Recruiting Essentials: Putting yourself out there

By Brandon Hall
Mid-Atlantic Executive Director

One area parents and players are working to better understand is the ability to be seen by college coaches and scouts. With the cost of playing baseball continually on the rise, along with the cost of a college education, the cost-benefit of a showcase, camp, and even team are being analyzed. College coaches understand this as most are dealing with cost analysis of their own.

In most baseball offices across the country, the budget may be discussed several times a week. Head coaches, recruiting coordinators, and directors of operations are constantly working to stretch their bottom lines, while raising money to accomplish their goals on the field, in the community, and on the recruiting trail.

Today we are going to look at some common themes and questions players and families have as they are working to be seen.


As a recruiting coordinator hosting information sessions on the process, the number one question that I would receive revolved around player video, as in, “Do coaches actually watch these,” or something along the lines of: "Do programs make decisions off video? And if so, how can I get my video to them?”

Coaches use video, coaches want video. Video allows a program to sift through a lot of players in a short amount of time. Coaches would prefer to see a known commodity, rather than chase a lead. Oftentimes, when a coach gets a lead on a player, their first ask for video of the player to get an idea of his abilities in advance. 

Video on prospects should be short, sweet, and to the point. Remember a coach can rewatch a video and rewind a video. A player does not need to add a full spring’s worth of swings for the coach to see, as most coaches will learn what they need to within five to 10 swings.

When watching video, I would spend an average of one minute per player on the video. I would scroll through the film to make sure I saw what I needed, but a lot of times the impression is made very early in the film. Put your best foot forward on the film. If your best attribute is your speed, make sure it includes a home-to-first play, and/or a 60-yard dash taken at a credible showcase. If your best skill is as an infielder, do not bury that behind a bullpen and batting practice – put it up front and grab the attention of the coaching staff.

Coaches will go anywhere to watch videos. As you make contact with coaches, share links to your PBR profile, make it easy for them. Coaches have busy days and lives and their time is limited, so a site that hosts information on yourself, your baseball ability, and your video can be advantageous.


Individual team camps are a good way to ensure you will be in front of a certain school. Players will be able to workout and the school will have their times and grades. Most schools may run two or three high school showcase camps with the purpose of getting players on their campus and helping out some of the coaches on the staff with income.

When a player decides to attend a college camp they should think of the camp as a two-way interview. Yes, the staff is watching the player and deciding if he is a fit. The player should be doing the same. On the front end of the camp, the player should have a feel for how big the camp will be and who will be working with the position the player plays. If you are an outfielder hoping a school will recruit you, but that school has hired a local high school coach to work with the outfielders for this camp, there is a loss in value for the player.

In a camp setting, the player should get a feel for the coaches on the field. Are they organized?  Are they high energy? Do they know what they are talking about? When a recruit is sitting in a boardroom and the coaching staff is presenting a prepped recruiting talk, the ability to read sincerity and knowledge could be low. On the field, a player will have a better feel for who they want to play for and if the coach and the player mesh. After all, the player has spent more time on the field than in a boardroom.


In today’s age of travel baseball, players are spread out all over a city or state, all playing at the same time. The original idea behind travel teams, for recruiting, was to put a lot of good players in one spot.

In an effort to play more games, BP and infield/outfield have been eliminated from most tournament formats. Many years ago, I worked to see a shortstop and make a decision on him. I was at every game he played for three weeks straight. In that time, I did not see him take more than three ground balls, all in live game action. In that same time, I saw 11 at-bats where he walked, not taking the bat off his shoulder. It was difficult to make a decision.

Showcases offer what may be missing in tournament settings. All players in one spot, going through a complete workout where coaches can see and grade the tools. Players will be able to show, in small windows, their skill set. Games are still important as baseball is a game for grinders and the hard-nosed types, and it’s easy to be tricked into liking a player for his tools alone.


From my perspective, with 20 years at the Division I level, and zero years as a father guiding a son through the recruiting process, players and families should be concerned with development. A player must get better to get to the next level and to play at the next level. Several aspects jump when you think about development – practice, competition, and coaching come to mind.

Baseball is a game of repetition. The more a skill is worked, the better the skill can become. Baseball is also a game of individual improvement. The more a player works to improve his game, the better off that player’s team will be in the long run. Individual players may need different types of attention to accomplish their goal of work and repetition. A player that has a family with a baseball background, may not need access to as much coaching. A player that has access to a field and a fungo hitter, may not need to drive an hour away for practice three times per week. Each individual is different, but development should be key.

Your teammates can help you in the recruiting process. As coaches are out watching a player on their recruiting board play, they are watching everyone else. Surround yourself with players that have the same ambition as yourself. Work to drive each other to get better and as a coach shows to see one player, he will see them all.

In today’s age, players and their families can handle their own outreach to college programs. Most college programs will respond to emails from recruits. Most college programs will view video sent in or hosted at a site. If the college program likes what they see, they will work to see that player play or practice so they can make a decision on him as a recruit. A team that is promising recruitment based on your choice to play with them is delivering a false promise. The team has identified that player as a player that will be recruit-able. The team will get his name out and let coaches know the schedule. The talent of the player will bring coaches, regardless of the team. What the team is promising is work – they will work to spread the word and let coaches know. The player and his family can do this as well. Again, an aspect to consider is the number of teammates that have the same ability driven goals. If a coach has one game left to see in a day, and he has a choice between a team with one prospect and a team with three prospects, the decision could be fairly easy.


Players and families have options. I think the best way to navigate the process is to diversify your portfolio.  Players should have video available. Players should attend some showcases. Players should attend a few college camps. Players should play in a team setting. 

The biggest area players should concentrate on is their development. Use the showcases, video feedback, and game play to be feedback on what has to improve. Make sure there is time set aside during the year to get stronger and quicker. Work to set up baseball skill sessions five times per week, or more, even if it is at the house off a tee, or doing ball handling drills. Work to get better.

One of the reasons I became involved with PBR is due to my relationship with the company as a recruiting coordinator. Our budget did not allow me to be on the road for weeks at a time, so I would sift through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland PBR-based sites to whittle my list down from their evaluations and video. When I traveled to those states, my visits were concentrated on a smaller list of players.

One area of the site I loved was the ability to view video over a number of years. Watching a sophomore, junior, and then an early senior year video and seeing the development a player has or has not made, would help in my decision-making process. 

I never made an offer on a player based on video or someone else’s evaluation. We did cross players off our list based on what we could see on video, but oftentimes the two piles would be “maybe” and “wait-and-see.” The maybes consisted of players we would try to see live in the near future. All of the information gathered from video, to evaluations, to seeing him live would build that player’s resume and that is how a decision was based.

A player’s ability to be seen is in their hands. Take advantage of all the offerings that exist, but plan out your process as everyone has a budget to follow.


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