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Talking to College Coaches

Hopefully this fall you showcase well at a tournament, showcase event or camp.  If you catch a college coach's eye they typically will circle you and reach out that week.  Some coaches will reach out asking you to fill out a questionnaire.  Free advice, always fill them out.  Some schools use a questionnaire as a screener.  They only recruit the kids who respond because they don't have time pursuing kids that show no interest in their school.  At some point an interested coach will reach out to you.  This could be via mail, e-mail, text, social media for some levels, a phone call or they might even be waiting for you outside the dugout when your coach releases you.  Keep in mind all levels have different contact rules.  It is best to let the coach approach you at an event.  If the opposite happens you might be putting them in a tough spot since they might not be allowed to speak with you.  Whether it be in person or in writing here are some simple things to keep in mind.  

1.Never rule a school out until you get on their campus.  Give everybody a chance.  You never know what you will think until you see the campus with your own eyes in person.  Respond to everyone and everything.  If you have 10 major D1 offers on the table, then maybe you can be more selective.  If not, you can never have too many offers or get recruited by too many schools.

2.Hear what each Coach has to say.  If in person listen first and ask questions second.  If in writing read everything the Coach says.  It probably won't be too lengthy and will only take a minute or two.  

3.Check your e-mail, text messages and voicemail daily.  If you have voicemail make sure it is not full.  If you are on social media check for direct messages daily.  If a coach reaches out to you respond ASAP.  Like I said before, a lot of coaches don't have time to waste on kids who do not seem interested.  Responding quickly shows interest where not responding or takings days or weeks shows little to no interest.

4.In 2019 most people have embraced social media and have accepted that it is here to stay.  I would imagine almost every High School student and every College coach are active on some platform.  With that being said it is important to be careful with it.  Anything you put out there can be used to formulate an opinion of you.  With college coaches this can get you crossed off or can keep you on their list.  Eventually employers will look for your social media, so learning to be careful with it now will bode well for you down the road.  Almost all coaches want to recruit simple, humble, hard working kids who will be good teammates.  Bragging about every offer you get or visit you go on will not help with this image.  I recommend keeping your offers and visits off social media.  Many college coaches will respect this.  

5.When a Coach asks you if have any questions it is good to have a couple.  A couple, not 35.  Remember most college coaches want simple, humble, hard working kids that will be good teammates.  They are also looking for players who take direction and don't question everything a coach asks of them.  Minimizing your questions will help with this.

6.Don't ask about gear.  No matter where you play you will get it.  The major D1s will have more than the small private D3s, but they all have what you need.  This should not be part of your decision process.  One famous coach who recently passed was quoted as saying, "We want guys who drink out the water hose."  Asking about gloves, bats, shades etc. does not show a coach that your priorities are in the right place.  

7.Don't ask for an offer.  If they want you, you will get an offer.  If you are patient and visit the offer may come.  If it does not you can simply ask what is the best way to get financial aid from their school.

8.No matter what questions you ask, you will get the same answers from most schools.  They all have weight rooms.  They all strength train.  Most of their players live together.  They all have academic support.  They all have scout days.  Here are a couple of questions that the answer will be specific to you.

"After evaluating me, what parts of my game do I need to improve on in order to be successful in college?"

"What part of my game prompted you to reach out to me?"

"Where did you see me play?"

"In college do you see me needing to change positions?"

9.Most families tend to ask questions about travel, academic support, finances and student life.  These are all important.  However you want to get to know what type of coach they are on the field.  No matter what position you play I recommend you ask the coach the following.

"What is your hitting philosophy?"

"What is your pitching philosophy?"

"What is your team offensive philosophy?"

10.Talking with a college coach in the recruiting process is kind of like a first date.  Probably everything is going to sound great.  Remember if they want you they are recruiting you.  When you go and play for someone the honeymoon is over.  I recommend you try to watch a practice and a game if possible.  Try to get as close to the field as possible in order to listen to what coaching is going on.  Those are the personalities you will see day in and day out on the field.  Sometimes they are much different then the personalities that recruited you.  

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