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About Internet Recruiting Services

by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

Are they worth the money? Do college coaches really use them?
Here are some facts and key points to consider.

Each year more and more college coaches are using the internet as a tool in the recruiting process. Does this mean that more coaches are browsing the "net for potential players?

The answer is a resounding .... NO!!

At the past American Baseball Coaches Association convention this issue was raised before the attending membership. Only one coach raised his hand and admitted that he used the "online" recruiting services.

The most common response that I have received -- when asking coaches whether they use these services is this:

We do not recruit any player that we have not seen IN PERSON.

Here are a few more reasons that these services are not a good value:

  • Some services post a player's profile on their web site and that is the end of it
  • Many online recruiting services list numerous schools as using their services. The real truth is that they have issued 100-200 college baseball programs a "free" access number to review their data base. The players fees are the funding source of the business
  • Most college coaches put no credibility in the profiles that these services offer -- Due to the service having never seen the player. All information is from the player, parent or high school coach. It is then passed on without verification
  • Several (many) college coaches have told me that they receive 20 to 30 unsolicited player profiles per week from these services. Most admit that they never even look at them.
  • Many are sent via fax machine -- with no school name, coaches name or any other "personalized" touch to them.
  • Some of these profiles are sent to a coach via email. This is a "big hit" with the coaches -- Imagine finding 10, 15, 20 or even 30 new emails in your "in box" each with a player profile document attachment. Can you imagine how long it will take your phone line modem to receive all of those emails? Not to mention just trying to read each one of them, if you wanted to.
  • Many of the "online" services solicit players in all sports, both men's and women's athletics. As we all know it is impossible to be all things to all people. However it is necessary for these firms to cover many sports to create enough income to be a via business.
  • College coaches are aware that these internet recruiting services use the "shotgun" approach to marketing.
  • Players are asked to give the service a list of "X" number of schools that they are interested in attending. These can range from 25 to 100.
  • Other services claim to send the player's information to all 500+ college baseball programs!
  • If you do not send the information out yourself can you really be sure that the information was correct? Did it have the current coaches name on the information, etc.

If a player and his parent's target 25 to 50 schools, that he is seriously interested in attending, and then write a personal letter to each coach the cost of this will be between $40.00 and $50.00. This is not taking any labor costs into the equation.

The key element here is to be realistic about the player's ability and make sure the information is sent to baseball programs that fit his skill and potential level. While it is nice to receive a letter and/or questionnaire from LSU, Miami or another "top 40" school ... is it realistic that your player can compete at that level? Be honest.

A good recruiting effort is time consuming ... why waste your time and postage, as well as that of a college coach and his program. Keep in mind that some programs will send out as many as 500 questionnaires, each year. Shotgun marketing in reverse!

I have reviewed recruiting service web sites that charge as little as $25.00 and some that are as expensive as $350.00. And then there are some that do not place their costs on the web site. A prospective client must call a telephone number for more information. "Translation" it is very expensive and a sales pitch will be required!

I do not have an axe to grind with any internet recruiting service, have never used one .... Do not begrudge them a right to provide these services and make a living doing so.

However ... It is my opinion that they are not a good value to a high school player and his parents. If they have never seen your player IN PERSON and do not have a valid credibility in the baseball community chances are good that the college coaches will not take their information seriously. Many times it will end up in a trash can -- UNREAD.

For another article on this subject follow the link below:
Recruiting Services

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