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Are Showcases A
Waste Of Time?

Reprinted from the HSBBWeb Message Boards

Coach Johnson posted on 12/19
Showcases are a waste of time?

I am the head baseball coach at a mid size school in the west. I am just giving by honest opinion, on this as I have been asked several times. I do not wish to put my view on you, only voicing my opinion, for whatever that is worth. I think that they are expensive and most of the kids that attend are not going to receive scholarship money. It is a pipe dream for the parents, (and a money maker for the directors), who continue to hand over there hard earned money for these showcases. If your kid is good they will find him. Don't worry there are very few diamonds in the rough out there. Please parents save your money, play summer travel ball, fall ball, send films to schools of interest, that will do alot more then what you think.

southpawmom posted on 12/19
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

I think it depends entirely on the situation. If you have a kid that goes to a school were baseball scouts don't come, then you need the showcases for exposure. It simply is not true that they will find you. Maybe they will find you if you high school coach has connections and he makes phone calls but that's about it. I also believe you can send lots of letters but that doesn't necessary mean that school will be interested in you. Chances are they will sent you information about their camp because they want to SEE you. Now a showcase is a good way to be seen but the issue is are you there because mom and dad think you are good enough or because you really are good. You go to a showcase to be seen but thee college coaches and scouts and they are really evaluating you and if you don't get something you keep trying because it takes one coach to make a match. Personally I think the best bet is to try and get an honest assessment of the kids ability and send him to camps at colleges that may be a fit. This gives the college a full week to look at him and is the best bet. But back to showcases, they do work as my kid got several offers and has only been to two showcases, but accepted a college whose camp he had been to and none of these places would have been to see him so he went to them.

TRhit posted on 12/19
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

Is that mid size school a high school or a college? if it is a college what division is it?

How long have you been coaching?
How long as a head coach?

BBMOM2002 posted on 12/19
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

I hear you but how do you explain the notations of about 1/2 of the player questionaires that my son has received to date that have the showcase noted either at the top or bottom of the form? Several have T96 (my guess is Top 96) the other have had Select (College Select?). These were the 2 showcase he attended as a Soph.

playerparent posted on 12/19
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

I agree that showcases CAN be a waste of time and money. If a player is seen by scouts and colleges in his regular schedule, then a showcase may not give him any additional exposure. In my son's case, he was injured in his jr. year and had a solid but not exceptional spring. He had written a few schools and got the usual form letters back (with camp info), but he received NO real interest. In the fall season he played in a very good wood bat league that culminated in a local showcase with some of the area jr. college players. He performed well at the showcase and within two weeks he was contacted by 3D1s, 1D2s, and 6 jcs (he has received offers from all 3 that he has visited so far). And oh yes, he was visited by the mlb scouting bureau and 2 mlb teams. All from a local showcase with limited attendance by scouts. All of these scouts and coaches said they saw him at the showcase. No one strategy works for all kids, but in my son's case, I think it is possible that he would not have had the opportunity to be seen and noticed without this showcase. (at the very least, he made up for lost time of his jr. year). He now has been invited to a "national" showcase and will attend. Try telling him that showcases are a waste. The bottom line is that talent and ability rule, but someone must hear that tree that falls in the forest.

BeenthereIL posted on 12/19
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

I disagree vehemently with Coach Johnson. I have some connections so I would suppose that that would put my son in a category where he would not need to be "seen".

However.... It is IMPORTANT for him to compete against the best in the local area, region; and, yes, in the country, if his aspirations are to play professionally or at a major D1 school.

I have no vested interest in any showcase, nor do I know any of the men/ladies that run these showcases personally. It seems, however, from talking with most parents who have sons who participated in several different kinds of showcases, it was well worth the few hundred dollars for the exposure which resulted in a greater amount of interest shown by the various schools/coaches who attended the showcases. Of course, as the Coach suggests, some have had their bubble burst. Isn't it better now than later?

There are several posters who have had their sons "noticed" and have received far more substantial college offers than would otherwise have materialized if they sat at home and waited for the phone to ring.

My guy is looking forward to next spring and summer. We'll see how his spring and summer go this year (he's only a freshman) and that will determine whether he is invited as a result of his own "on field" performance; or, whether we have to spend an additional few bucks to go to some of the showcases to get him "noticed"

As a matter of fact, we will be traveling a bit over the holidays to a hitting camp and to see campuses...and be back in time for Christmas dinner at 2:00 p.m., on the 25th. Just father and son.

