BASEBALL PARENT MAGAZINE
Many questions -- some trivial -- other not, will occur to you before,
during, or after your campus visits. Will your son have anything in
common with the student-athletes he meets ? Will he be able to handle
the snowy winters at the school, or would he rather play in the south
with its longer playing seasons? Does the coach have a vision for
your son ... for his playing time, his position, and his potential?
Your son's high school coach may send the first letters expressing
your son's general interest in certain baseball programs during his
sophomore year. Then the coach may call a few college coaches. Next,
you or your son will call those coaches to arrange visits. After all,
even top college coaches may spend an hour with you talking about
their baseball philosophy, the university, and their recruiting
If your son's an "ace", he'll probably be able to command time from
a college coach most anytime. However, for players who may not be
impressive on paper yet, an informal trip to a college sometime
other than during the spring baseball season or fall workouts might
assure a better chance for an audience with the coach.
Prepare your questions in advance. Does the team have a mandatory
study hall off-season? Do tutors travel with the team to away games?
If your son misses a class, will the coach let him play the next game
anyway? Do players have to be in by midnight? Even in the off-season?
Talk to your son about the questions he should ask. As a Southern boy
will he be happy in the Snowbelt? How far does he have to walk to
Coach him on how to present himself to the point of reminding him
to sit up straight during the interview.
After visits, recruits, may regret not having talked to players away
from coaches. That's often the best way to get a feel for what their
future teammates are like, to gauge their views of the program, to
find out what their practices are like, or to discover how much
running the team does in practice. Players can make visits and like
the baseball program, yet have little in common with the players
College coaches and pro scouts talk to each other about players.
Prospective players never know who a coach might know. For this
reason, keep as many doors open as you can by having your son take
all calls from college coaches and respond promptly to all
questionnaires, even though there may be no possibility he'll
attend that school.
The Unofficial Visit: It's never too early in your son's high school
career to begin visiting colleges and assessing their baseball
programs. The more information he gathers about various universities,
the more informed he'll be when it comes time to make his decision
about what school to attend. For example, at one school, he might
be eligible for academic aid, while at another he might struggle
just to meet their academic standards. You may learn that a coach
can submit a list of "preferred players" to the academic office as
early as September, whether or not the coach is allotted an
"exemptions" for lower-than-normal SAT scores, and what positions
he's now recruiting.
A coach may suggest you meet him at the baseball field rather than
at his office. By doing so, he can give you a five-minute briefing,
while also giving you the "once-over" to determine whether the
meeting should be continued or whether he should end the conversation
after a short, polite visit. If you're asked back to his office,
among the many things you may hear about are the first-rate players
the school has received commitments from for the next season, who
their backups are, and who the backup's backups are. But keep in
mind that such plans can change. Some prospects get drafted, others
decide at the last minute to attend a different school.
The coach may say he will keep an eye on your son, he may say he'll
try to see him play, or he may say that a lot will depend on the kind
of season your son has during his senior year.
Baseball Parent Magazine