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About NAIA College Baseball

by: Coach Jim Boeve
Hastings College

Hastings College baseball coach Jim Boeve has a simple theory about winning championships in the Nebraska-Iowa Athletic Conference. "Starting pitching is the key to this league," said Boeve, whose team has won seven NIAC titles in the past nine seasons. "It always has been. Very seldom has a team won this league that didn't have the best starting pitching."

Question:Hastings is an NAIA affiliated school, many of the folks that visit the High School Baseball Web assume that the caliber of baseball played at an NAIA school is not as good as that played at an NCAA Division 2 or 3 program. How do respond to that?
Answer: We have played against NAIA, NCAA DI, NCAA DII, and NCAA DIII competition. It is dangerous to make a blanket statement concerning divisions from different parts of the country, particular leagues and individual schools all vary. In general the top 5% of NAIA schools can compete with the top 5% of NCAA DII programs. From top to bottom, again as a general rule, NCAA DII may be a bit stronger. Keep in mind that many DII schools are public where most NAIA schools are private. And in general NAIA schools (because they can give athletic aid) are typically stronger than NCAA DIII programs.

Question:Hastings is a small school located in Nebraska yet your baseball program has produced many successful players. How are you so successful at recruiting players to Hastings?
Answer: Our primary recruiting area is from Omaha to Denver. This area is full of players who can compete well at all levels of college baseball. We have a strong academic program, good facilities and a challenging schedule -- those are our main selling points.

Question:Do NAIA baseball programs have the ability to offer athletic scholarship money?
Answer: Yes -- League and institution limits may vary. The full "ride" or full tuition scholarships are rare. just like at NCAA DI schools. Scholarship monies are split to fill out the roster.

Question:Do NAIA schools "blend" athletic and academic scholarship monies together to create a package for the good academic athlete?
Answer: Yes -- for those who qualify. We call it "stacking." It benefits the individual student because it increases their aid package. It benefits the baseball program because many academic scholarships do not "count" towards a program's money limit.

Question:How important is it for a high school player to attend a college team's summer camp?
Answer: At the NAIA level, it is not a big factor: unless the college you want to is a long ways from home and their normal recruiting process would not find you.

Question:When should a player write a letter of introduction to a college coach? (i.e. after his 10th grade year, etc.)
Answer: I feel the second semester of his junior year While most coaches are still looking at seniors, they can be alerted to watch these players for one year down the road.

Question:Is it better to have the player's high school coach send the first letter? Or does it make any difference?
Answer: It really does not make a difference, but I definitely like to have a coach's letter at some point.

Question:Do sending copies of a players high school / summer team statistics help? Are they of value to you when received with an introductory letter?
Answer: They are helpful if you have some feel for the level of competition they are playing. Sometimes they are more of a help in deciding who NOT to recruit.

Question:Should a player or high school coach send copies of clippings from local newspapers that relate accomplishments of the player?
Answer: With our limited travel budgets and evaluation opportunities any extra information provided is helpful.

Question:Are the "online" internet recruiting services taken seriously by college coaches? Would you recommend them to a high school player and his family?
Answer: I think that it depends on what schools that a player wants to consider. If they want to consider schools, say within a 100 mile radius, services are not as critical. The college programs should already know about them. If a player's search is more widespread, a recruiting service is a good suggestion.

Question:Should a player send a videotape of himself in baseball situations and games? Do you review unsolicited tapes?
Answer: Tryout / workout tapes are better for infielders and outfielders. Game tapes are good for pitchers and catchers. Most coaches will watch at least part of every tape.

Question:If a tape is beneficial to you and your staff what suggestions would you make to the player? Such as all game situations? Some individual fielding and batting situations? Pitchers in games only, or is throwing to a catcher good also?
Answer: Try to simulate a workout. Film so the radar gun or stopwatch is in view of the camera. I prefer workouts over games

Question:With the increasing number of high school talent showcases in recent years how important is it for a player to attend this type of event? Do you and/or the coaching staff at Hastings attend any showcases?
Answer: We attend regional, but not national showcases. More and more coaches are attending these because of the number of players that you can see in a short time. Therefore, it is a good idea for players to attend showcases as often as they can.

Question: How important is a player's physical appearance? I do not mean is he 6'-1" tall and weigh 200 pounds. What I am referring to is tattoos, body piercing, dress, odd hair styles, etc. Are any or all of these items a "negative" to a college coach?
Answer: I don't know that those items are a "negative" as much as a clean cut image is a "positive." The fact is, however that the pool of players is large. Consequently pro scouts down to high school coaches are looking for reasons NOT to recruit or keep players. Players need to eliminate reasons for being cut and provide reasons to be kept (or recruited).

Question: If a player has a bad game, when a college coach is in the stands watching him for the first time, does that mean it is "over" as far as that school is concerned?
Answer: In the case of a bad day "numbers - wise", NO. Most college coaches are projecting players a couple of years down the road and looking for potential and skills rather than results. In the case of a bad day "attitude-wise", it is probably over

Question: How important is a player's "attitude appearance" when in a game or at a practice?
Answer: Chemistry is important in baseball as in any other sport. If a player appears to be a negative influence, they are not worth the risk. There are likely plenty of players with similar ability in the talent pool.

Question:As the head coach of a smaller college what are the major differences in recruiting when compared to the "major" schools?
Answer: Time of year -- we wait for the smoke to clear in the early player signing period. We recruit players rather than position -- Make the players if we need to. We are not as stopwatch or radar gun oriented as the bigger schools

Question:As the coach of a smaller school do you recruit on a more regional scope than other larger schools?
Answer: Yes -- We can win with players within a 400 mile radius. Plus we don't have the money or resources to recruit nationwide.

Question:So many high school players have the attitude that if they do not play college baseball at one of the D1 top 40 programs they have failed. What advice can you offer a high school player regarding the "big school" stigma?
Answer: The "big-time" is where you are at. The amount of effort you put in and satisfaction you derive can be high at any level. Wins and championships are things to be proud of at any level. If the pros are what you are interested in, the scouts are well aware that professional players are at every level.

Question:What other advice would you give to a high school player that hopes to play baseball in college?
Answer: Don't be afraid to sell yourself, in terms of making a first contact in the recruiting process

Coach Jim Boeve
Head Baseball Coach
800 N. Turner
Hastings, NE 68901
(800) LEARN-HC
Hastings College Baseball

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