I'd say half my time in the Blizzard program is spent in the winter with soon-to-be-college players and families working through the college process. Sometimes it is a long process. Sometimes it is "boom", done! Everyone is different.
We set goals including going through our "Big 4 Factors" that include:
- Quality of Life
- distance from home, city (population, social life, activities, etc.), weather, size of school / size of classroom, basically...would I go here if baseball wasn't a factor?!
- What are my current grades and how does that fit into with where I want to go to school? Does this school have my intended career path? Most of you don't know and that's okay.
- Where you look for school or how you choose it may depend on your academic aid, athletic aid, total tuition. Your options for school might depend on how much YOU have to pay for or how much family is willing to help out. Usually, it's a combo of both :)
- What is the best baseball fit and what is important to you in a baseball program?
- Do you want to win? Do you want to play as a freshman? Sometimes and most of the time those two things don't go hand in hand.
- Are they filling a hole with you?
- Do you 'jive' with the coach?
- Who is getting you better at your craft? Catching coach, hitting coach, pitching coach, etc?
- What does their strength program entail?
- How important is culture, team chemistry, etc.?
I do my best to explain to high school players the differences between a "prospect", "recruit", "guy on the team", and a "guy who plays on the team". You'd be surprised how many don't know the difference between a player who throws "90 on Twitter" and an actual pitcher who knows how to command their pitches and get outs.
There are a lot of nuances to the process and with the transfer portal being the wild, wild west, recruiting - especially at a higher level - took a turn for the worse as the loyalty factor and how rosters are put together have changed dramatically.
But with all the complexities of recruiting, playing at the next level requires a certain amount of dedication to filling out questionnaires, calling coaches, postings on social media and 'getting out there'. It also includes knowing what questions to ask on a visit either to the coaches, players or former players. While the list below could go on for several pages, this is a quick snippet of some things to consider when talking with a coach during your first couple of phone calls, emails or visits.
Thanks for reading and #BlueLove
BASEBALL VISIT QUESTIONS
- Is this scholarship an annual renewing scholarship?
- Under what circumstances would this offer go up or down?
- Under what circumstances would this scholarship go away?
- Is my scholarship still valid if I get hurt and can’t play?
- Does the offer you made me cover tuition? Does it cover tuition, room and board? What "specifically" does it cover?!
- How many players are you recruiting at my position?
- How many players have transferred out in the last 4 years and why?
- How many players have transferred out LAST year and why?
- How many players do you recruit off the transfer portal?
- How are you handling covid eligible players?
- What’s the big sport on campus?
- How many freshman players at my position are you looking at bringing in and do you recruit JUCO players?
- What does playing time look like for freshman?
- Do you red shirt freshman?
- What kind of off-season workout and baseball programs do you have?
- What do you do in the fall time?...practice, scrimmages, travel?
- What does the team do together outside of baseball…campus/baseball life?
- Who are the top teams in your conference?
- What are your goals as college baseball team?...win conference?, win a regional?, go to the World Series? What are the biggest obstacles to obtaining those goals?
- Are there any assistant coaches who play my position?
- If you prefer catchers that play another position, what other position should I focus on?
- Do you take a spring trip? How much do you travel?
- Where are the indoor practice facilities and can I see the field?
- What specifically are you looking for in my position---characteristics
- Physical size
- Hitting for power/average/
- Velocity/movement/2nd pitches
- The ability to play another position?
- Utility, etc.
- What is the graduation rate for college baseball players?
- Do you have study table?
- Do you have my major?
- What if I have to miss a game or practice to take a test?
- How many players qualify for aid (academic, grants, scholarships, etc.)
- What is dorm life like? Do I have to live in the dorm my first year or can I live off-campus?