Managining the Fall College Recruiting Calendar
One of the things that I get asked quite frequently about by our baseball athletes this time of year is in regards to communication with college coaches. The first thing I commonly address is how well the athlete understands the restrictions placed on college coaches during the annual recruiting calendar and what that means as an impact on their communication. Also, it's important to understand the time of year and how the coaches schedule and on-campus requirements for managing their current team impacts this process.
Understanding the NCAA Baseball Recruiting Calendar
Key Understanding: (Courtesy of BeRecruited.com)
- "A Contact Period is when almost everything is allowed. You are able to meet with a coach off campus (during senior year only). That could be during a home visit or other type of meeting. The coaches are also allowed to come and watch you play."
- "A quiet period occurs when a coach at an NCAA institution cannot have any in-person contact with a prospective student-athlete or their parents outside of the colleges campus. Coaches can't go to see any of the athlete's sporting events or their practices."
- "During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period."
The Fall-Winter Collegiate Calendar Overview:
With most of the early to late summer occupied on the road evaluating up and coming talent followed by the much needed time off before getting back on campus to welcome the new and returning players to campus, the fall is about developing their team. Yes, there is absolutely still an emphasis on recruiting this time of year as the "Arms Race" never truly stops. But, this is the time of year where coaches are primarily focused on evaluating and developing athletes on field. In the Northeast and other cold weather states, this time goes by extremely fast and is invaluable as much of the work is limited to cages and turf once November hits and coaches are limited to "Indy time" or limited individual and group work. Once their athletes head home for winter break, their next organized team workouts will be roughly 21 days prior to their first game of the season.
Division I, II and III all have different fall "cycles". Depending on the level, some teams opt to not play fall games against other schools/opponents as that will impact their ability to play the maximum game schedule in the spring. Often programs will spend the bulk of their fall practicing and competing against each other in inter-squad settings. Coaches are having to design and reinforce practice concepts and team strategy, evaluate incoming and returning talent, setting up spring travel and game accommodations, manage official and unofficial visits, etc 6-days per week.
What does this mean for you? 4-Areas of Focus:
1) Let the process take it's course: As I have outlined above, the communication process isn't as simple as many people are aware. Aside from NCAA limitations, there is a lot of time being spent on developing the current team identity, something that changes year to year. Be patient. I believe your ability ultimately funnels you into where you profile as a player. Sure, guys get missed or evaluated improperly... that is part of it. But, you have to be willing to let the process take it's course. Being overly-communicative can also be a "turn-off".
2) Get on Campus: Engage in some face-time with the coaches you want to create exposure to. If you are being actively recruited and have had pre-established communication this will give you an opportunity to see the campus and possibly view a practice/workout or attend a prospect camp. You will get a strong idea of team culture from this point of view and have an opportunity to create some valuable face-time. DI programs will initiate visits when appropriate given the contact period behind. For DIII programs, there are other opportunities to see the campus and get a feel for the flow and feel such as campus tours. This will be one of the first and largest financial investments of your life, get to know what you're investing in!
3) Get some video: If you haven't established any communication and are looking to make an impact, a short (2-min maximum) video with some tangible data points is a great starter. Most of the impressions that are made are within the first 30-seconds of a video. This allows coaches to get a feel for movements and actions based on the video and it is a good way to introduce yourself as a potential prospect. If you can add information such as velocity or times to provide actual quantitative information, this may help as a separator.
4) Invest in your preparation: College coaches recruit athletes with potential to compete at their level based on skill set and their academic rigor. If you are working to create more exposure for yourself, you need to assess where you are as a student-athlete and work to address the barriers to entry. If you don't know where you fit, find someone with experience that can offer an honest evaluation to limit the "clutter".
Did you find this article helpful? If you wish to work with us on your college recruiting process, please contact me. We are happy to help.