by: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web
The following is a story that was recently told to me by a mid-major NCAA Division I
college baseball head coach. I feel that it is a very important piece of information
to be read by players and parents of prospective college student-athletes.
While I have never met this head coach he felt that I should hear this story.
It seems that the young man and his family told him that they had been following the
guidelines they read in several books and on the High School Baseball Web.
Over the course of 2 1/2 years this young man (or his parents) had sent this coach 50+
letters, stat sheets, newspaper clippings and a videotape. However the player lived in
another state and this particular program does not recruit very often "out of state."
The coach sent several camp brochures to the player but he never attended any of the
school's camps. The player had written at one time and said that he could not attend any
of the major showcases, due to his summer coaches rule of not allowing his players to
miss games for showcases.
Let me fill in a few gaps here ... or try to answer some questions you may already have.
Both the player's summer coach and high school coach were extremely high on the young man's
baseball abilities. When asked, none (player or either coach) were able to provide a pro
scout reference. This is not uncommon, some folks never ask for a scouts card, not being
aware of the value it could have, in the future.
After such persistence the coach decided to check out the prospect. The young
man played a position that the team needed to fill, with a freshman player. (could be a
position player could be a pitcher -- we will keep that confidential for the sake of
The coach boarded a plane, flew to the nearest airport, rented a car and headed for the
ballfield where the player and his summer team were set to play. Upon arrival the coach
noticed two other NCAA Division I coaches also in attendance. This made him feel pretty
good about his trip. After all ..... In the player's letters, to the coach, he professed
to really really wanting to play for this team and head coach.
After greetings among the college coaches they each discovered that all were at the game
to see the same player. Again the coach was feeling pretty good about his trip.
Pre-game warm-ups were eliminated due to tournament rules. The coach settled in to watch
One of the other college coaches asked our coach if he had ever seen the player before. Of
course he answered that he had not and went on to tell the coach that he was there due to
the player's numerous letters and persistence. The second coach asked, "how many letters?"
Now the story gets rolling .... It seems that this player/family had sent over 50 letters and
various information to each of the coaches. And probably to many others, as well. None of the
three coaches had ever seen the player, in person.
Now the coach was not feeling as good about his trip. But the player did have nice statistics,
the videotape, while professionally done, and practice situations only, seemed to indicate
Now came the moment of truth ... the game starts and the coaches look at one another. The player
is easily 2 inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter than advertised. The player does not seem to
be very athletic, stumbling during between inning warm-ups.
As the coach stated to me this player probably could play mid level NCAA DII, upper level
NCAA DIII or mid level NAIA ball. He was not however an NCAA DI caliber player. The coach
further went on to say that this player would probably most benefit by playing two years a
good junior college program.
It seems that this player and his family had not written or contacted any school smaller
than a DI. Family, friends and coaches had all convinced the young man that he was
a DI player and to contact coaches at lower division schools would be a waste of time.
Morale of the story .... If you are not sure which level/division of college athletics your
player is capable of competing at get an unbiased opinion. This can be from a local college coach,
an area professional scout or maybe an ex-professional or college player.
Attending college camps and one or two showcases is very valuable to a player as well. This will
allow him to be seen by college coaches and pro scouts. It lets him compare his abilities to
his peers, from other states and areas of the country. Just because a player is the biggest
fish in his pond does not mean that he can compete at the upper levels of college baseball.
I went back and checked the Recruiting Timeline. I could not
find any mention of sending 50+ letters, to multiple schools.
Please use some common sense when it comes to the marketing of a player. This particular player must
now start the letter writing and contact process all over again, at the start of his
senior year of high school. He will be behind but hopefully the family will use a bit of
moderation this time around.
Another good article to read on the High School Baseball Web would be:
Rose Colored Glasses