Fall Teams, Tournaments & Showcases
As the Fall schedules are announced and players are re-joining or searching for another team to move to ... remember this ... and this is extremely important. If college coaches do not know you exist before any tournament, showcase or season they will not know you exist after unless you contact them. Last year I was sitting with college coaches where a pitcher faced 9 batters and struck out 6 of them, walking none and giving up no hits and because they were there watching a catcher on the other team and a middle infielder on that pitchers team - they didn't really notice nor were interested. Why?
1. They already had enough names of pitchers in that grad year on their recruiting board to see
2. They didn't know anything about that guy on the mound (grades, character, what happens when the chips are down, what happens when the ump squeezes him and so much more)
3. They didn't have any time to do all of their background research on that guy - he missed his chance because they did know about him earlier.
The point is not whether or not your kid is better than another kid, the point is whether your kid is the right fit for what their program needs at that time and it takes years to find that.
Seniors - your high school season does not count, by the time your high school baseball season starts most coaches will have already filled their recruiting class with the only real exception being junior colleges and some of the less academic NCAA D3 or NAIA colleges. So this is your last "hur-rah." For juniors, it's really your time to perform as coaches who have known you exist and are getting a last look at players that they need to bare down on through the high school year as well as next summer. For freshman & sophomores, those talented enough to play at the D1 level - this is the time college coaches identify you and start to follow you. It is funny and this might be the most important tidbit to take from this piece ... I speak with parents every single day and so many believe that since college coaches can't talk to you until their senior year and can't contact until (recruit in writing) until their junior year then that is when they start recruiting. WHAT? Do college coaches just turn on the recruiting faucet of qualified names? How do you think they got those names, how do you think they narrowed those names down, do you think they just call random seniors? Of course not, they work their butts off identifying, watching, following, cross checking with area coaches and scouts to eventually get to a good list for their college. This takes YEARS. They are going to offer the right player a scholarship that will be worth thousands upon thousands of dollars, do you think that just happens in one weekend?
It's important to know the recruiting calendar ... and when you do, the first thing to do is eliminate the senior season. Even if you are a D3 guy, you are submitting those applications in the fall/winter of your senior year. If you are a junior and you think you're good enough that college coaches will come see you then, (remember they have their own seasons at that time) they will probably need to have seen you sometime in the fall before to justify spending that kind of money and losing one of their own coaches during their season just to come see you play. So reality is most D1 and D2 college coaches have their names to follow before you begin your junior year of high school. That makes your freshman and sophomore years incredibly important in getting you name out there and on recruiting boards so you have a chance to be seen at these fall events.
Even if you think you will be attending a D3 or NAIA college, you'll need to be identified and on their list no later than the end of that year. This is why it is not unreasonable to visit colleges during your freshman and sophomore years. Think about how little time you will have to do this when you are a junior or senior, it just makes sense to do it before then ... so you can have other options during your junior and senior years.
Closing thoughts ... Get the right coaches from the right colleges at your games - do not pay all this money to play in these events and "hope" someone sees you. I have attended each of the Fall Classic's since they started in 1996 and I can tell you with confidence that there will be more than 600 different college coaches and scouts in attendance throughout the four October tournaments in Peoria. There will be 60+ teams at each event and each team will probably carry at least three players in your position. That's at least 180 players all in your position in your graduating class. There are 12 games going on at the same time, which means 24 players in your position playing at the same exact time. As a college coach, how am I supposed to "find" you. Hopefully you can see the importance of not wasting anytime for these college coaches. Every single second they get in Peoria is valuable.
It takes the process of identifying, connecting, watching video, cross checking, evaluating, watching more video as a college coach, THEN if I still like you as a player, I will get your schedule and just pray that you are not playing when others guys on my list are playing. All this does not even bring to light the organizational skills of the team you choose to play for in the Fall Classic or any tourney. Do they give you the times you are playing before hand, do they understand what the purpose of the fall is ... imagine the players who have done all this work and the college coaches who have done all this work only to have a club coach not be organized to create a schedule of playing time to make it work for both the player and the college. Be sure to select the right team. See who is out there by clicking here
All this being said, what can not be over looked or put on the back burner during this time of exposure and throughout the entire year are keeping up your grades and keep up your physical training. You still need to be good!