Scdad posted on 12/19
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

If as a parent you can afford to send your son to national type showcases, I certainly would encourage you to do so. My son attended, even after committing in the early signing period, in order to determine how he compared to other national talent; as it turned out, it gave him confidence for his summer season with a higher profile traveling team. As with most issues, there is no right answer for all. In parting- in defense of MOST showcase promoters, the love of the game is the driving force, not monetary rewards.

Gary19 posted on 12/19
re: Showcases are a waste of time?


Just curious. Why are you visiting campuses? I know your older boy is done with school, and the latest one is just a freshman. Do you have another child that is a junior or senior? Seems a bit premature to be visiting for the freshman.


Showparent posted on 12/20
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

Coach Johnson, it is amazing to hear you say such a thing that showcases are a waste of time being a high school coach. I have seen over 100 kids receive college scholarships due to exposure at showcases. It sounds to me after talking to a few high school coaches that alot of them have the same beliefs as Johnson, but yet half of the ones I have talked with have never even attended a showcase. It sounds to me that because of Showcase High School coaches are loosing alot of credibility. I know when they recruited my son they did not even talk to the high school coach, and I don't blame them. Before my son attended the Best of the West Early Signing Showcase at Loyola Marymount California no one was really recruiting him, by the time he left the showcase he had a SCHOLARSHIP at Loyola Marymount University. The money I spent was well worth the results and I recommend to all players if you get a chance to attend a good showcase go! Coach Johnson I don't know what type of coach you are but if you are not having your best players attend showcases then you are losing out. Remember when one of your players do well at a showcase it brings recognition to your program which enables you to have more players recognized. Again, if it wasn't for the showcase we attended this fall my son would have probably missed the opportunity to play college baseball.

Coach Johnson posted on 12/20
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

I am not saying that you shouldn't attend a showcase, but why repeat edly. If you have gained the necessary exposure ( that is why you are there) why waste the money on multiples. For everyone that comes away with a scholarship from these, there are very many that don't. I have seen too many kids go to these camps and come away with nothing. Then turn around and go again the next week.

I think that all kids can play at some level, and that's what they should spend there time on, finding a place to play. Not trying to impress some D1 scout that is looking for his 25 and 26 signing this year. Please don't take this the wrong way I am in it because I love the game and I do not like to see the kids get hurt. In addition, I do not believe that high schools coaches are losing credibility, As a college coach I talk to them all the time.

I do value there opinions.

BeenthereIL posted on 12/20
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

Showparent...Great post. If you've got a couple of bucks, use them on your son!

Gary...We're on our way to a 2-day camp and decided that we would do a "whirlwind" tour of a few major college campuses before Christmas and his required return to Chicagoland for basketball practice. We should see: Kentucky; Tennessee; Georgia; Duke and North Carolina... who knows...maybe Ohio State, Indiana and Purdue on the way back.

TRhit posted on 12/20
re: Showcases are a waste of time?


Quite an ambitious schedule for a lad so young, is it not? After all he is but a freshman.

Hope the kid can handle pressure because it is beginning to become a pressure cooker.

And his "required" return for basketball !!! Now now !!!!!

I thought I drove my kid hard-- I was a saint compared to this !!
Have a happy !!!!

Gary19 posted on 12/20
re: Showcases are a waste of time?


Don't mean to gang up on you, but I do wonder. At least in Cleveland, basketball is in mid-season. Why leave for baseball now and neglect roundball? Who is requiring your son to attend practice, and how was he able to be excused for this trip? Maybe he should be thankful, no HS coach in this area would allow it (nor should they). Would the baseball coach allow him to miss time in May for a basketball camp and visits to colleges along the way? At least here, I don't think so.

I won't even get into your choice of colleges for a freshman to visit. Ambitious isn't the word. By the way, since when is eight campuses "a few"?

Gary19 posted on 12/20
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

Back to the topic. I more than understand the potential value of showcases from the time I have spent on this site. HOWEVER, I do wonder about the obsession with attending as many showcases as possible, as I read a number of people doing here. I also wonder about the "need" to attend numerous showcases as a sophomore. Yes, it might be nice to get noticed and followed by schools, but I refuse to believe that if a player shows himself as a junior, or even a senior, he will be passed over for a lesser talent who was "discovered" in 10th grade (or 9th, or 5th, or T-ball).

Unless there are a lot more independently-wealthy people out there than me, why not spend the money on lessons, practice times, tournaments, a normal family vacation, etc.? Then showcase as a junior or senior when you are mature. If you are seen by the "right person" then it will mean just as much, if not more, than being seen in 9th grade.

