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by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

If a player and his family are fortunate enough to be asked by a college coach for an "in home" visit it is at first flattering and exciting. Then it turns into confusion and questions.

The first thing that comes to mind are the unimportant items; "we need to make sure the grass is mowed", "what will we serve for refreshments?", "should we get the carpet cleaned?", etc. You get the idea.

The truth is that none of the above items are as important as preparing a list of questions, for the coach. This should be done as a family. Don't trust a 17 or 18 year old kid to make a list of questions.

First of all realize that the coach is very interested in your son if he is asking to make an "in home" visit. Your home is a good place for the meeting; it will offer your son the comfort of familiar surroundings. He will feel more at ease. Don't move the meeting to a local restaurant or the coach's office at the high school. Restaurants tend to be noisy and you will feel rushed. The high school coach's office (or other school location) is not a comfortable location for most players, and usually unfamiliar territory for Mom and Dad.

The following is a list of ideas and suggestions for questions;

  • What does the coach think your son's college playing position will be?
    Many coaches will avoid this question, or skirt around it. This is because they want to see the player in action with his current players before making a decision.
    Don't be surprised if you do not get a straight answer to this question.

  • How many players is the school recruiting at your son's position?
    This is important for pitchers too. For example, no parent would want to put their son in a position where the school is going to bring in 5 right-handed freshman pitchers.

  • How many scholarships does the school have available. Remember for NCAA Division 1 teams there are only 11.7 scholarships allowed. (NCAA Division 2 has a total of 9)

  • Ask if the school "funds" all 11.7(D1) or 9(D2) scholarships. If a school does not fund the total allowed by the NCAA it will give you an indication of the school's commitment to the baseball program

  • What are the living arrangements for incoming freshman student-athletes?

  • Does the baseball team have its own strength and conditioning coach?

  • Are there an academic advisor and/or tutors designated for the baseball team only?
    Do the academic counselors travel with the team "on the road?"
    Is there mandatory study time when on the road?

  • Does the baseball program have a policy on "red shirting?"

  • Some schools offer a 5th year of scholarship assistance - some offer an "extra" year program - ask if the coach's school has this program

  • Ask the coach about the length of his current contract-- how long it is -- when was it renewed last?

    How long have his assistant coaches been with him?
    Some turn-over in college baseball assistant coaches is common, but be alert to a program that has had (for example) 3 pitching coaches in the last 4 years. This could indicate trouble with the chemistry of the coaching staff.

  • Ask about the credentials of the coach responsible for your son's position? What other schools has he been at, his own playing experience, etc.

  • How secure is a player's scholarship?
    Remember all scholarships are one year at a time
    Will the player's scholarship remain the same for all four years? Is there a possibility of it being increased? Decreased?

  • If your son is a position player and a pitcher ask about the coaches feelings on "2 for 1" players.
    Ask about former players that have both pitched and played a position.

  • Ask about the make-up of the current team roster. How many players came in as freshman, how many were junior college transfers, and how many (if any) were transfers from another 4 year school?

  • If your son knows what he would like to major in (academically) ask about the strengths of that schools program. Ask if it would be possible for an advisor in your son's major to send some information to him. Follow up on this detail will tell you a lot about the coach.

  • What percentage of players on scholarship graduate in 4 years?
    What is the team's "grade point average?"

Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. This will show the coach that your family is truly interested in his program.

Ask for the coaches email address. You will undoubtedly think of other questions - this is an easy way to ask them. Coaches can only call once a week (by telephone) but they can email a player as often as they want. Offer the coach an email address that he can use to contact your son.

If your son is genuinely interested in the coach's school ask about an "official visit". If the coach is hesitant to offer one it may be an indication of his true interest in your son. It may also be an indication that he is trying to get your son "for a reduced price". Don't be offended by this, it is the nature of the college recruiting game. NCAA schools are limited in the number of official visits that they can provide.

Finally the coach may make an offer to your son during the "in home" visit, conversely he may not. Don't read too much into the process either way. If an offer is made it is usually a good idea to ask for a short period of time to "talk it over". Don't wait too long or the coach may go to the next player on his list. Two (2) weeks is usually an acceptable period of time.

Next Up -- What makes up a "Good Offer?"

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