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The Recruiting Scene - Part I

11/23/2016, 12:15pm CST
By Adam Barta, Minnesota Blizzard

... a brief overview of some key elements in recruiting - PART I

Blizzard - Recruiting Do's and Don'ts, advice and first steps

Annual Blizzard Recruiting Seminar at Securian Club @ CHS Field

As you navigate through a new age of recruiting that includes multiple showcases, advising, earlier signings and the ill-advised 'D-I or bust' world, the stress grows and players and their parents are asking themselves "Is this all worth it?"

In short.  YES!  It's baseball - the best game in the world!
However, you are stressing about the wrong things.  You're putting the importance of certain criteria like your 'ranking', the number behind the "Division", and what everyone else is doing above what you should be searching for - the right fit that has three ingredients.
*Quality of life
*Finding the best baseball fit
Below is a start and some bullet points to some of the keys that student athletes flat out over look and ignore in the recruiting world that is seemingly speeding up. 

The 3 Biggest Factors in making a decision 
 ...hint #1 and #2 are more important than #3!

When weighing any important decision, start asking the big questions first.  Too many student-athletes are asking complicated questions when they only freshman and sophomores!  "Should I get an advisor?"  "What Division I should I consider?" "Which showcases should I go to?"  Yikes.  No wonder you're stressed out.

Start asking yourself the "quality of life" questions first.
How far can I live away from home? is a good place to start.  Most players say they
want to get out of here.  It's too cold and I want to go south.  While this may be the case for some, consider your distance from your family, future job connections, is this a place I could live the rest of my life? 

Would I go to school here if baseball wasn't in the picture?
What size school is a good fit for me and why?  How big are the class rooms?  How much interaction will I have with my professor?  Is the school in a rural or urban setting?  What is the type of environment do I want to live in for the next four years?  Could I live the rest of my life in this city?
This subject is usually brought up last rather than starting your search here.  If you don't have an 'academic path' or a major, no problem.  Sometimes it is easier to start whittling at your dislikes first.  I would also recommend taking a personality test.  It's a good way to help guide you in your potential major and academic path.

3.5 GPA and 25 ACT.  While these are not magic numbers for every school, it's a good goal for every student.  There is an academic fit for everyone (even if you don't have a 3.5/25) and it is important to know that your academics is where most coaches start their search.
Think of your Grade Point Average as your Get Paid Average.  The MONEY you are awarded in college is typically going to come from your academics over your athletic scholarships.  Get Paid Average - GPA!  Keep up with your grades!   
That number is more important than your 60 time or how hard you throw. 
Take your ACT early, often and with confidence.  The average increase when taking the ACT a second time is 1-3 points.  That can be the difference in thousands of dollars!

Remember, not every school offers athletic money and if you think that is your ticket to pay for college, you are wrong.  While it can be impactful for some, everyone can benefit from good academics.


Finally, right?

I do upwards of 100 college consults (for free) every summer and throughout the fall for players inside and outside of our program and I recently received a great, yet simple question, I had never heard before ...

Who decides who recruits me?

Great question!  The question has two simple answers.  The first answer is YOU determine who recruits you.  Really.  You do.

You are the one who decides how hard you work on baseball.  You are the one who decides how hard you work on your academics.  You are the one who knows if you can live outside your city or if you want to stay close to home.  YOU decide all of that.

The second part to that answer is: the college coaches decide.

The question was a simple one with a simple answer however players have a tendency to overthink the process.  Where do I rank on this website?  I have to do these five showcases.  I have to have an advisor to get recruited.  I have to play on the top team to get recruited. 

All of those things play such a minor part in the grand scheme of things that sometimes we forget to focus on the things that we can control: our attitude, our effort and our preparation.

Be prepared and be realistic with yourself when it comes time to think about college or professional baseball.

Here are 10 pieces of advice (out of 100!) and questions to ask yourself when it comes to college baseball.

1) Find a school who is going to get you better at your craft.  Find out who their hitting coach is, pitching coach, catching coach, etc.  How long has the staff been there?  Has there been a consistent changing of the guard in the baseball program.  Challenge and ask specific and detailed questions on their program and the process in which they improve players.

2) Who else is playing my position?  If you happen to be a shortstop and there are two sophomores in the current middle infield and four incoming middle infielders it is time to be realistic about your chances to be recruited and play at that school.

3) How big is the recruiting class in my year?

4) Find out what other people have to say.  The Blizzard has over 300 players who have gone on and played in college and pro ball.  Every one of those players is available to you to answer questions about their recruiting process and what it is really like to play for that coach or for that team.  Ask players who have been there!

5) Are you going to have any chance to compete for any type of playing time as a freshman?  If a coach tells you that you are coming in and hitting 3-hole and starting at shortstop your first day, buyer beware!  Run away!

6) Is the school you are interested in competing for a conference championship, regional berth or a College World Series year in and year out?  Maybe you want to be a part of the rebuilding process.  Maybe you are okay with going to a school and having the chance to play right away even if that means you don't win right away.  Is playing more important than winning or the other way around?

7) What kind of fall and off-season programs does the team have - if any?

8) How many kids have transferred out?  How many junior college transfers come in every year - if any?  Players who transfer in from another school come in to play, not to sit the bench.  If you are a returning sophomore and there are six 21-year old players who show up in the fall, your odds of playing just went down.  Look at past history.

9) Under what circumstances would my athletic scholarship be taken away or increase? (outside of academic or getting in trouble)  For instance, if I get hurt, would my athletic scholarship be at risk?  Is performance a factor - good or bad?  Is my scholarship guaranteed over four years?

10) Remember, you are recruiting the school just as much as they are recruiting you.  While it may not seem like you have the upper hand, it is up to you determine that the qualities that are outlined above (#1 Quality of Life, #2 Academic Fit and #3 Baseball fit) are all satisfied before you make your decision.

The Recruiting Scene - Part II
will cover showcases, communicating with coaches and how to pro-actively start the recruiting process.
-Coach Barta!

About the Blizzard

The Minnesota Blizzard is the most successful traveling and club baseball program in Minnesota and among the top select teams in the Midwest winning 63 national tournaments and placing in the top four 159 times since 2003. 
The Blizzard draws players ages 10u-18u from all around Minnesota including Albert Lea to Duluth and also has had several players from the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin and even Canada. 

Our coaches, led by owner, Adam Barta, features former 87/91 World Series winner, Al Newman, Joe Loftus (Vanderbilt/DBacks), Mike Loberg (SF Giants), Lonnie Robinson (SP Saints), Jesse Tollefson (Assoc. Scout, Blue Jays), Derrick Peoples (LA Dodgers) and many other top-tier instructors and coaches.
Over 300 players have committed to play college baseball and another 40 have been drafted in the last ten years.  It is one of the most well-respected programs in the Midwest and has garnered attention from Kare 11, ESPN 1500, Fox9, Channel 6, the Star Tribune and the Upper Deck Report among others.

Our vision and values of the Blizzard Big 5 drive our core values, guide players through their youth years, into high school and onto both college and professional baseball.
Play with the best in the state against the best in the country.  Blizzard Baseball.

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