We have gone to one showcase for the experience and education of learning what they are like and how they are run. Don't plan on doing anymore more until next summer, and IF THINGS KEEP PROGRESSING (and trust me, no matter what you think now there is no guarantee of that), will hit more in the summer of 2002.

I also think a kid needs to develop a focus and plan of where they would like to attend school. Why showcase in parts of the country that you do not necessarily want to play in and attend school (remember that part of it folks)? Have a plan, do not just randomly go all over the country to whatever showcase will take your son.

Just some thought and questions from someone still new at this.

Tom posted on 12/20
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

Coach Johnson does not have a clue regarding the value of the top showcase events. My son signed a 90 percent scholarship with a major D-1 baseball program. He also had similar offers from other elite baseball programs. These offers came from colleges not located in our home state. He received little interest from the in state schools. All of the out of state schools saw him play at major showcases. Because our HS program is not well know it is not normally scouted. As far as traveling every weekend to a different showcase, I do agree there is little value in spending the extra money.

Coach Johnson posted on 12/20
re: Showcases are a waste of time?


I believe you are the only one that gets what I am trying say.
Tom why do you attack me personally, I am only stating my opinion.
That's great that your kid got a D1 scholarship. Now, why don't you continue to take him to some more showcases, go ahead spend the money it has been worth it. You see how ridiculous that sounds. That's all I am saying folks, is be careful, let the kids enjoy the game. You would be surprised at who's watching.

hsbbweb posted on 12/20
re: Showcases are a waste of time?


You take on this topic is right on the money! Money spent on lessons is usually a better investment than most of the showcases. Too many parents spend money chasing every showcase that comes by.

There is no doubt that the top showcases are an invaluable exposure opportunity for a player.

As I have stated before -- If you are invited to one of these events by all means try to attend. BUT -- why go to 5 different showcases the summer between your junior and senior year? I can think of no valid reason.

For a younger player, (sophomore or freshman) I suggest attending a free pro try-out day in your area. This gives the player a sampling of the routine at a showcase and a chance to measure himself against his peers.

Additionally if a player is interested in a particular school try to attend one of their camps.

I am finding too many parents that are dragging the players from showcase event to showcase event. I do not believe the saying "If you are good enough "they" will find you." But there does have to be a happy medium.

I know several players that are still waiting to be found. Use common sense when considering showcase options. Ask questions about them in this forum.

Northofsuperior posted on 12/20
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

To BeenthereIl:
Best of luck on your whirlwind tour. Have a safe journey. I look forward to your observations on the schools you visit, if only briefly.

Coach Johnson:
As far as showcases are concerned, I have spoken to more that one College coach who agrees completely with you. There are schools who do not attend these events, and believe than the network they have for finding players is more than adequate. Having stated that, for our own personal reasons - geographical location - my son must travel to have chance to be seen, and one or two showcases per year would seem to get the most bang for our buck. Hopefully from these events he will attend a camp at a school that may have some genuine interest in him.

As usual, your common sense approach to the recruiting question is excellent. However, If someone out there has a simple answer to finding the right fit for my son, please forward it along. For this family, every decision must be informed, given the long distances to be traveled.

I wish every family involved in the process all the success possible!

The Principal posted on 12/20
My personal opinion

There is value in camps, lessons, fall ball, legion ball, and showcases. The key to that is knowing where the mix lies for a specific player so that you can get the best return on the money spent. Because it all cost money no way to get around that. And you have to know the realistic ability level of the player too.

Best money spent here was on hitting lessons in the region at a batting facility. That lead to an invitation to play on a fall select team that was managed by the owner of the batting facility. He ran an excellent fall program and the team played 40 games each fall for two years. Eighty games is a lot of baseball experience for a player prior to his senior season. The fall team experience was a springboard to letters and contacts from college programs and some of the showcases. We felt the first season of fall would would be great for exposure. However, I think we all realized that the greatest point of fall ball was not exposure, but experience against good competition. You would go to bat each weekend against four or five pitchers throwing in the 80's or occasionally in the 90's.

My nephew gave up playing in local all-star competition one season to got to two camps and a local showcase. It was well worth it as we got letters of interest from schools indicating that they had seen him play at the showcase or at that school's camp. There is a definite value in going to a specific school's camp as it is going to an open showcase. You just have to be careful in the fact are you going for instruction or are you going for exposure. Sometimes you can't have both.

We followed the advice of this board too and became proactive on making schools aware of my nephew's desire to play college baseball. We mailed many letters, got many questionnaires back, made copies and records of all materials and kept them in a 3-ring binder. Made follow up calls, made a home made video to show some skills, sent schedules, etc. If there is one word that people must have in their vocabulary is that you must MARKET a player.

