Upcoming College Recruiting Seminars
A Note from DCAT Founder Justin Cronk:
I wanted to share some of the questions I most often receive from families and my responses to them, hoping that my thoughts might spark some more questions you have that you can ask me at an upcoming college recruiting seminar.
First, this is a vague question. Timing for what exactly? For when you should expect coaches to be calling you? For when you should be receiving genuine interest or offers? For when you should be sending out cover letters? For when you should attend camps or showcases? For when you should film your recruiting video? For when you should take your ACT or SAT as a ballplayer hoping to be recruited?
It's important to first note that a family's ideal timing for things to happen is often NOT the same as a college coach's timing. Players understandably want to know all the answers ASAP to burning questions: Do you want me? Do I have a roster spot on team? Will I get in? Will you give me scholarship money? But this is called a "process" for a reason - because it doesn't work that way and often is a long road to the finish. Coaches need to see thousands of players each year so they likely won't be ready to answer all of these important questions when you'd ideally like them to do so. Be patient and recognize that rising anxiety is of no help to you.
Many incorrectly think that every student-athlete's timing for what should be happening in their recruiting process is or should be the same. This is far from accurate. The "timing" of a ballplayer's process (i.e. when they should start focusing on the many different action items within the process, fielding offers from coaches, etc.) depends on their ability level or how they project, their physicality (strength/athleticism), the strength of their academic profile, and what their priorities are for college - which can be ever-changing from freshman to senior year. Though there are always similarities, I've never see two processes that are precisely the same in 12+ years of advising hundreds of players of different ability levels and academic make-up.
To help families understand recruiting process timing better, I lead seminars to educate on what i consider to be the 3 primary phases: the Preparation phase, the Exposure Phase and the Detective phase. The point at which each of these phases begin for a student-athlete depends on the various items mentioned above. Here is a very brief description of each phase:
Preparation phase - the longest phase of the process - begins freshman year. This is about properly preparing yourself in the classroom, on the field, nutritionally and in the weight room to ultimately present yourself to schools on your target list at the right time. Engaging in pro-active communication with college coaches (i.e. being persistent but never annoying) is also a key tenant of the latter part of this phase.
Exposure phase - The primary exposure phase for many ballplayers (again, not all of them!) - i.e. the time that it matters most to get exposed to the right coaches at the right schools--is the summer after junior year. For some (i.e. mid to upper level D1 or D2 prospects), the primary exposure phase can start much sooner than this, but regardless, this phase requires much pre-planning and scrutiny to determine which events/tournaments/showcases should be attended to maximize exposure to the right schools.
Detective phase - By far the most difficult, arduous, muddy and often frustrating phase of this process. This phase is all about the student-athlete figuring out exactly where they stand with a program by asking the right questions at the right time to college coaches (Am I admissible with your support? Would I have a roster spot if I were to commit? Etc.), then figuring out the action steps (i.e. Should I visit and/or attend camp? Should I apply Early Decision? etc.) to execute by virtue of their communications with them. This would be easy if answers were given immediately, but often it can take coaches many months to be able to answer these questions for you because they are trying to figure out how you and hundreds of others fit into their program puzzle.
Despite what you may hear, there is no perfect showcase or event for everyone. Asking which ones are "good" is not the right question because that's too subjective. Events that are productive in terms of recruiting "yield" for one player might be a complete waste of time for another. The better question to ask is "what are the best events for me based on my academic performance, my ability or "projectability" and my target list of schools? While choosing the right events is certainly difficult because there are so many poor ones out there, this task is at least easier if this question is used as a continual guide. While exposure at the right time is important, it's also necessary not to do so many showcases that college coaches label you a "showcase" kid as they very much want players to get competitive game repetition as well. Balance is key.