The showcase business has long been profiting off of parents who so badly want to do what’s best for their sons’ futures but don’t have a grasp on how to navigate the recruiting process. Before we get into the reasons why you should do your homework before paying for a showcase, let us be crystal clear that players can, and do, get recruited at showcases. To say otherwise would be a lie. It’s also true that there are trustworthy companies who provide exposure to college coaches at a fair value. But make no mistake about it, there are others that make money by stoking parents’ fears and perpetuating myths including the idea that any exposure is good exposure, rather than providing the services parents think they are paying for.
This is exactly why you need to know your son, his ability (skill set) and have a realistic and honest third party evaluation (in hand). If you can afford to send your son to a showcase, there is nothing wrong with his attending, but understand that it will only be beneficial for his recruitment if he already has skills that are "recruitable" and even better if he is already involved with these coaches. (meaning they have already seen his video and had the chance to cross-check).
When evaluating a showcase and for the purposes of this email, let’s assume that you are going to this showcase to gain the attention of the college coaches that will be in attendance.
Use this as a checklist - once your answer is a no, then stop and you can assume that this particular showcase is not for you.
Can you play at any of the programs attending?
If the answer is no - it’s not worth it - Do not attend!
Can you get accepted at any one of the colleges attending?
Are you interested in any one of the programs attending?
Have any of the programs attending already seen you play?
If so, are they recruiting you?
If yes - you ask them directly if you should attend? Are they recruiting your position?
If not - Do not attend
Reach out (via email) to each of the Head Coaches attending
Ask if he is attending this showcase?
If yes - send video and ask if he feels it’d be a good idea for you to attend
If no - Do not attend
Important - NEVER just show up at a showcase with zero interaction with any of the college coaches that will be in attendance. Build a relationship or at the very least be sure that they know you exist, have seen video and have had a chance to cross check you. That’ll give you much more bang for your buck. If you do not want to (or won’t) act on the checklist above - then don’t attend. If you do - you are wasting your money and time.
Now, if your goal of attending the showcase it to be on the field with college coaches to learn from and have the opportunity to ask questions of these coaches, then that is completely different. Remember, these coaches are being paid to be there, so they are being paid to teach you their trade, whether it be an infield coach, a catching coach maybe a pitching coach or a hitting coach, whatever it is, they are being paid for the expertise in that area.
If you goal is for the experience of doing it and being in front of those coaches - then evaluate if it’s in your budget and does it fit in the family calendar - if yes, then go for it - but DO NOT expect anything to come from it on a recruiting basis, more of a life experience.
Let’s break down a sample showcase letter
You have been recommended to me to receive an invitation to the Showcase and Camp that will take place on Tuesday, June 4th at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, AZ. This event is designed for those players who want to work directly with college coaches on the field and have the desire to play at the next level. Invited players are recommended by several ways including our relationship with coaches, prospect research, and exposure from other events previously attended. What that really means … John, we bought your name from another scouting event and, since you bought into that event, we figured we would try our luck to see if you’ll pay for ours. OR ... John, we bought the scout packet from a tournament a few weeks ago and will solicit over 10,000 players hoping to get 1% of those people to register for our event.
We have partnered with great Division I baseball programs that will be on the field evaluating and working with players. Our current list of schools who are committed to attend are as follows:
University of Arizona – 2016 College World Series Runner Up
Stetson University – 2018 NCAA Super Regional
Texas Tech University – 2018 College World Series Participant
Ohio University – 2017 NCAA Regional Participant
New Mexico State - 2018 NCAA Regional Participant
University of San Diego
We have learned that if we add D1 college coaches to our list we will get three to four times the level of interest, which allows us to raise our fee. But we are sure that’s ok with you because … hey whatever it takes to get in front of a D1 coach, right?
As the event gets closer, we will also be adding other area colleges as well. If we fill the event and want to go over capacity, we will add coaches based on how many additional player register - remember it’s a business, we have to be able to pay our coaches who attend
In addition, those players who attend our Junior Day Regional events can qualify to be selected for our Junior Day National Showcase that will be held at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD in early August. This event, which is just outside the Washington DC area, is one of the best national showcases in the country as 84 players from around the country will represent three regions over two days of play in front of several quality NCAA baseball coaches.
If you play well, we will invite you to spend more of your money and do it all over again but this time in Maryland.
Here’s the deal guys - Here is a quote from a D1 college coach “ I am the head baseball coach at a D1 school in the west. I am just giving by honest opinion, on this as I have been asked several times. I do not wish to put my view on you, only voicing my opinion, for whatever that is worth. I think that they are expensive and most of the kids that attend are not going to receive scholarship money. It is a pipe dream for the parents, (and a money maker for the directors), who continue to hand over there hard earned money for these showcases. If your kid is good they will find him. Don't worry there are very few diamonds in the rough out there. Please parents save your money, play summer travel ball, fall ball, send videos to schools of interest, get on a few college campuses and that will do a lot more than what you think.
I think that all kids can play at some level, and that's what they should spend their time on, finding a place to play. Not trying to impress some D1 scout that is looking for his 25th and 26th signing this year. Please don't take this the wrong way, I am in it because I love the game and I do not like to see the kids get hurt.”