I agree with Bob in that the old adage of "if you are a good player, they will find you" is a false one today. College coaches have too many demands on their time to be out scouting the bushes to find a single talented player. You have to MARKET your son (or nephew) to open the door of opportunity. Once that door is open, they you may find them at games, and calling the house each week.

We have been the Area Code Tryout route, the Team One Showcase route, and local showcases. You have to do those as your wallet permits to get out and be seen against the best competition. Scouts and colleges are going to flock to a single area where there is a multitude of players participating. Makes sense as they get more return on their money also. I sometimes think that it is as important to show that you belong at one of those events as much as shining. What I mean is that you are not a "sore thumb" for lack of ability, but you can hold your own.

Oddly enough, this past summer, the one between his junior and senior year, the local legion coach did not even allow my nephew to try out for the local team. His reasoning was that if he was going to go to Area Code/Team One/Best In Virginia and a couple of weekend pitcher- catcher camps, then he was not dedicated to the legion program. The coach also told us that my nephew would get more exposure from legion this summer than from going to those events. We respectfully disagreed and participated in those events listed above. It was sad not to have a summer team to keep as sharp as you can, but he had to do other things to make up for that. I wonder how many players off that legion team have gotten as many letters or phone calls of late? Currently there are teams calling basically each week from the Big East, Big South, CAA, and Southern Conferences...as well as several DIII programs that are exceptionally strong in our area.

I guess overall it comes to what is best for the player, what are his specific needs, what level can he play to, what levels of exposure does he need to maximize his potential, and to what level can this be funded with out of pocket money. If you can answer those questions you can find the true value of preparation and marketing.
Good luck to everyone...

Mom Down Under posted on 12/20
re: My personal opinion

Great posts everyone. I am always extremely interested in experiences and outcomes from the various showcases.

We are targeting specific colleges of interest due to distance from Australia and challenge of combining strong academics and strong baseball.

I have a mother-son thing going at the moment, leaving the West Coast tonight for a short midwest program. I guess your weather in Georgia and NC isn't much warmer than Chicagoland. Our son will get an excellent idea of winter in the midwest and Northeast. Look forward to hearing about your travels.

Are you around? You mentioned in one post wishing you'd attended more showcases -- is that still your view?
Thank you.

BBMOM2002 posted on 12/21
re: My personal opinion

This has been a great thread! I'd like to add to my post to state that I agree with most have said here. We chose to attend 2 showcases last summer for the following reasons. 1) Just to see what it was all about and 2) Most important the schools my son is most interested in were to be in attendance. I feel he got the exposure he was looking as he has heard from a number of the schools he is interested in. I can honestly say we got more than our money worth for both the experience and the exposure.

I also feel showcases are more for the pitcher and catcher. If my observations were correct the scouts always hung around the pitchers. During game situation they always had gun in hand. Again just a parents observation.

BeenthereIL posted on 12/21
re: My personal opinion

Dear Everyone...
The longer distance trip is on hold/cancelled because of my mother-in- laws health (learned last night)...and, because of the weather forecast in the Southeast...Atlanta, etc. We'll sacrifice a hundred bucks not to be a thousand miles away from home and sliding along a country road! Looks like the second week in August next year would be more appropriate given his spring and summer baseball schedule.

Since grandma is only 150 miles away, we might take a tour of a few (3) midwest schools, i.e., Michigan, Notre Dame and Purdue (where one of my daughters graduated from)...and then across the State of Indiana to Charleston, Illinois to see grandma and be with her for a few days during Christmastime.

Notwithstanding what some of my fellow posters suggest, this trip was my son's idea. He's the one that wanted to go to the Georgia 2-day camp to meet Ron Polk and see the Georgia complex in Athens. It was my suggestion, however, that since we were going to be driving, that we stop at Kentucky and Tennessee (all along the way to Georgia); and, then he suggested that on the way back we stop at North Carolina and Duke.

In the past, on long weekends, we've gone to New York City one weekend and to Washington, D.C., on another, as a "spur of the moment" thing and we've had a TREMENDOUS experience! Maybe not for everyone, but it works for us/him. He's looking forward to getting his learner's permit in February so that he can do the driving! I think that, too, will be a FUN experience for both of us! I'm looking forward to it!

While he starts on the freshman basketball team, all of the coaches at the high school know that baseball is his best sport. This longer trip would not have affected any of his practices since we would have left in about 21 minutes and headed South. As it is, he doesn't have practice, again, until the 26th. We would have been back by then.

