Recruiting – the process that everyone talks about and no one gets a straight answer. Do you ever wonder why? This is not an easy process and there are many factors to take into consideration.
The first part of the process is to identify how talented your son is, and can be. This process is not as complicated as one might think but it gets distorted when you get input from many sources.
What position does he play? For colleges pitching is the priority most of the time. That means money being spent is done on that position before any other. Next in line are shortstop, catcher, and center field. If your son is not one of those positions, the bat is a huge priority; he must hit. College coaches’ jobs are on the line today, they can’t take chances on ability. They are already taking risks because they don’t know what kind of chemistry the team will have with new players each year. For pitchers in college, Friday night starter is the number one guy! The average fastball needs to be from 88-91 mph. That would be a RHP; for a LHP it would be 87-90 MPH. That is what most schools are looking for, and hope to get. The more notable the program, the easier it is to achieve those goals but it’s generally the standard.
The other positions all have guidelines as to what is expected and what they are going to shoot for the entire time. If your son does not meet those guidelines and you still pursue that school and he does not improve, don’t be surprised when they recruit another kid at the same position over him.
The next item is look at the roster of the current players and find out where they came from – high school or junior colleges. Some coaches like high school kids and others prefer junior college kids. What grade is the kid at your son’s position and is he doing well, graduating, injured? All of those should factor into the recruiting questions you ask. There also needs to be a personality fit with the coaches where you know what they expect and where he fits in and most of all – competes.
Next would be is it an academic fit and how well will he handle the school and the social process with school work and baseball. SAT scores and grades tell you a lot about study habits, a 3.0 and an 1850 usually means he is smart but lazy! The 4.2 and a 1550 usually means he works hard and over achieves. That is a part of what we see in school records and this is a known factor. I also think that choosing a college based on baseball only or school only is not wise. The same goes for how you like the coach. He may not always be there when you finish your baseball career so really look closely at your choices and your expectations. What degree or what possible degree is as important to this process as the coach! You will probably spend more time in that arena than a baseball uniform so THINK before you choose. The last thing in this is parents and kids need to be on the same page for the college experience to be a success. Too many parents are trying to guide the ship and not listen to their son. As much as parents needs to “guide” their children, they also need to let them make some of the choices, and even mistakes. Unless you plan to go to college with them, they need to be more comfortable with the decision than you do.
Quakes Baseball Academy helps get kids into school by finding a good fit academically as well as athletically. There are a number of factors that go into choosing a school and we try to find a school that supports both the student and the athlete. This process is done by Coach John Elliott personally, for each and every athlete who plays in our program for at least two years. That is the key; he needs to have a very good sense of who they are as a person as well as an athlete. He can only give a good recommendation to a coach once he knows what that coach is looking for, and then he can assess the fit from the athlete’s side of the equation.
There are a number of things that he looks for in a player. First and foremost is hard work. This is the number one attribute that tells him he is interested in a future in baseball, not just something that his parents or someone else wants him to do.
Players and parents also need to understand how difficult it is to play for a school in Southern CA. Unless you are a draft type player out of high school, there are a limited number of athletes who will be able to play in a Southern CA baseball program. The number of baseball players in the country is enormous, so give yourself the best opportunity to play in college by widening your search. Also be open to suggestions because things don’t always go the way you want in this process. At times Coach Elliott will find a great fit for a player and that player has his site set on something out of reach, and then they miss out on a great opportunity. Remember, D1 is good but certainly not the only way to go. There are a great number of other colleges that have great baseball programs. Make sure you are looking wide, not just at the top ten schools. This is a group effort and the suggestions go both ways. Please be patient and open your mind to the process and you can and will find the right and best fit!