of yourself working out. Some keys to keep in mind:
• Show yourself hitting, fielding, pitching, running, etc.
• Take shots from different angles
• Live game footage is also good
• Videos should be two to three minutes long
• Save them to YouTube or a similar site
• Have links available to email or text when someone requests them
• Email the videos to the coaches at the programs you are interested in
• Make sure there is no unwanted background commentary
You can also use social media to post videos, pictures of you playing, or articles about you. That said, be CAREFUL what you put on social media. Recruiters scour potential recruits’ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other accounts for signs of character and morals, or the lack there of. It’s tough and might not be fair for a teenage kid, but what you put on social media is branding who you are.
Another tip: If you are interested in a team, make sure you follow its social media accounts. They will likely follow you back. Also, follow some of their current players and see what they are posting about the program. This is a great way to start getting a feel for how the program is run. But be aware that these programs, like you, are using social media to market themselves, and so they are only posting things that reflect positively upon the program.
Ultimately, if you are a recruit trying to get your name out there to coaches, I'd recommend taking an all-of-the-above approach. Attend as many events as you can, whether it be an institutional camp or a private company's showcase. Use video, and have it available to send out. And utilize your social media to help get yourself on a school's radar and to gather information on them.
From GameChanger and Andrew Morgan. Morgan is an assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator at Murray State University. He has been coaching baseball at various levels since 2004.