Most sons should have a father like me. Absolutely no pressure. All I say is do what you want to do and give it your best shot. He makes suggestions (some that I can't afford); I make suggestions; and, he does what he wants to do. With the way he can throw a football, you would think that he would play football. All of his friends want him to play. The coaches want him to play. He doesn't want to play. He thinks football (at this time, anyway) is boring. He's a former AAU/Junior Olympic karate champion (We traveled all over the country for his karate (and with his brother's) that gave up the sport so he can chase girls! His idea...I supported him. All 5 of my sons are gifted athletes.

Off to pick him up from practice.

Tenndad posted on 12/21
re: My personal opinion

We chose to attend one showcase that would target college and pro scouts. It was an invitation to the East Coast Pro Showcase. All our money went into camps at schools my son was interested in and making him a better player. We turned down perfect game and some others thinking it would cost alot of money and be an overkill. If a family thinks a showcase gives there son a leg up on a college scholarship, then I think you should do what is best for your son. Everyone's situation is different according to the success of the high school program they play for and the scouts who come and watch that program play (If any). Some of the best players I've seen don't always play for the best teams that get noticed.

As for BeentherIl: I have been talking to him over a year and have gotten a good idea of what his family is like. They are a die hard baseball family who's children have the same passion for the game as there father. The Freshman son wants to visit these campuses and the father is taking time to make it happen. He has had one son make it to the pro's after a successful sec college career and I see no reason the younger son will not take the same path. His son has the want to and the talent to make it and his father has seen enough good players to recognize that talent. Your posts imply he is dragging his son all over the place and I say it just may be the son dragging the father.

Gary19 posted on 12/21
re: My personal opinion

Agreed, but that is why children have parents (or at least should). To provide perspective, and limits, and guidelines, and jusgement, and common sense, etc. It would be a long, cold day before my 14-year-old "drags" me to that many cities (and states) in that period of time.

Tenndad posted on 12/21
re: My personal opinion

I agree with just about everything you have posted gary19. Having a younger son who has lived in the shadow of a older successful baseball brother can sometimes make that younger child feel neglected and a failure in the child's eyes. So why even try if you can't measure up to big brother? We as parents sometimes try to encourage that younger brother to be his own man and be the best he can be in any way we can to motivate him.

Mista P posted on 12/21
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

Coach Johnson:
It's true that the top line players don't really need to showcase. They just have to get some coaches down to watch in season (they have to be very proactive to get that done). But I think you overlook a point you made yourself about a kid being able to play at some school somewhere (not a D1 school). I have seen many "less" talented kids approached by D2,D3, and small programs at these showcases. Most of the showcases are full of coaches from local, smaller schools, where they get more bang for their buck. I think if parents and kids would lower expectations the showcase experience can be very valuable.

Scdad posted on 12/21
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

Many of the top college programs in our area of the country, SOUTH, are hosting summer and fall league tournaments inorder to have the opportunity to see multiple top players - in essence, an "in-house" showcase, and many of the other smaller college coaches then attend.

You will love the Duke campus; see Coach Hillier-head Baseball and Coach Filipek, recruiting coordinator, when you do get down this way. You have already received a wonderful gift this season, with the relationship you have with your son.

pitcherlefty posted on 12/23
re: Showcases are a waste of time?

Showcases are definately not a waste of time! If you can't get scouts to your school because it doesn't have much of a team how else to you get seen. You go to camps and showcases, then as a follow up they may come to your school. If you want to play college ball exposure is the key and what more convient for a coach then to go to one spot to see a bunch of kids?

wolfpride posted on 12/29
re: My personal opinion


TRhit posted on 12/29
re: My personal opinion

As one who runs showcases as well as a select team in showcase/ tournaments I find it difficult to understand Coach Johnson's thinking.

With the budget restraints being what they are I have found that college coaches and pro scouts much prefer to attend showcases and team tournaments because of the number of players that can be seen in one sitting. They truly do not have the time nor money to travel to see one player in hopes of finding a "player".

For this reason, myself and others in the showcases field strive to give the coaches and players the best situation possible for talent to be seen.

player27 posted on 12/30
re: My personal opinion

I attended the Area code games and not only got a lot of great offers as a result that lead to a great scholarship, but also had the BEST baseball experience i have ever had. the whole deal was a players dream with some of the best talent in the country competing, a great college field to play on, pro scouts coaching, etc etc. I would never pass this up if you get a chance to go to something like this. There's no doubt I faced players that will some day be future major league stars. I consider that this lifted my whole baseball perspective up a few notches.

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