How To Get Recruited To Play Baseball In College
Dreaming about college baseball? Let us help you through the murky waters of college baseball recruitment. Follow this guide to understand the ins and outs of college baseball and how to get recruited. We will lay out the recruiting timeline and make sure you stay eligible to play.
Where to Start
So, you are a high school baseball player and have decided you want to play college baseball, but you are confused about where to start. The recruiting timeline for college baseball can be confusing and different for each athlete. The best place to start is by researching colleges that interest you academically, culturally, socially, and athletically.
Understanding The Different Divisions
Now that you have a list of colleges you are interested in, it’s time to understand the different college divisions you can play in.
The NCAA is composed of most of the well-known colleges you are probably familiar with. It is divided into 3 divisions, each with slightly different commitments, these include:
- Division 1, is the top division and most competitive league to play NCAA baseball in college. This is for athletes who are dedicated, hardworking high school baseball players who are ready to devote their time and energy to playing college baseball. Playing Division 1 baseball you get to compete against some of the best college baseball players.
- Division 2 is the next division to play NCAA baseball in college. This division is still competitive and you have more time off to balance your academics with baseball. If you're an athlete who wants to compete at a high level and have some extra time for your academics and other hobbies, Division 2 could be right for you.
- Division 3 is the lowest division to play NCAA baseball in college. If you are looking to continue your high school baseball career into college and have time for other opportunities outside of baseball this could be the right fit. By playing Division 3 baseball you get the chance to pursue more of your interests outside of athletics in addition to getting to play college baseball.
The NAIA is composed of less well-known colleges usually with smaller campus sizes. The competition at these schools is usually comparable to the NCAA Division 2 schools. If you are looking for a college experience with a good balance between baseball and your academics look no further!
The National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) is divided into Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3 much like the NCAA. Athletes attend two years at a junior college completing an associate's degree and then have the opportunity to transfer to a 4-year university to complete their undergrad.
If you are a high school baseball player who is unsure you are ready to compete at the college baseball level you can gain a lot of game experience playing at an NJCAA school since their roster is solely freshman and sophomores. Maybe your grades were not great in high school and you want a couple of years to improve them before attending a 4-year university, this could be the right fit!
Explore Your Options
Every high school baseball player is different and you can decide what kind of experience you want as a student-athlete playing college baseball. Choose a division that aligns with your goals and aspirations for college. You don’t have to limit yourself to pursuing one division, take your time and explore your options.
Follow Baseball Eligibility Requirements
If you have decided to pursue schools in the NCAA Division 1 or Division 2, you must follow the NCAA academic standards for eligibility requirements, this includes
- Graduate from high school
- Complete the minimum 16 core courses
- Earn a minimum GPA in core courses of 2.3 for Division 1, 2.2 for Division 2
- Earn a qualifying test score on the ACT or SAT
- Request your final amateurism certificate from the NCAA Eligibility Center
To be eligible for an NAIA school you must graduate high school and be in good academic standing. With NJCAA schools the only requirement is to be a high school graduate.
Now that you understand the different divisions and you are following the eligibility requirements, the next step is to create your film to show college coaches. In Baseball coaches are not looking for game film, instead, they want to see a skills video.
Set up your phone or camera to film a stable video that will be easy for coaches to watch. Now it’s time to show off your best skills and traits and why they should recruit you! The majority of college baseball coaches are looking at skills videos for mechanics, speed, athleticism, power, and body language. Here are some tips for your video
- Put your best skills at the beginning of the video
- Make sure you are the main focus of the video
- Dress appropriately, game attire if desired
- Do not over-edit the video with effects, keep it simple
Now you’ve got a skills video and a list of colleges you want to send it to, so it's time to contact the coaches! Remember to be proactive, college coaches are busy so it's up to you to stay on top of communications.
One way to contact a coach is by emailing them your skills video. Along with the video, you should introduce yourself, make sure to include your name, position, high school, club team, and your graduation year. Next, if you have strong academics be sure to include your test scores and GPA. Then tell them the highlights of your baseball career. This is where you can mention statistics and awards you have gotten. Finally, you should mention why you are interested in the school and team and give your contact information.
You can also contact coaches by filling out questionnaires which are usually found on the team's athletic page through the school. These are great to get on the coach's radar and show your interest, especially if you have strong statistics.
If you are contacting an NCAA Division 1 or NCAA Division 2 school make sure to abide by the NCAA baseball recruiting rules. There are certain periods where coaches are not allowed to have contact with high school baseball players. It’s always good to start early and contact a coach to get on their radar even if they are not allowed to contact you back yet.
- NCAA Division 1 coach can contact high school baseball players starting September 1st of their Junior year
- NCAA Division 2 coaches can contact high school baseball players starting June 15th after their sophomore year
NCAA Division 3, NAIA, and NJCAA coaches are not limited to contacting recruits and can do so at any time.
Attend Recruiting Camps
In addition to contacting coaches through emails and questionnaires, you can also attend recruiting camps. Each college baseball team usually hosts a recruiting camp each summer as a way to recruit high school, baseball players. This is one of the best ways for an athlete to get to know the college, baseball program, and coach. You can usually find specific information about a team's recruiting camp on their athletic page or by contacting the coach.
Attend Showcase Tournaments
In addition to recruiting camps, another great way for a coach to see you play is at a showcase tournament. If you play on a club team you have probably been to a handful of tournaments and maybe even some college showcase tournaments before too. These are tournaments specifically for college coaches to attend and scout players. If your team is attending a showcase tournament here are some steps to follow before you go,
- Look up the list of coaches that are attending the showcase tournament
- Contact the coaches from schools you are interested in
- Let them know your game schedule and interest in their program
- Play your best, show your work ethic, and positive attitude
- After the showcase, if you have not gotten a response back, send a follow up to the coaches you contacted
Understanding Athletic Scholarships
At this point, you may have started to get some interest from college coaches. Some may have offered you a spot on the team, and others might have offered you an athletic scholarship too!
The NCAA Division 1, NCAA Division 2, NAIA, and NJCAA can offer athletic scholarships to athletes, the NCAA Division 3 does not. Most baseball coaches offer partial athletic scholarships to athletes in varying amounts. In some circumstances, a coach might offer a player a full-ride athletic scholarship for baseball but it is rare. In addition to athletic scholarships be sure to check your eligibility for academic scholarships at the school too.
The recruitment process can be tricky and challenging but hopefully, this guide has helped clear up the process! Be sure to check out Ryan Weiss's coaching program and his other training programs to elevate your game.